What is it?
As part of Volvo’s Drive-E powertrain strategy, the Swedes have pledged not to produce an engine with more than four cylinders, so gone are the days of the distinctive five and six-pot units that have powered Volvos in the past.
Further downsizing is on the agenda, however, and now that the four-cylinder Drive-E petrols and diesels are being installed across Volvo’s range, attention has turned to developing a new 1.5-litre, three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine, which has been codenamed GEP3.
Volvo hopes the unit will help it hit the targeted fleet average of 95g/km of CO2 by 2020 purely with conventional internal combustion engines. That doesn’t mean hybrids aren’t part of the game plan; such systems will be used to find even further efficiency gains and provide performance benefits.
The new engine is mainly intended for Volvo’s small cars built around the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), as the V40 is. However, it could also find its way into the larger V60, S60 and XC60 models, which are underpinned by the new Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA). Volvo has begun testing the three-pot in the engine bay of a V40 Cross Country, which is the car we tried on a short test track at the firm's Gothenburg headquarters.