Volvo managed to obtain 450 horsepower out of a two-liter version of its Drive-E engine.

Called High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept, this special version is a triple boost 2-liter engine. The goal was to demonstrate the company’s know-how in emission-reducing turbo technology.

“When we launched the Drive-E powertrain family, our aim was to deliver the most advanced 4-cylinder engines in the industry based on emissions and fuel consumption relative to performance and drivability. We knew that 320 horsepower in our gasoline configuration was just a starting point. The 450 horsepower High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept demonstrates this ambition and the versatility of the Drive-E Powertrains,” said Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Volvo Car Group.

The 450 horsepower High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept utilizes two parallel turbochargers, which are fed by an electrically powered turbo-compressor. Volvo explained the compressed air from this unit, rather than being fed to the cylinders, is instead used to spool up the two parallel turbochargers. Fuel is fed by a dual fuel pump working at a pressure of 250 bar. This triple boost installation means no turbo lag, compared to a mono-turbo.

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“There are several high power small size applications where one large turbo is used to create a high level of power available from other manufacturers, but the driving experience suffers due to slow engine response. We felt that with our heritage of being among the first car companies to embrace and offer a broad range of turbo technology since 1981, that we could improve this,” said Michael Fleiss, Vice President of Powertrain Engineering at Volvo Car Group.

Volvo Cars suppliers AVL, Denso and Volvo Polestar Racing were involved at an early stage; Volvo stated this allowed theories and technologies from racing applications to be infused in the development process.

“This was a very exciting project as we pioneered a combination of technologies in the same application, and the result is a quite unique engine with its high power yet quick response. Above all, its compact size improves weight distribution between the front and rear axle and lowers the center of gravity – two factors that have a significant effect on the handling, whether it is a race car or a street car,” said Mattias Evensson, Race Engine Director at Volvo Polestar Racing.

Volvo explained the team’s motivation by the belief down-sizing must offer customers attractive and usable power for broad scale emissions reduction to work.

“Compact powertrains free up space and weight in the structure of the car, which can be used for electrification and even further emissions reduction. And that is our ultimate ambition,” concludes Dr. Mertens.

The 450 horsepower mark was reached without yet integrating any electrical drive components.