Volvo Testing Twin-Clutch Gearbox in V40, 1.5 Turbo Confirmed for 60 Series

Volvo's 1.5-liter turbocharged engine is an open secret which the company's development boss Dr. Peter Mertens is only too glad to talk about. It all started in 2014, before the XC90 came out, and the Swedish company is doing all it can to have the three-pot engine powering the largest 90 series models.
2017 Volvo V40 1 photo
Photo: Volvo
The latest report from Auto Express magazine states that the 1.5-liter engine might power an entry-level version of the S90, V90 and/or XC90. ”[...]I can easily see how it would end up in the S90 as well. It’s really promising,” says Mertens.

To be honest, we already knew that since 2015 and will await further confirmation. But the story brings plenty of insight into what Volvo's downsizing efforts will mean for the other cars. Every model below the 90 Series is almost guaranteed to get the new engine, even without any hybrid tech, the main exceptions being the XC60, which is a “maybe,” and the replacement for the V70/XC70 that may not be built.

Volvo, a company well known for its large V8 engines and inline-6 turbos, is being forced to comply with new emission regulations, the target being 95 grams per kilometer reached by the year 2020. Using the new 1.5-liter, the engineers can achieve that even without adding hybrid technology. But in some markets, CO2 watchdogs will be even stricter, which may be why a twin-clutch gearbox is also being considered.

“We have been running a V40 mule with the turbocharged three-cylinder engine and a dual-clutch gearbox, and it’s already excellent,” said Peter Mertens. The new V40 came out last week, and there was no mention of any 3-cylinder turbo or twin-clutch gearbox, which may arrive in 2017 or later. Sister cars like the XC40 and S40 should also use this configuration.

Twin-clutch transmissions don't require you to use the clutch pedal, but from the engineering point of view, they work a lot like a manual gearbox. That makes them more efficient than conventional automatics.

Volvo has already switched from a 6-speed to the latest 8-speed Aisin automatic gearbox in the V40 and other models. It's the same unit BMW uses for the X1 and 2 Series Active Tourer. Speaking of which, BMW is another great example of a company switching to 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engines. You can already find them in the 118, 218i, 318i, and several of the latest FWD models.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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