The unveiling of a new four-banger engine wouldn’t normally garner much attention, but Volvo's High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept is an exception. The 2.0 liter, gas-powered unit features "triple boost" technology capable of generating no less than 450 hp.
Unlike regular turbocharged engines which rely on engine exhaust to spin the turbos, thus forcefeeding additional air into the engine, Volvo has come up with a clever bit of pre-spooling engineering. Ahead of the parallel twin turbochargers are two compressor units that “wind up” the impeller units prior to power coming online. This pre-spooling thus reduces, or almost eliminates, the dreaded turbo-lag disease that plagues most old-school turbo engines.
The 4-cylinder gas engine concept is capable of developing power outputs on par with many high output V8s and race tweaked track engines. A direct injection system with dual fuel pumps working at 250 bar pressure helps meet added fuel requirements and also assists in developing extra power to the hungry 2.0 liter.
"When we launched the Drive-E powertrain family, our aim was to deliver the most advanced 4-cylinder engines in the industry based on emissions and fuel consumption relative to performance and drivability," says Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Volvo Car Group. "We knew that 320 horsepower in our petrol configuration was just a starting point. The 450 horsepower High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept, demonstrates this ambition and the versatility of the Drive-E Powertrains."
Although Volvo is taking much of the credit for the highpowered powerplant, it’s important to note that its suppliers such as AVL, Denso and even Volvo’s Polestar Racing team helped bring performance and racing technologies into the process.
"This was a very exciting project as we pioneered a combination of technologies in the same application, and the result is a quite unique engine with its high power yet quick response," says Mattias Evensson, Race Engine Director at Volvo Polestar Racing. "Above all, its compact size improves weight distribution between the front and rear axle and lowers the center of gravity - two factors that have a significant effect on the handling, whether it is a race car or a street car."
Volvo's development of the concept engine is part of an ongoing process that aims to reduce emissions without compromising performance."Down-sizing must offer customers attractive and usable power for broad scale emissions reduction to work," Dr. Mertens points out. "Compact powertrains free up space and weight in the structure of the car, which can be used for electrification and even further emissions reduction, and that is our ultimate ambition."
Source: Volvo Cars