2009 Volvo S80LEnlarge Photo
Joining the long list of European vehicles (not to mention a few Japanese) that get torquey, thrifty diesels only in their European versions, Volvo recently announced a new turbodiesel that will find its way under the hood of the S80 luxury sedan.
According to Carscoop, Volvo's intent "was to develop a modern performance diesel engine that meets the Euro 5 standard" according to Volvo VP of Powertrain Engineering Derek Crabb. The engine is a twin-turbo five cylinder of 2.4-liters displacement. Twin sequential turbochargers are employed, as are the expected piezoelectric injectors. The unit manages an impressive 205 hp, approximately 310 lb-ft. torque, and should manage 38 mpg, no small feat for a heavy luxury sedan with such respectable levels of power. Note that an S80 V-8 only manages EPA ratings of 15/22 mpg, and only marginally more torque (325 lb-ft) than the diesel.
The cost of passing emissions regulations in the U.S. (necessitating costly add-ons like urea injection), diesel's general unpopularity in the U.S. as a passenger car engine (dating from the early 80s), and the price premium at the pump for diesel fuel will probably forever consign most brilliant European diesels to that continent alone.A few brave Germans are trying the diesel experiment for '09; Audi's A4 and Q7, both in 3.0 TDI flavor, the VW Jetta TDI, Mercedes' ML, GL, R, and E-class vehicles with the firm's 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel, and BMW's wickedly powerful 3.0-liter twin turbo inline diesel six in its 3-series sedan and X5 SUV).
It will be interesting indeed to see if diesel makes more than a blip on the green car screen in America, especially given the rising tide of hybrids, E-REVs, and all electric vehicles coming our way.--Colin Mathews