Automakers are always striving to produce the latest and greatest technology. Recently, this technology has been focused on improving fuel economy, while maintaining engine performance. This is an especially difficult challenge for engines used in performance vehicles. These engines are tasked with putting out above-average performance numbers, while retaining a similar mileage rating to the standard engines in the model range.
Volvo recently introduced a new engine for their mid-range performance models: the T6 Drive-E. The engine itself is a measly four cylinder, but manages 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. It achieves these numbers through the use of both a supercharger and turbocharger. The use of both systems has been done before, but not for high-volume production vehicles. The goal behind this setup is simple: a smaller engine means less fuel being burned. To maintain usability, let alone performance, the forced induction systems have to be added. Normally, a turbocharger would suffice. Because this engine is being used in SUV’s and performance vehicles, however, the supercharger is added as well. The supercharger boosts performance in the low rpm range, while the turbo gets up to speed to boost the numbers in the upper rev range. This specific engine has also been retuned to produce 367 horsepower in higher-performance models. All of this performance has been achieved while maintaining an average of 28 mpg.
This new technology is an attempt to preserve the life of the internal combustion engine, before it is deprecated in favor of electric vehicles. The power and economy of these engines are limited only by the engineers designing them.