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New Volvo S80 inline-six and driveline

Volvo's new inline-six cylinder, 3.2-litre engine.

Volvo's new inline-six cylinder, 3.2-litre engine.

1st February 2006.

With its all new Volvo S80, Volvo Cars is unveiling an entirely new in-line 6-cylinder engine (opposite).

The new engine will be offered under the 4.4-litre (315 bhp) 32-valve V8 (60°), which was first introduced in the XC90 (Yamaha sourced).

The new inline-six cylinder engine features a remarkably compact packaging with an advanced induction system. As a result, it can be installed transversely in the engine compartment, enhancing impact safety.

Designed by Volvo, the new six-cylinder engine is of an all-new, compact design. Its main structure is made entirely of aluminium and has a larger displacement than its predecessor, 3.2 litres as against the previous 2.9.

Power is up too, to 175 kW (238 PS) as is torque, at 320 Nm. This corresponds to increases of 31 kW and 40 Nm respectively.

New Inline Six Cylinders Engine

Engine type 6-cylinder in-line engine,
petrol, normally aspirated
Engine location, drive Transverse, front-wheel drive
Cylinder displacement 3,192 cc
Cylinder bore x stroke 84 mm x 96 mm
Engine block, material Aluminium
Cylinder head, material Aluminium
Valves per cylinder 4
Number of camshafts 2
Maximum power output 175 kW (238 PS) at 6,300 rpm
Maximum torque 320 Nm at 3,500 rpm
Fuel injection Port Fuel Injection (indirect)
Fuel consumption
9.9 litres/100 km
(mixed driving cycle)
Emissions levels ULEV II, Euro 4
Engine weight 180 kg

The engine has been designed to be mated to Volvo’s new six-speed automatic transmission.

Volvo says the entire driveline has been designed together with the rest of the car to create a harmonious, high-class driving experience in every respect.

To be exploited efficiently throughout the rev range, the engine features an advanced valvetrain and a variable intake system, promoting alert response and excellent performance.

At the same time, the engine is very fuel-efficient. The valvetrain features VCT (Variable Cam Timing) and CPS (Cam Profile Switching) on the inlet side – two key elements in providing the engine with excellent driveability and flexibility.

CPS (Cam Profile Switching) means that the camshaft is designed such that the inlet valves are lifted to two different heights depending on engine speed and load.

1 - In normal driving, with normal throttle opening and low engine revs, fuel consumption is modest at the same time as torque is sufficient to provide good driveability.

2 - In more enthusiastic driving involving full throttle opening and high engine revs, the engine responds instantly to the accelerator and provides a massive thrust of power, both at low and at high speeds.

Volvo's new inline-six cylinder, 3.2-litre engine - cut-out.

Cut-out of Volvo's new inline-six cylinder, 3.2-litre engine.

VIS (Variable Intake System) has been equipped with two throttle flap valves which adjust the intake manifold volume to suit the current driving situation. This results in a uniformly high and broad torque curve.

“Through precise interplay with the flap valves we actually get three different torque curves that are integrated with one another,” says Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain at Volvo Cars. “Consequently, we can exploit the engine’s capacity to the maximum and extract the highest possible power throughout the rev range.

Compact format - Despite the engine’s 3.2 litre displacement, it has extremely compact exterior dimensions. The complete engine package is only 3 millimetres longer than Volvo’s five-cylinder engine. The total engine length is 625 millimetres.

Volvo's new inline-six cylinder engine - transverse with compact packaging.

Volvo's new inline-six cylinder: Transverse with compact packaging.

“A compact format is a matter of safety,” explains Crabb. “It is particularly important that the engine takes up minimal space longitudinally in the vehicle. Volvo’s engines are fitted transversely and a compact engine thus has more space to move inside the engine compartment in the event of an impact that deforms the car’s front. This helps reduce the risk of engine penetration into the passenger compartment.”

The engine itself cannot be made all that much smaller since the cylinder spacing and block structure are roughly the same as in the five-cylinder engine. Instead, the focus was on building the entire installation, encompassing the engine, automatic transmission and ancillaries, in as compact a package as possible. One additional condition that had to be taken into account was that the transmission would be a six-speed automatic.

Shaft In Shaft - The compact dimensions of the transversely mounted, in-line six-cylinder engine are ensured by locating the ancillaries, such as the Power Assisted Steering Pump and Air Conditioning Compressor, behind the engine in the space above the gearbox. Consequently, there is no front-end drive of the ancillaries. Instead they are driven via gears by the rear end of the crankshaft. This engineering solution is known as READ – Rear End Ancillary Drive.

The alternator is direct-driven and installed on the engine block. This solution means that the entire engine and transmission package takes up minimum space, particularly in the car’s longitudinal direction.

By designing the drive system in the form of a small gearbox with an intermediate shaft inside the driveshaft – known as a Shaft In Shaft design – it was possible to ensure a very short package. The two shafts are driven by different gears that give them different speeds (one speed for camshaft drive and one for the ancillaries).

The vibration damper too, which compensates for vibration in the six-cylinder engine’s relatively long crankshaft, has been moved inside the engine block. The IVD (Internal Viscous Damper) is of the fluid type and is an unusual solution in the context of passenger cars.

Volvo’s new six-cylinder engine will be built in Ford’s modern engine factory in Bridgend, Wales. The factory was built in 1980 and had already manufactured ten million engines by 2001. In recent years, considerable investments have been made to meet the quality requirements imposed by Ford’s Premium Automotive Group (PAG includes the Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin brands).

Bridgend factory builds many of the six- and eight-cylinder engines for PAG’s various brands. Although the new engine is being built in Bridgend, Volvo says it was specified, designed, engineered and developed entirely by its own engineers.

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