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Back in 2013, Volvo announced a new family of engines known as “Drive-E.” Like many of the brand’s powertrains that came before, the family of new T5, T6, and T8 engines used a form of forced induction called “turbocharging.” But where this translates to “speed” for many of our customers, the secret behind what makes sedans like the S60 so fun to drive and efficient can be found in how Volvo uses this technology.

Drive-E: Small Displacement With Big Power
Launched with the second generation XC90 in 2015, the Drive-E family consists of the 250 horsepower T5, 316 horsepower T6, and 400 horsepower T8 Plug-in Hybrid. All three have turbocharging in common, but with a twist: all three are 2.0-liter inline-four engines.

On the one hand, the T5 powertrain—a turbocharged inline-four—making 250 horsepower is par for the course for what one expects with this kind of forced induction, but the 316 horsepower of the T6 is where some might begin find their eyebrows beginning to rise. That’s because the T6 uses turbocharging and supercharging for power output usually relegated to six-cylinder mills, while returning 31 mpg on the highway with AWD, as it does in the S90.

The answer to how Volvo can get so much out of a small engine lies in the difference between how turbocharging and supercharging works. A turbo, for example, forces air from the exhaust through a turbine that spins a compressor, which in turn “force induces” into the engine for up to 50 percent more power. A supercharger, on the other hand, is draws in outside air (as opposed to exhaust) and is connected directly to the engine for up to 46 percent more power.

Put the two together in the same engine, and it’s no surprise that Volvo has wrung V6-like power from such small engines!

Which Volvo Models Have This Technology?
You can find the T5, T6, and T8 powertrains on our entire lineup, including the XC90 T8 Hybrid! But as enthusiasts of turbocharging well know, sometimes it takes a bit of time for the air to generate “boost,” resulting in what’s known as “turbo lag.” As one might guess, an entire family of vehicles suffering this mechanical inconvenience would be a quite the handicap, but Volvo engineers have found their way around it. In a recent review of the all-new 2018 XC60 with the 316-hp T6 in Car and Driver, nary a hint of lag was noticed.

Are you eyeing one of our new Volvo models, and want to learn even more about how it’s motivated? If you’re ready to test drive your short list, we invite you to contact us at our Gilbert, AZ location to schedule one!

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