2012 Volvo S60 Polestar
It's been eight years since Volvo offered a four-cylinder car in the United States--in the S40 sedan and V40 wagon--but come fall 2013 the four-pot drought will be over.
Volvo has announced that the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder will be used in the front-wheel drive versions of the S60 and S80 sedans, as well as the XC60 crossover and XC70 wagon. Even the smallest of the company's current models, the C30, is only offered with a five-cylinder engine.
Volvo Cars of North America CEO John Maloney suggests (via Automotive News) the four cars are based on a similar platform, allowing them to use the same engine.
Where Volvo engines over the last few years have often been Ford units, the new four-cylinder is an all-Volvo design. It's based on the new Volvo Environmental Architecture family of engines, set to replace all of Volvo's five- and six-cylinder units.
"The whole reason to do this is high fuel efficiency, high performance, good torque and reduced weight," explained Maloney.
The new engines will also be turbocharged, to ensure they deliver the performance expected of larger engines, while reducing fuel consumption. Outputs will range from 150 to 300 horsepower.
The Swedish carmaker hasn't ruled out diesel units either, encouraged by the slow trickle of diesels into the U.S. from other carmakers.
Volvo isn't the first carmaker to downsize much of its engine range--BMW has also embraced turbocharged four-cylinders with the new 3-Series, and has even hinted at three-cylinder engines in future vehicles.