For some, the question may be downright philosophical: Can a premium mid-range car get its 300 horsepower from just four cylinders? Isn't that too profane? On the contrary, this is engineering skill Volvo finds and has now launched its 60s family with S60 (sedan), V60 (station wagon) and XC60 (SUV) with a new, powerful petrol engine. You have to invest at least 45.500 euros for the S60 T6, then the medium equipment "Momentum" is automatically included (V60: 47.200 euros, XC60: 47.400 euros).
While the premium competition from Munich, Ingolstadt and Stuttgart relies on 300-liter six-cylinder engines for the 3,0 hp brand, the Swedes' unit has one liter of displacement and two cylinders less. Downsizing is the well-known idea used to save fuel. Volvo has been using a new engine family designed from it for over a year. Both diesel and petrol have always had two liters of displacement and four cylinders, with forced ventilation to different performance levels.
The new top unit, called the T6, replaces the old inline six-cylinder with 224 kW / 304 hp. Both the compressor and the turbocharger provide extra air in the 2,0-liter four-cylinder, according to the motto: the more oxygen, the better the combustion, the more power with less consumption. The resulting 225 kW / 306 hp leads the standard eight-speed automatic to the front wheels.
And makes her job almost irritatingly unobtrusive. On a test drive in the foothills of the Alps, you are relaxed - on the go - quickly saving fuel in gear eight. If there is a gap to overtake, the machine reacts promptly and predictably to gas commands without nervously switching back and forth.
Anyway, the tested S60 is well on the gas. The compressor does not let a turbo lag arise, it supplies the loader with air up to 3.500 revs before it takes over itself. The S5,9 sprints from a standing start to 60 km / h in 100 seconds (V60: 6,0; XC60: 6,9).
However, the motor-drive combination reaches its limits during kickdown: Then up to 400 Newton meters pull on the front axle, which is noticeable in the steering, for example when accelerating out of a curve. The all-wheel drive that Volvo will offer for the T6 from autumn should be the better choice, at least for sporty cornerers.
They should opt for the firmer S60 / V60. While these look sovereign with the Kraftmeier on board, the revving engine does not want to match the high-legged XC60 optimally, the contrast between family and furie is too great here.
But no matter under which hood the two-liter unit works - acoustically and vibration-wise, the four-cylinder is no compromise. Hardcore fans may recognize differences from the legendary smoothness of the six-packers, but not everyone else. However, it should sound almost a bit more robust from the tailpipe. Swedish understatement.
Back to the announced core virtues of the new engine. Volvo promises around 3,5 liters less than the previous engine. The 6,4 liter Super per 100 km (S60) on the roller dynamometer sounds promising and is about one liter less than the competitive environment in terms of standard consumption. On our short trip, there were more under test conditions, but with the Eco + function activated (standard) and careful throttle control (as always optional), the unit definitely showed savings potential.
A brave strategy of the Swedes to put everything on the self-developed four-cylinder. Over the next few years, the entire engine range will be converted to four-cylinder. First of all, the T6 also comes in the luxury class XC90 SUV and, with electric motor support, forms the top engine with more than 400 hp. Officially, Volvo is not afraid of car quartet comparisons (displacement! Cylinders!). They do not have to if the promise of performance and savings is kept in practice.
Author: Hanne Lübbehüsen / SP-X