For those worried that Volvo’s new Drive-e petrol engines were a little tame comes news of a range-topping 331 kW firebreather.

The four-cyliner gets two conventional turbochargers plus by an electrically powered “turbo-compressor” – a configuration Volvo are describing as “triple-charged”. The turbo-compressor will spool up the two turbochargers at low revs, which Volvo engineers claim “enables a very dynamic drivability without any turbo lag.”

Polestar Racing, the firm’s in-house performance partners, have been involved in the system’s development. Have a look out, by the way, at the next issue (November 2014) of our magazine for a scoop insider feature on Polestar.

"We knew that 236 kW in our petrol configuration was just a starting point," says Volvo's research and development boss Dr. Peter Mertens about their Drive-e powertrain family. “It may sound odd, but this 331 kW powertrain concept is an important part of the Drive-E development program. Down-sizing must offer customers attractive and usable power for broad scale emissions reduction to work. Compact powertrains also 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.”

At the moment, there’s no news of a likely launch date for the new motor, however it's very likely we'll see it as the flagship engine in the new XC90.