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Volvo looks to DRIVe up efficiency

Frugal DRIVe: Volvo Australia has its eye on the super-efficient diesel S60/V60 DRIVe

S60 DRIVe added to Volvo’s Australian model wishlist, alongside V60 Plug-in Hybrid

23 Feb 2011

THE probable next piece of Volvo’s super-efficient DRIVe diesel model jigsaw in Australia has just been slotted into place in Europe with the arrival on that market of the thriftiest versions of the mid-sized S60 sedan and its V60 wagon sibling.

Volvo Car Australia has confirmed it has an eye on the S60 and V60 DRIVe as part of a possible expansion of DRIVe diesel technology in its local range after the sell-out success of its first venture into low-CO2 motoring, the C30 DRIVe hatchback.

The S60 and V60 DRIVe variants use the same 84kW 1.6-litre Euro 5 diesel engine that powers not only the C30 DRIVe sold here but also similar fuel-sipping versions of the Volvo S40 and V50 in Europe.

In the larger and heavier S60 and V60 vehicles, the DRIVe diesel engine, mated with a six-speed manual gearbox, produces 114 and 119 grams of CO2 per kilometre respectively, compared with the 99g/km and 104g/km emitted by its smaller C30 and S40 stablemates.

However, this performance is not only sufficient to put the S60 and V60 at the head of their respective classes in terms of fuel efficiency, but also equates to a 40 per cent cut in CO2 emissions over the current most fuel efficient S60 model on the Australian market, the 2.4-litre diesel S60 D5 automatic AWD (189g/km).

18 center imageVolvo V60 Plug-in hybrid.

The DRIVe engine – which features idle-stop – also cuts combined-cycle fuel consumption from 7.1 litres per 100km in the S60 D5 to 4.3L/100km in the S60 DRIVe sedan. V50 wagon DRIVe fuel consumption is rated at a slightly higher 4.5L/100km.

The S60/V60 DRIVe range has gone on sale in Europe on the eve of the Geneva motor show where the Swedish car-maker is set to unveil a prototype for an even more efficient V60 in the shape of a plug-in hybrid diesel version that achieves world-beating 1.9l/100km fuel efficiency, and CO2 emissions averaging just 49g/km.

The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid – a world first, according to the company – can cruise for up to 50km in electric mode, dubbed ‘Pure’ mode by Volvo.

In ‘Power’ mode, it can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just 6.9 seconds using a combination of 150kW 2.4-litre D5 turbo-diesel driving through the front wheels and 50kW of power from an electric motor driving the rear wheels.

The default ‘Hybrid’ model switches between the electric and diesel power to balance economy and performance.

As well, the car can operate in all-wheel-drive mode at the push of a button, with the mechanical power driving the front wheel and electric drive through the rear axle.

Volvo Car Australia public affairs manager Laurissa Mirabelli told GoAuto that the company was looking at both the DRIVe diesel and Plug-in Hybrid versions of the S60/V60 range.

She said the first batch of 50 C30 DRIVe cars had sold-out quickly last year, and a second batch had all-but been snapped up by the end of last year.

“Because of this demand, we are having another look at our DRIVe strategy in Australia to see if we can take greater advantage of these models,” she said.

Ms Mirabelli said that because the S60 and V60 DRIVe models were only under consideration at this stage, she could give no projected arrival date for them in Australia.

The same applies to the V60 Plug-in Hybrid, which Volvo has confirmed will go into production in 2012 at a price premium to other variants.

The standard V60 range, offering the same five- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines as its S60 sedan sibling that entered the Australian market last November, is due to go on sale locally in March.

If Volvo Cars Australia does tick the box for the DRIVe variants of the sedan and wagon, it should not be difficult issue for its head office, as right-hand drive models are already in train for Britain.

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