Volvo XC90 gets the state-of-the-art V8 powertrain

The Volvo XC90 reinforces its position as one of the most successful SUV models in the premium segment.

An entirely new powertrain featuring a V8 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission and the latest-generation AWD system further broadens the customer base for the Volvo XC90. The new Volvo XC90 V8 will make its debut at Paris Motor Show 23 September.

The new V8 engine marks a new turning-point in Volvo Cars? history. It is the first V8 the company has produced since it was founded in 1927, and the Volvo XC90 is the first model to be powered by the new engine.

One absolute requirement for the new V8 engine was that it had to be installed transversely in the engine compartment, just like all other Volvo engines.


?A transverse engine is helpful in maintaining the frontal crumple zones in the XC90 and thus not compromise on protective safety,? says Hans Wikman. For this reason, extremely compact external dimensions were essential for the new engine. This also explains the choice of just 60 degrees between the two banks of cylinders ? as opposed to the more conventional 90 degrees.

The imbalance that is a natural consequence of a 60-degree ?V? configuration between the banks of cylinders is prevented by a counter-rotating balancer shaft.

In order to maintain overall compactness, all the ancillary units such as the alternator are fitted directly onto the engine itself without any space-stealing brackets. The starter motor is fitted above the transmission for the same reason.

What is more, the exhaust camshafts are driven by secondary chains running off the inlet camshafts, saving additional space.

The left-hand cylinder bank is offset half a cylinder ahead of the right bank, contradicting normal practice in the automotive world ? so the engine can slot neatly into the structural beam network of the XC90 and thus enhance collision safety.

?We?ve tailored this V8 specifically for the XC90,? confirms Hans Wikman.

The result is a V8 that is just 754 mm long and 635 mm wide ? the most compact on the market compared to engines of equivalent volume.

As a result of these compact dimensions and the fact that both the block and cylinder head are cast in aluminium, Volvo?s new V8 weighs just 190 kg ? an important consideration when aiming for low fuel consumption.

First launch of petrol V8 to meet Euro 5/ULEV II

The new engine from Volvo is the cleanest petrol V8 on the market today. It meets the American ULEV II (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle, stage II) requirements and the forthcoming Euro 5 requirements for Europe ? which no other petrol V8 has yet managed.

The 4-valve engine also features continuous variable inlet and exhaust valve timing (CVVT). This system adjusts the valve opening times so they suit the engine?s current revs and load conditions. The engine is thus utilised more efficiently, cutting fuel consumption, lowering emissions and increasing performance

The Volvo XC90 V8 produces 315 horsepower and its torque ? the most important characteristic of a V8 engine ? is a massive 440 Nm at 3900 r/min. And at the sort of revs at which most driving takes place, around 2000 r/min, no less than 370 Nm of torque is at the driver?s disposal.

To increase the low end torque, the Volvo V8 has a valve in the inlet manifold that is closed below 3200 rpm. In this mode the air flow between the two cylinder banks is cut off, which creates a broader and more even torque curve.

Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes 7.0 seconds and fuel consumption is 13.0 litres/100 km (preliminary figures). Top speed is limited to 210 km/h (190 km/h in the USA).

The power from Volvo?s V8 engine passes through an entirely new 6-speed automatic transmission dimensioned to handle the high torque. This unit too is of particularly compact dimensions so as not to interfere with the car?s overall structure. Sixth gear is a pure overdrive ratio to ensure quiet cruising and low fuel consumption.

The new 6-speed transmission is of Geartronic type, which means that it can also be shifted manually. There is also a possibility for Lock-up, and slipping Lock-up, on all gears.

The third ingredient in the new Volvo Cars V8 powertrain is the electronic AWD four-wheel drive system, which now features Instant Traction. This new technology ? which Volvo Cars is the first automaker in the world to introduce ?improves the scope for quick getaways and provides enhanced traction on slippery surfaces. It has been developed by the Swedish company Haldex.

?A non-return valve allows us to use software to control the base torque that is programmed into the AWD system. When starting off from standstill, 80 Nm of torque is pre-charged in the system since the non-return valve prevents the unit from becoming totally drained of hydraulic fluid.

?This reduces the usual wheelspin of about one-seventh of a turn that the current system permits before the power is delivered to the rear wheels,? explains Jörgen Svensson.

The AWD system has also been upgraded to handle the power of the V8 engine. Maximum short-term torque at the rear wheels has been increased by 50 percent compared to current XC90.

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