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Volvo’s new S80 – luxury, V8 Power, AWD Poise

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January 31, 2006

Volvo’s new S80 – luxury, V8 Power, AWD Poise

Volvo’s new S80 – luxury, V8 Power, AWD Poise

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February 1, 2006 Volvo's all-new S80 will be revealed to the public at the international motor show in Geneva on 28 February and is scheduled to arrive in European dealerships during June. Performance and power are entrenched priorities in the ultra-competitive luxury sedan segment, and Volvo Car's commitment to delivery these qualities yields an enthusiastic and refined combination of 235kW V8 power and all-wheel-drive performance.

“The all-new S80 is entering an immensely tough sector where the competition is razor-sharp and the customers have very high expectations. We are now challenging the best in the segment with a very special car. It radiates what we call ‘Scandinavian Luxury’, clean and elegant lines and intelligent function where every single detail has been designed with the user’s well-being in mind,” says Fredik Arp, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.

By Volvo definition, Scandinavian Luxury radiates a different, more human prestige by combining aesthetics and technology in an inviting and intelligent way. Scandinavian Luxury is expressed in the S80 through precise and elegant design, technology that gives the user practical benefit or sheer enjoyment in every single detail – and a sense of responsibility in the form of world-class safety and environmental care.

“The new S80 is about evolutionary design. All the shapes and materials represent a continuous development of our design language. On the outside we have given the S80 a more compact and dynamic stance. Inside we have created an even more inviting atmosphere with refined materials and colours that blend smoothly with smart, user-friendly technology,” explains Volvo Cars’ design director Steve Mattin.

Power by V8 or by I6

The second-generation S80 receives Volvo’s compact, transversely fitted 60-degree V8 and six-speed automatic transmission, offering 235kW and 440Nm of torque. With four catalytic converters and advanced electronics, this engine, which was first introduced in the Volvo XC90, is one of the cleanest V8s on the market and the first V8 to meet ULEV II emission requirements.

DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) is fitted as standard to S80 V8 with all-wheel drive.

The all-new S80 also introduces an entirely new naturally-aspirated 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine, a unit so compact in length that it is approximately the same size as Volvo’s five-cylinder engines. The new I6 engine produces 175kW and maximum torque of 320Nm and mates to a six-speed automatic transmission. The camshaft drive mechanism and the ancillaries have been relocated and partially integrated into the engine block itself. The S80's engine range also includes in Europe the latest generation of Volvo’s in-house developed five-cylinder turbodiesel with 138kW and 400Nm of torque.

The all new S80 will be the first Volvo model to feature Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning and Brake Support. Adaptive Cruise Control automatically maintains a selected distance from the vehicle in front and although it can be disarmed, it doesn't lay dormant. The system continues to monitor distance to the vehicle in front. If that distance reduces rapidly, the system senses a potential collision. The system alerts the driver by activating a buzzer and warning lights. At the same time, the braking system is alerted and prepared to brake with maximum effectiveness.

The new S80 has active Bi-Xenon headlights that point the beam of light in turn with the bending road to provide the best possible visibility.

The advanced PCC (Personal Car Communicator) remote control unit is a world first. PCC features a number of intelligent functions. Even before the driver gets to the car, he or she can check the security level, for example if the car is locked or whether the alarm has been activated. A heartbeat sensor warns if someone is hiding inside the car.

The all-new Volvo S80 can of course be equipped with Volvo’s Premium Sound audio system. A Digital ICE Power amplifier from Alpine, Dolby Pro Logic II Surround and loudspeakers from Dynaudio of Denmark interact to create an audio experience of superb quality.

Performance Inline Six

Volvo’s new highly efficient six-cylinder inline engine is worth more thn a cursory glance. Designed and developed in-house by Volvo Car, it features an advanced induction system which contributes to its considerable power output and impressive fuel efficiency. Power produced by the 3.2-litre engine peaks at 175kW and torque reaches 320Nm.

The engine is also very space-efficient, with several design innovations yielding an engine that is remarkably compact. As a result, the inline six-cylinder engine is installed transversely in the engine compartment, which contributes to impressive impact safety.

The compact, 3.2-litre engine has been designed to be mated to Volvo’s new six-speed automatic transmission. And the entire driveline has been designed together with the rest of the car to create a harmonious, refined, high-class driving experience in every respect.

The engine features a range of very technically advanced solutions. An advanced valvetrain and a variable intake system produce an efficient power delivery that can be exploited throughout the rev range, thus promoting alert response and excellent performance. At the same time, the engine is very fuel-efficient.

The valvetrain features VCT (Variable Cam Timing) and CPS (Cam Profile Switching) on the inlet side – two key elements in providing the engine with excellent driveability and flexibility.

CPS (Cam Profile Switching) is a means by which the inlet valves can follow one of two different inlet camshaft lobe profiles depending on engine speed and load.

In normal driving, with normal throttle opening and low engine revs, fuel consumption is modest at the same time as torque is sufficient to provide good driveability.

In more enthusiastic driving involving wide open throttle and high engine revs, the engine responds instantly to the accelerator and provides a massive thrust of power, both at low and at high speeds.

“In principle, Cam Profile Switching creates two engines in one,” explains Volvo’s Vice President Powertrain Derek Crabb. “We can unite widely differing demands on the engine and easily meet the requirements of customers with entirely different wishes. For instance, we can equally easily satisfy customers who prioritise performance as well as those who are more interested in driving comfort and fuel economy.”

VIS (Variable Intake System) has been equipped with two throttle flap valves which adjust the intake manifold volume to suit the current driving situation. This results in a uniformly high and broad torque curve.

“Through precise interplay with the flap valves, we actually get three different torque curves that are integrated with one another,” says Crabb. “Consequently, we can exploit the engine’s capacity to the maximum and extract the highest possible power throughout the rev range. The result is alert response to the accelerator pedal at both low and high speeds, with both generous power and good driveability.”

Although the engine offers quite large displacement of 3.2 litres, it has extremely compact exterior dimensions. The complete engine package is only 3 millimetres longer than Volvo’s current five-cylinder engine. The total engine length is 625mm.

“A compact format is a matter of safety,” explains Crabb. “It is particularly important that the engine takes up minimal space longitudinally in the vehicle. Volvo’s engines are fitted transversely and a compact engine thus has more space to move inside the engine compartment in the event of an impact that deforms the car’s front. This helps reduce the risk of engine penetration into the passenger compartment.”

The engine itself cannot be made all that much smaller since the cylinder spacing and block structure are roughly the same as in the five-cylinder engine. Instead, the focus was on building the entire installation, encompassing the engine, automatic transmission and ancillaries, in as compact a package as possible. One additional condition that had to be taken into account was that the transmission would be a six-speed automatic.

The compact dimensions of the transversely mounted, inline six-cylinder engine are ensured by locating the ancillaries, such as the power-assisted steering pump and air conditioning compressor behind the engine in the space above the gearbox.

Consequently, there is no front-end drive of the ancillaries. Instead they are driven via gears by the rear end of the crankshaft. This engineering solution is known as READ – Rear End Ancillary Drive.

The alternator is directly driven and installed on the engine block. This solution means that the entire engine and transmission package takes up minimum space, particularly in the car’s longitudinal direction.

By designing the drive system in the form of a small gearbox with an intermediate shaft inside the driveshaft – known as a Shaft-In-Shaft design – it was possible to ensure a very short package. The two shafts are driven by different gears that give them different speeds (one speed for camshaft drive and one for the ancillaries).

“We are very proud of this compact solution,” relates Crabb. “A lot of highly advanced development work was required in order to arrive at a design that ensures smooth and quiet operation.”

The vibration damper too, which compensates for vibration in the six-cylinder engine’s relatively long crankshaft, has been moved inside the engine block. The IVD (Internal Viscous Damper) is of the fluid type and is an unusual solution in the context of passenger cars.

“All told, the new six-cylinder engine offers a premium experience in every respect,” comments Crabb. “This applies to its performance and fuel efficiency, and also to its driving comfort and the sound of the engine. The fact that the engine’s design also helps enhance safety isn’t something the customer usually thinks about, but it is naturally a central part of Volvo’s product concept,” he adds.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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