Volvo Triple-Boosted Drive-E Engine Is Glorious

Volvo Cars reveals 450 horsepower High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept

Adding either a turbo or supercharger onto an engine is a great way to boost output, and Volvo uses both on its twincharged Drive-E engines, which use both methods of forced induction. Not enough for you? Well Volvo has just revealed a new triple-boosted Drive-E engine concept tuned to make 450 horsepower, which is more power than many V8s.

The High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept uses two parallel standard turbochargers fed by a third electronic turbo. Electronic turbos are gaining popularity for their ability to add low-end torque to low-displacement motors, which typically suffer from “turbo lag,” or a lack of power before the turbochargers spool up. The electronic turbo fills in that gap, meaning instant power for the driver, and with the triple-turbo setup Volvo says this concept makes 450 horsepower. Meanwhile the 2015 Mustang GT makes due with a 430 horsepower 5.0 liter V8, which has more than twice the displacement of the 2.0 liter Volvo motor.

In standard form, the twin-charged 2.0 liter Drive-E engine makes as much as 320 horsepower, a healthy dose of motivation from a four-cylinder motor. Buyers wanting more power can get the twin-engine Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid, good for 400 horsepower, but the 450 horsepower Drive-E engine could be tapped for racing applications or performance versions of its vehicles, rather than just saving on fuel costs. Turbocharged engine sales are expected to triple in the next three years as automakers increasingly turn to them to provide better performance and fuel economy than naturally-aspirated motors with more displacement.

If automakers like Volvo can make 450 horsepower four-cylinder engines, how much longer can big V8 engines last in the face of rising fuel economy standards?


Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.