Volvo DRIVe Diesel Models Aim For Efficiency

2009 Volvo Drive C30, S40, V50

While Americans fret about miles per gallon, Europeans take a serious look at how much carbon dioxide (CO2) their vehicles emit.; Volvo's done just that with its new DRIVe range, consisting of specially-tuned versions of its C30, S40, and V50 models.; All three produce less than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

Powering each of the three cars is Volvo's 1.6-liter turbo-diesel I-4, coupled through a five-speed manual transmission.; The powertrain, including the new diesel particulate filter, isn't anything that unusual; it's also offered on other diesel models in Volvo's range.

What are unique to the DRIVe models are a litany of aerodynamic aids, many of which were previewed on the C30 ReCharge concept, shown at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show.; All three DRIVe models are lowered by 10 mm, use a covered radiator grille, wind deflectors in front of the front wheels, and unique alloy wheels, shod with low rolling resistance Michelin tires.; The S40 and V50 also gain a front spoiler from the T5 model, while the C30 wears new underbody panels, a rear spoiler, and an all-new rear bumper fascia.

Volvo's also tweaked some mechanical systems in pursuit of fuel economy.; The five-speed manual transmission remains mostly stock, but uses taller gear ratios in third, fourth, and fifth gears.; Volvo's also filled the transmission with low-viscosity oil, helping to reduce friction and improve driveline efficiency.

The result?; All three models slot in under that 120 grams CO2/km mandate, and actually undercut their competition.; Not surprisingly, the small C30 fared the best, producing only 115 grams - less than both the Audi A3 1.9 TDIe and the BMW 118d.; It also managed to earn a four-star rating in the FIA's EcoTest - the same rating given to the Toyota Prius hybrid.; Oh, and they all manage to return close to 76 mpg in combined-cycle European testing.; Not too shabby.

Following their debut at the 2008 Paris motor show, production of the C30, S40, and V50 DRIVe models will begin in November.; All three should arrive at dealers across Europe by no later than January 2009.; At only; €450 more than a normal 1.6D model, Volvo expects to sell 20,000 DRIVe models each year.

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