Forthcoming 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine will feature in flagship saloon - as part of a cheaper hybrid set-up
4 December 2015

The new Volvo S90 is likely to get three-cylinder power after all - as part of a more modest version of the Swedish brand’s hybrid set-up.

Volvo is developing a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine as part of its joint venture with owner Geely on a new platform for small vehicles, called Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). Initial speculation had ruled out the prospect of this motor ending up in the flagship saloon - even though elements from the S90’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) will be used in the smaller vehicles.

Read the full story on the Volvo S90 and see more pictures

However, Volvo’s senior vice-president of research and development Peter Mertens has now suggested that the three-cylinder engine could indeed form part of a hybrid powertrain that would sit lower in the range than the S90’s 401bhp TwinEngine model. It would probably be front-wheel drive only, and not feature the ability to charge via a plug socket.

S90 and new V90 estate lined up for hot Polestar hybrids

“That engine [the 1.5] will definitely be used in the 40 models [believed to be S40, V40 and XC40] and 60 models - so it goes across CMA and is also suitable for our larger Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA),” said Mertens. “I could also see how it would form part of a different TwinEngine combination - and that could see use in the S90.”

Mertens also confirmed that Volvo already has prototype S90s running with three-cylinder hybrid power.

The new 1.5-litre motor - part of the same family as Volvo’s latest 2.0 petrol - will replace all 1.6-litre four-cylinder motors in the Volvo line-up. All Volvo versions of the motor will be turbocharged, but some Geely 1.5s are likely to be normally aspirated.

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5 December 2015

I really cant see a 1.5 not matter how good being very popular, refined or economical enough in a car as big as the XC90, If I was Volvo and wanted to offer a lower powered hybrid, it would be with the current 2.0 litre but with a lower power output, perhaps without the supercharger, perhaps 200bhp from the petrol and 80 coming from the electric motor.

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