Volvo joins the power-crowd this month when it displays its first ever V8 engine - fitted into the XC90 SUV – at the Paris Motor Show. Chances are, it won’t be seen in SA though.

Volvo joins the power-crowd this month when it displays its first ever V8 engine - fitted into the XC90 SUV – at the Paris Motor Show. Chances are, it won’t be seen in SA though.

With this engine, Volvo joins the horde of manufacturers engaged in the steady battle to produce bigger and more powerful engines. But how will Volvo’s 4,4-litre engine stand up to the established performance engines of its main rivals?

The V8 produces 235 kW of power and maximum 440 N.m of torque at 3 900 r/min, though Volvo claims at least 370 N.m of this will be available at 2 000 r/min.

Production of these vehicles is due to start early in 2005 though Deon Sonnekus, Volvo SA’s spokesman said there were presently no plans to export the high-powered SUV to South Africa.

“If the UK market decides it wants to receive the V8 engine then perhaps it would justify the cost of engineering a right-hand drive model,” Sonnekus said.

It will initially only be available in left-hand drive and is aimed primarily at the US market, Sonnekus added.

“We’ve tailored this V8 specifically for the XC90,” said Hans Wikman, Volvo head of large cars. The result is a V8 that is just 75,4 centimetres long and 64 centimetres wide and is claimed to be the most compact compared to engines of similar volume. Its compact dimensions and cast aluminium block and cylinder head ensure that the new engine weighs only 190 kg.

It is be the first petrol V8 to meet the upcoming Euro 5 emission requirements. This has been achieved by using four catalytic converters: two coupled to one exhaust manifold each and two installed beneath the floor.

The engine is mated to a new six-speed automatic gearbox that has also been kept compact so as not to interfere with the vehicle’s overall structure. The new transmission uses Geartronic, allowing it to be shifted manually as well.

The new electronic all wheel drive system has “Instant Traction” to improve quick getaways and provide increased traction on slippery surfaces. The system has been uprated to handle the added power of the V8 with maximum short-term torque at the rear wheels increased by 50 per cent when compared to existing XC90 models.

The V8-powered SUVs will receive 18-inch wheels, body colour side mouldings and door handles, a grey grille, and twin exhaust outlets. They will also display V8 badges on the grille and tailgate.