Press Releases

Volvo XC90 Gets The State-Of-the-Art V8 Powertrain


For immediate release


GÖTEBORG (September 7, 2004) – An entirely new powertrain featuring a V8 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission and the latest-generation AWD system expands the customer base for the Volvo XC90, Volvo Car Corporation executives announced today. The new Volvo XC90 V8 will make its debut at Paris Motor Show September 23, 2004, and be available in Canada in the 2006 model year.


The new V8 engine marks a turning-point in Volvo Cars’ history. It is the first V8 the company has produced since it was founded in 1927, and the Volvo XC90 is the first model to be powered by the new engine.


“An SUV in the premium segment needs a V8, especially in the North American market where we sell about 60 percent of all the XC90s we make,” explains Hans Wikman, Volvo Cars Vice President, Vehicle Line Large Cars.


One absolute requirement for the new V8 engine was that it had to be installed transversely in the engine compartment, just like all other Volvo engines.


“We’ve tailored this V8 specifically for the XC90,” confirms Wikman. “A transverse engine is helpful in maintaining the frontal crumple zones in the XC90 and thus not compromise on protective safety.”


For this reason, extremely compact external dimensions were essential for the new engine. This led to developing an engine with just 60 degrees between the two banks of cylinders as opposed to the more conventional 90 degrees. Preventing the inherent imbalance of a 60-degree ‘V’ configuration is a counter-rotating balance shaft.


In order to maintain its overall compact dimensions, all the ancillary devices such as the alternator are fitted directly onto the engine itself without any space-stealing brackets. The starter motor is fitted above the transmission for the same reason.


The exhaust camshafts are driven by secondary chains running off the inlet camshafts, saving additional space. The left-hand cylinder bank is offset by half a cylinder ahead of the right-hand bank, so the engine can slot neatly into the structural beam network of the XC90 and thus enhance collision safety.


The result is a V8 that is just 754 mm long and 635 mm wide – the most compact on the market compared to engines of equivalent volume. As a result of these compact dimensions and the fact that both the block and cylinder head are cast in aluminum, Volvo’s new V8 weighs just 190 kg – an important consideration when aiming for low fuel consumption.


The new engine is the cleanest gasoline-powered V8 on the market today. It meets the American ULEV II (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle, stage II) requirements and the forthcoming Euro 5 requirements for Europe – something no other gasoline V8 has yet managed.


“This is an achievement we’re really proud of,” says Jörgen Svensson, Chief Program Engineer.

The ULEV II/Euro 5 standards have been met with the help of:

  • Four catalytic converters. Two of these are of close coupled catalyst type and fitted to each exhaust manifold. The other two are installed under the car floor.
  • Higher idling speed (about 1250 r/min) and optimized ignition for faster warming of the engine and catalytic converters at cold start.
  • Lean air/fuel mixture for lower emissions at cold start


"The result is extremely low emissions before the catalytic converters are activated, which takes place just 15 to 20 seconds after the engine starts up,” explains Svensson. “It is during this initial short period of time that a majority of the emissions of environmentally harmful substances take place.”


The 4-valve engine also features continuous variable inlet and exhaust valve timing (CVVT). This system adjusts the valve opening times so they suit the engine’s current revs and load conditions. The engine is thus utilized more efficiently, cutting fuel consumption, lowering emissions and increasing performance


The 4.4-litre Volvo XC90 V8 produces 315 horsepower and its torque output – the most important characteristic of a V8 engine in this application – is 320 lb.-ft. (440 Nm) at 3900 rpm. From approximately 2000 rpm, no less than 273 lb.-ft. (370 Nm) of torque is at the driver’s disposal.


To increase the low end torque, the Volvo V8 has a valve in the inlet manifold that is closed below 3200 rpm. In this mode the air flow between the two cylinder banks is cut off, which creates a broader and more even torque curve.


“We chose to give our new V8 a sporty yet sophisticated appeal, with masses of power in reserve even as the revs rise,” explains Svensson.


Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes 7.0 seconds and fuel consumption is estimated to be 13.0 litres/100 km. Top speed is limited to 210 km/h (190 km/h in the USA).


The engine note is an important detail for buyers of a car with V8 power, and this is something to which VCC paid careful attention during the development of the new engine. In the hunt for that characteristic V8 rumble, it is the position of the inlet manifolds that is the deciding factor.


“Our new V8 has just the right sort of charismatic off-beat V8 burble, but it is somewhat more muted in a European fashion rather than producing the more traditional meaty American throb. We feel this provides better audio comfort for the vehicle’s occupants,” comments Svensson.


The power from the Volvo XC90’s V8 engine passes through an entirely new 6-speed automatic transmission designed to handle the high torque. This unit is also compact so as not to interfere with the car’s overall structure. Sixth gear is a pure overdrive ratio to ensure quiet cruising and low fuel consumption.


“We designed the automatic transmission to provide excellent acceleration,” says Svensson. “And at the same time, it has a very sporty nature and does not change up in the middle of a curve, for instance, but instead stays in the same gear until the bend straightens out.”


The new 6-speed transmission is of Geartronic type, to allow shifting to be done manually.


To ensure the optimum balance between driving properties, performance and fuel consumption, the engine and transmission are managed as one unit. This is achieved with new software developed by Volvo, called CVC (Complete Vehicle Control). CVC is part of the integrated software package used both in the engine control module and the transmission control module. Among the many benefits of this approach was the possibility of integrating an overdrive 6th gear while still maintaining good driving performance by adjusting functionality, gear and torque to suit current conditions.


The third ingredient in the new Volvo Cars V8 powertrain is the electronic all-wheel drive system, which now features Instant Traction. This new technology – which Volvo Cars is the first automaker in the world to introduce –improves the scope for quick getaways and provides enhanced traction on slippery surfaces. It has been developed by the Swedish company Haldex.


“A non-return valve allows us to use software to control the base torque that is programmed into the AWD system. When starting from standstill, 60 lb.-ft (80 Nm) of torque is pre-charged in the system since the non-return valve prevents the unit from becoming totally drained of hydraulic fluid,” explains Svensson. “This reduces the usual wheelspin of about one-seventh of a turn that the current system permits before the power is delivered to the rear wheels.”


The AWD system has also been upgraded to handle the power of the V8 engine. Maximum short-term torque at the rear wheels has been increased by 50 percent compared to current XC90

On the new XC90 V8, a V8 badge appears in the grille and on the tailgate to indicate the powertrain under the hood. Other design details set the XC90 V8 apart:

  • New 18" wheels
  • Side mouldings and door handles painted in the car’s body colour
  • Graphite-grey grille
  • New chrome-plated trim around the bumper air intake
  • New twin exhaust pipes


The company’s design department also took considerable care over the appearance of the engine itself. The V8 is the first example of a new design language for the engine compartment in coming Volvo models.


“We want there to be no doubt that this is a V8, and a modern and technically advanced V8 at that. We chose not to hide the engine beneath large covers but instead to enhance the V-configuration and the eight inlet pipes,” says Anders Myrberg, head of engine compartment design at Volvo Cars.


On the inlet manifold, the classic Volvo ‘iron’ symbol can be clearly seen in relief against a background of brushed aluminum and complemented with an elegant V8 emblem.


Volvo Cars of Canada Ltd. is part of the Volvo Car Corporation of Göteborg, Sweden. The company provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to the 44 Volvo automobile retailers across the country. The company’s product range includes the flagship S80 luxury sedan, the versatile V70 wagon, the S60 sports sedan, the exotic C70 convertible and an XC-line of vehicles that includes the rugged XC70 and the award-winning XC90 sport utility vehicle. For 2005, the company is introducing the completely redesigned S40 sports sedan and V50 sportswagon, providing performance for a new generation.


Doug Mepham

1-877-975-1572 office

613-966-2371 mobile

Chad Heard


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