It's sometimes hard to understand why automakers announce engines before it's put into whatever new model it's intended for. Since many new engines are put into facelifted versions of older models, it's kind of like saying, "Don't buy this car yet, because it's about to get more powerful and more fuel efficient."
As a fan of current Volvos, with the fat inline turbo six and the good ol' warbling T5, I'm sad the company has chosen an all-four-cylinder path moving forward all in the name of weight-savings and fuel economy. My eyes rolled even more this week when they announced the new range of four-cylinder engines would be called the Drive-E range. Stupid, stupid made-up name. It also sounds like an adjective, not a noun.
But after reading further, the two drivey engines initially destined for the US are a turbocharged 2.0-liter four with 240 horsepower (called the T5, but short one cylinder) and a much more interesting version of the same engine, but it takes a page from Volkswagen's Twincharger with an added supercharger to make it the T6 and giving it 302 horsepower.
First of all, holy hell that's a lot of power coming from a 2.0. It may not be a sweet six like the current 3.0-liter T6, but it's going to have a supercharger whine along with the turbo boost. Second, and more responsibly, it's getting stop-start and an 8-speed auto (still no manual) so it stands to be far more efficient than the six, anyway. This could be a win-win.
Volvo did not announce, however, which new cars the drivey engines would be going into. It's a safe bet the first one will be this new XC90 we've been hearing not a whole lot about, which is supposedly due at the end of 2014. For now, the five-cylinder T5 and its warble live, and so does the big T6, and normally I'd advise any five-pot fans to go out and get one instead of this new-generation four. After reading about this super-turbo engine, though, do you really want a current Volvo?
Photo: Volvo Cars