Currently reading: Volvo's frugal range gets auto 'box
A new dual-clutch automatic option has been added to the Volvo DRIVe S60, V60, V70 and S80

Volvo has launched a new dual-clutch automatic option for its frugal DRIVe diesel variants of the Volvo S60, V60, V70 and S80 – and the cars offer the same fuel economy and emissions figures as the manual versions.

For the first time the DRIVe models can be ordered with Volvo’s six-speed Powershift auto ’box. When fitted with the new automatic gearbox and Volvo's latest four-cylinder 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine the V60, V70 and S80 DRIVe models all return 62.8mpg and 119g/km, according to Volvo’s official claims. The S60 fitted with the same transmission returns a claimed 65.7mpg and 114g/km on the combined cycle.

To achieve the same economy and emissions figures as the manual-equipped DRIVe range, Volvo engineers made a number of technological improvements.

Friction between gearbox components was reduced, and the software that manages the engine and gearbox was modified. The stop-start system has been primed to cut the diesel engine when the car is moving at speeds below 3mph, and the electrical systems have been optimised to create lower energy consumption.

The new DRIVe automatic options will be available to order in early 2012, with production beginning in mid-February. On the road prices start at £25,230 for the S60 DRIVe, £26,405 for the V60 DRIVe, £27,730 for the V70 DRIVe and £26,980 for the S80 DRIVe.

Volvo has also tweaked its petrol engine range to offer better economy. The 150bhp, four-cylinder, 1.6-litre T3 unit available in the S60 and V60 now returns 49mpg, up from 42.8mpg. That corresponds to CO2 emissions of 135g/km, which moves it from tax band G to band E in Britain.

The Powershift automatic transmission can now be specified with the T3 engine, reducing the price of an entry level automatic S60 to £24,270. The figures for the T3 engine combined with Powershift in an S60 are 39.8mpg and 164g/km. The S60 and V60 T3 Powershift will be available to order early 2012 with first deliveries taking place in April.

Joshua Shaw

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