2016 Volvo XC90 All-Wheel Drive System Uses GKN Driveline Solutions

Last year in October, we were reporting that GKN Driveline is the company that invented the world’s smallest disconnecting all-wheel drive system. The Redditch-based British company returns into focus, this time as a development partner of the all-new 2016 Volvo XC90 SUV’s front and AWD drivelines.
2016 Volvo XC90 driveline solutions from GKN Driveline 1 photo
Photo: GKN Driveline
Slated to arrive in British showrooms this month, the second-generation Volvo XC90 benefits from numerous solutions courtesy of GKN Driveline’s global development teams. “The system created for the all-new Volvo XC90 reflects GKN’s changing role within the industry,” declared GKN Automotive president of engineering Peter Moelgg.

For starters, GKN developed the VLX ball plunging joint for the rear sideshafts. In essence, the design reduces weight and packaging space. The XC90 is the world’s first application of the GKN-developed VLX ball plunging joint. Furthermore, the company also designed the Countertrack SX8 fixed joint and VL propshafts with focus on efficiency and packaging.

Other than propshaft and sideshaft solutions, GKN is to thank for the power-transfer unit (PTU) of the big Swede, as well as the rear driveline module. Taken together, the two subensembles transform the Volvo XC90 from an FWD vehicle into an AWD machine. So what’s so interesting about these oily bits and bobs?

Take the VLX joint as an example - it’s the smallest joint in production for all-wheel drive rear sideshafts. Its design has been made in such a way that it also allows automakers to standardize hub interfaces. In the Countertrack SX8 sideshaft’s case, the British components manufacturer says that it’s “suitable for high-powered front-wheel drive vehicles that require lower CO2 emissions and smoother driveability.”

GKN Driveline is adamant that the SX8 sideshaft is up to 60 percent more efficient than rival solutions, 15 percent lighter and 8 percent smaller. Last but not least, the Countertrack SX8 of the 2016 Volvo XC90 allows articulation angles of up to 52 degrees, which is a new benchmark for constant velocity joints.

As a brief reminder, the 2016 Volvo XC90 mid-size SUV is starting from £45,750 in the United Kingdom.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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