This year marks a first for Volvo Cars to win the annual award bestowed by the editors of Ward's. In all, 38 vehicles with new or significantly improved engines were tested and evaluated. "Volvo clearly benchmarked BMW in developing the supremely smooth T6 engine, based on its delicious mid-range power band and paucity of turbo lag," noted Tom Murphy, Executive Editor of Ward's AutoWorld in his December 7 article highlighting the awards. "This engine is perfectly suited for the all-new S60 and powers it into contention against bigger, better-established luxury entries."
The T6 engine, matches the torque of Volvo's V8, but makes its power far lower in the rev range: 2,100 rpm compared to 3,950 rpm. While boasting 304 horsepower, fuel economy figures for the T6 of 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway make it one of Volvo's most fuel efficient engines offered in the U.S. In fact, the T6 engine is 17 percent more fuel efficient than the V8. Aside from the S60 sport sedan, the turbocharged T6 engine is also available in certain markets in the 2011 S80, XC60 and XC70.
"The S60's T6 engine is simply the best engine Volvo's ever produced," noted Doug Speck, President and CEO, Volvo Cars of North America, LLC. "It's powerful, smooth, and gets great fuel economy. We're honored that Ward's is recognizing the T6 engine as one of its 10 Best for 2011."
Essentially a heavily modified version of the T6 originally introduced in the 2009 XC60 premium crossover, the goal for the 2011 iteration was to perfectly balance performance with fuel economy and maintain a low environmental impact. Volvo engineers focused their efforts on reducing internal friction, increasing power output and improving fuel economy.
The T6 benefits from improved valve tappets, which feature Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coating. The carbon structure is extremely hard and has self-lubricating properties. The DLC surface reduces camshaft friction, enabling lower fuel consumption and extending service life. Additionally, a new type of Denso Super Ignition Spark Plug results in increased power output, improved fuel economy, better cold starting performance and longer service life. Highly polished cam shafts also result in reduced friction which helps contribute to the T6's excellent fuel economy and performance.
Volvo Cars also developed new engine management software optimized for fuel economy. The six-speed "Geartronic" transmission received revised mapping software that allowed for a new "Sport" mode. In "Sport" mode, the transmission remaps the shift points, holding the shifts higher in the rev band for improved performance. Other enhancements include revised frame bearings within the crankshaft, a low-friction accessory drive belt tensioner and aluminum water pump housing, all designed with improved engine efficiency in mind.
Volvo Cars was honored at the recently held Ward's 10 Best Engines banquet last January 12, 2011 at the Renaissance Center Marriott in Detroit, MI.