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.
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.
“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.