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Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E, twin forced induction improves efficiency

2015-05-12 11:32:19
Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E, twin forced induction improves efficiency
Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E, twin forced induction improves efficiency

The current generation Volvo S60 has a long history association with us and it first lost out to the Buick Regal GS in a one- on-one comparison test. It was offered an opportunity to resurrect in a five corner contest of sport sedans where it finished last though it had a 60-hp advantage. The 2015 Volvo S60 now returns with a new heart.

 The new iteration has been given a 2.0 Liter four-cylinder with direct fuel injection and mated to an eight speed transmission with start-stop, and this is the fundamentals of the “Drive-E”, the ludicrous new application. All the forthcoming Volvo models will be wearing these new four-cylinder engines and they strangely regain the T5 and T6 badges denoting the five and six-cylinder engines of yesteryear. The T5 is the base engine and it has been boosted with turbo charging to produce 240-hp, where as the T6 with Drive-E is capable of producing 302 horses helped by both turbo and supercharging. It also produces a torque of 295 lb-ft.  For a two liter engine that are impressive figures and Volvo says more powerful Powerplants are planned for future, including hybrids capable of replacing V-8s.

Since the forced induction has been doubled we would expect the S60 to be transformed, but the T-6 has not improved on the six-cylinder engine timing of 14 seconds for the quarter mile and just equals it. At 5.4 seconds the Drive-E runs a one tenth faster 0-60mph, but the steering at full throttle gets lighter thus reducing the advantage to smaller proportion. The boosters improves the throttle response when the engine is running below3500 rpm, but the presence of the eight-speed transmission makes the power delivery smooth and flowing  and the Volvo now has regular paddle shifters.

The braking of T6 Drive E is not up to the mark which is owed to the new tire selection. The Continental ContiProContacts is now replaced with Pirelli Cinturato P7 and the stopping distance has been extended to 193-feet from 70-0mph and these 11-feet more than last time. You must be wondering why we are sure that the tires have hampered the performance, because the same tires have also undermined the BMW 3-series’ capabilities.

The focus of all these machinations point towards fuel economy and the Volvo wins at the EPA. The T6 Drive E nets a combined 28mpg which is 7mpg in excess over the long term vehicle we tested in 2012. The 35mpg highway numbers are laudable as it belongs to a vehicle with 300-hp of power. The twin forced induction while improving efficiency also offer opportunity to burn fuel by heavy booted drivers.  In a drive of over 500 miles we managed an average of 24 mpg with the Drive E, which is 1mpg fewer than the long-term six-cylinder model we tested. Neither the new engine nor the upgrades offered to S60 on instrument panel and front fascia do anything to lift the Volvo.

This front-wheel-drive sedan with four-doors and five passenger seating capacity is priced, $39,075 for the base model and the test vehicle we drove cost $47,925.

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