Volvo Aims to Make V8s "Dinosaurs"

Will a four-cylinder engine ever be able to replace a V8? Volvo thinks so.

Volvos may be best known for turbo fives and diesel hybrids, but it also makes V8s. Well, one V8 anyway, and it was developed by Yamaha. You’ll find it in the S80 and XC90, displacing 4.4 liters, unusually mounted transversely and with a narrow 60-degree angle between the cylinder banks. But the Swedish automaker says the days of the V8 engine are numbered. In announcing its new Volvo Engine Architecture, the company's powertrain chief Derek Crabb said the new technology "will turn V8s into dinosaurs".

If the pronouncement sounds familiar, it’s because McLaren made a similar statement recently, insisting that its turbo V8 can produce the same power as a V12. Volvo, however, is taking it a step further by cutting the V8 out of the equation in favor of hybrid fours. To get there, Volvo is introducing a new eight-speed automatic transmission and a new powertrain technology called i-ART, which incorporates individual pressure sensors in its four-cylinder diesel engine to modulate fuel injection. Coupled with a hybrid electric assist, Volvo feels it can make a four-cylinder engine with "power figures in today’s V8 territory".

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