What is it?
The petrol half of Volvo’s masterplan is likely to be a more difficult sell than its diesel half-brother. The previous Volvo S60 T6 was powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six designed in Sweden, built in Wales and adored practically nowhere. But at least it had the prerequisite half-dozen cylinders. Volvo won't be able to convince everyone – especially beyond Europe’s frugalness – that its four-cylinder replacement is cleaner and clearly better.
Nevertheless, the firm's engineers are adament. Outright capacity is dismissed as a side issue; it’s how much air you can force through what you’ve got that currently captivates the Swedes. To that end, a supercharger and a turbocharger (yup, a ‘superturbo’) bulge from the new compact block and duly suck‘n’blow the new 2.0-litre T6 all the way up to 302bhp from 5700rpm.
Around the near-constant turbulence, Volvo has installed all the familiar mod-cons. Variable valve timing and direct fuel injection are both present and correct, and its engineers insist that better thermal management and friction reduction were high on their list of priorities from day one. The ungainly six-speed auto has also been retired, replaced by a new Aisin-supplied eight-speed torque converter.
Rather than sending its power to all four wheels as before, the initial T6s will be front-wheel drive only. There’s no LSD to help it on its way either. Instead, Volvo has pioneered what it claims is a different breed of traction control, using a unique arrangement of sensors (plumbed directly into the direct injection system) to harness the engine’s torque delivery in a far more nuanced way than has previously been achieved.