SwedeSpeed - Volvo Performance Forum banner
1 - 20 of 68 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
712 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems that this engine takes quite a beating in this forum.

While a 3.2 could make either more HP or Tq, or both than the 235/236 (or is it the other way around?), the engine in terms of displacement and output is similar to that from the E36 M3.

I say don't blame the engine for the fact that Volvo put it a situation where each HP has to pull 20 lbs. Also, more gears or lower 2nd and 3rd gear ratios could make a vast improvement.

That said, for all the technology the engine has - I believe variable valve lift and timing, I do wonder why it does not have higher output.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
The e36 M3 is 20years old and as I recall the S52 wasn't even a particularly loved M3 powerplant 16 years ago on its US debut. The Volvo 3.2 I6 is fine, and does fine in the XC90. It's not great in the application, but doesn't deserve a beating either. Haven't driven one in anything else, but I imagine that it would be fine, not great, in other applications as well. As long as it proves to be reliable, it'll be OK by me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
668 Posts
I have a hard time believing that people complained about the S52, my 94 325i with the M50 is heading to pasture tomorrow, but not on account of the engine. I was looking at the numbers last night and the 94 325 was pushing 16 lbs/ hp . The M3 with the s52 was looking at about 12 lbs/hp. I think what people are complaining about is that in the XC90 the 3.2 seems to have a very narrow power band. People are buying them so there must be some market for them, likewise there must not have been that much of a market for a larger power plant because Volvo quit offering it. When I drove the 3.2 it felt like a lot of compact economy cars I have driven while traveling, in terms of power, not horrible not confidence inspiring. I like vehicles that don't feel the need to wind up under normal overtaking/ merging situations so that if for some reason I need more than normal it is there, ready to go (making left hand turns in city traffic, merging on short entrance ramps, passing the idiot that slows down to 45 on the interstate while the lane next to you is doing 75, etc). I agree the 3.2 is adequate in the xc90. I also think that the V8 is great (in terms of power).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
649 Posts
I have driven the 2.5, the 3.2, and I own a 4.4 V8

The 2.5 feels more adequate despite it's lower ratings because it's power is available at a lower RPM.

The 3.2 feels borderline adequate and sometimes dangerous - merging onto the 10-lane texas super-highways is a bit daunting even with the foot all the way down and the engine straining to haul all 4400+lbs of swedish steel.

The 4.4 feels just right. Not over powered, and not underpowered. It has enough power for city stop and go driving where everyone else has a latte and a cell phone glued to their hands, and plenty enough for the highway to where passing is a breeze. Just kick down a gear, and let the mountain of torque pull you easily into the 90+mph zone in a few seconds. The thing I like about this engine is you are rewarded well if you decide to wring it out to it's 6000 RPM redline - a wail of short-stroke 60-degree power erupts from the engine bay and you're pleasantly surprised as you are pushed into your seat.

I bought the V8 because every year I take a trip to Colorado, where climbing a mountain to a ski slope filled with 7 passengers and a roof rack full of gear at high altitude is a burden. The 2.5 may be able to cope with the altitude and fully loaded SUV because the turbo can compensate for lower ambient air pressure, but the 3.2 will fall flat on it's face. Driving at altitude near Arapahoe Basin is not a small feat for a car that weighs this much when you're climbing a mountain for 40 minutes continuously. Don't forget the 2.5 and the 3.2 recommend at least mid grade fuel, but the 4.4 is happy (as stated in the owner's manual) on regular-grade fuel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
668 Posts
Really? I thought it called for 89 as well....
Looking on pg 104 of the 2006 owners manual "Volvo engines are designed for optimum performance on unleaded premium gasoline with an AKI octane rating of 91 or above. ... The minimum octane requirement is AKI 87(RON 91). " This leads me to believe that the spec is AKI 91, but thanks to modern technology that the engine will run on AKI 87 and not knock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,060 Posts
The 4.4 feels just right. Not over powered, and not underpowered. It has enough power for city stop and go driving where everyone else has a latte and a cell phone glued to their hands, and plenty enough for the highway to where passing is a breeze. Just kick down a gear, and let the mountain of torque pull you easily into the 90+mph zone in a few seconds. The thing I like about this engine is you are rewarded well if you decide to wring it out to it's 6000 RPM redline - a wail of short-stroke 60-degree power erupts from the engine bay and you're pleasantly surprised as you are pushed into your seat.
The V8 has no problem getting to 120 mph in 4th gear on the autobahn. The ECU is adaptive and depending on how you drive it you will notice a big difference in engine response. It isn't that the 3.2 is a bad engine, it is just a bad engine for the heaviest of the Volvo vehicles. Why does the C30 have a better engine?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,329 Posts
The V8 is unnecessary, that is why it is no longer being sold in a XC90

It seems that this engine takes quite a beating in this forum.
Those of us who drive a 3.2 XC90 on a regular basis don't seem to have the need to bash this engine.

It is a motor that is smooth and comfortable to rev, the inline six is internally balanced and does not need a balance shaft and this is one of the keys to its smoothness and willingness to rev. It is mated to a very smooth shifting six speed transmission that willfully keeps the power band where it is useful with only a touch of the toe on the accelerator.

I think some of the commentary is coming from people who have spent far too little time behind the wheel of a 3.2 and might not really have gotten the point, or understand how one can be driven effectively. I have found absolutely no reason to complain about the 3.2 in any way, quite the contrary, we love (and understand) the motor for what it is.

So in the end the argument or commentary seems to be "the V8 has more power so it is better".

I never looked at a V8 during our recent shopping as I thought it was unnecessary after driving the 3.2. So now the V8 is gone from the line-up, and I guess a lot of other people thought it was unnecessary too.

Regards,

P
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
953 Posts
My point:

I would never drive or buy the 3.2 vs the 2.5
Having driven the 2.5 for 9 years sequentially, someone should have kept the 2.5T in the XC90 and left the 3.2 for the other volvos

and you can always chip it, not possible for the 3.2

good business decision, lousy for the customer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
I never looked at a V8 during our recent shopping as I thought it was unnecessary after driving the 3.2. So now the V8 is gone from the line-up, and I guess a lot of other people thought it was unnecessary too.
P, what's the maximum speed limit in TN? In the rest of the United States? For those of us paying quasi-US prices for fuel in Europe, more power is DEFINITELY better in the XC90.

I just took delivery (like 4 hours ago) of a new XC90 R-Design 3.2 AWD. It took me about 1 mile to get from the dealership to the Autobahn.

Compared to my poor MY'05 XC90 T6 AWD, this 3.2 is a piece of trash. My T6 has a failed transmission, which is Volvo's fault for putting a pathetic GM 4-speed in a heavy vehicle with a great engine.

The 3.2 actually had me afraid as I mashed the accelerator and tried to get up to merging speed on a section of Autobahn with NO SPEED LIMIT.

It will be fine for my wife putting around town, and seems to perform alright once you're up to 90mph or so ... however, getting from 30mph to 90mph is a chore this engine is not cut out for.

As a final comment: I popped the hood when I got home, and was AMAZED at the empty space in the engine compartment. W/o the V8 or the twin turbo taking up space, the 3.2 looks quite lonely in there. I guess that it's lonely for a little extra torque and HP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Man, I came from an Impala SS to the 3.2 in our xc' and I don't get the maligning. I suppose it's lacking in certain speed aspects, but, they're SUV's? We'll see how things stand in 7 years or so, or 10, or 15. So far the engine has been more than adequate and I don't see things dropping off a bunch. Doesn't' mean I am not eyeing an xc with the polestar though, big fun there!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
953 Posts
Man, I came from an Impala SS to the 3.2 in our xc' and I don't get the maligning. I suppose it's lacking in certain speed aspects, but, they're SUV's? We'll see how things stand in 7 years or so, or 10, or 15. So far the engine has been more than adequate and I don't see things dropping off a bunch. Doesn't' mean I am not eyeing an xc with the polestar though, big fun there!
ignoring the impala
you cant tell the difference between your xc60 and 90 ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Ok, so I just got back from a 40 mile mostly highway jaunt to take the older kids to play golf. I took the XC90 with this thread in mind.

Basically I think the issue boils down to what raymansean said:

"I think what people are complaining about is that in the XC90 the 3.2 seems to have a very narrow power band."

This engine has a noticeable increase in torque at 3500rpm and another around 4250rpm, but the transmission works REALLY HARD to keep you from ever seeing those rev ranges unless you absolutely demand it. When you do it downshifts fairly quickly and smoothly to get you sufficient torque for all the highway power that I think you can safely use in this chassis, but if you don't demand it, the transmission keeps you below 3000rpm where there seems to be little to no torque available to move one along sufficiently in a vehicle with this mass. Bottom line: the transmission is tuned to eek out every last mpg it can get at the cost of keeping you out of the engine's power band, and even with all that focus it doesn't really do a great job with the fuel (non) economy. If you override it, there's sufficient power IMO for anything safe in this chassis. I'm not driving the R, but in the regular model, anything over 80-85mph sustained just isn't safe in this car. It's too high off the ground and the suspension is definitely too soft for 120mph runs on the autobahn. And I'm not a guy to lag about when in the right vehicle. I've made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs (Broad & Water to downtown New Cannan in just under 43 minutes)! And for the real geeks out there, yeah I know a parsec is actually measure of distance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
580 Posts
The fact that XC90 is currently offered only with the 3.2 liter engine is one of the main reasons we will not consider another XC90 when we will replace our current T6 at the end of this year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Those of us who drive a 3.2 XC90 on a regular basis don't seem to have the need to bash this engine.

It is a motor that is smooth and comfortable to rev, the inline six is internally balanced and does not need a balance shaft and this is one of the keys to its smoothness and willingness to rev. It is mated to a very smooth shifting six speed transmission that willfully keeps the power band where it is useful with only a touch of the toe on the accelerator.

I think some of the commentary is coming from people who have spent far too little time behind the wheel of a 3.2 and might not really have gotten the point, or understand how one can be driven effectively. I have found absolutely no reason to complain about the 3.2 in any way, quite the contrary, we love (and understand) the motor for what it is.

So in the end the argument or commentary seems to be "the V8 has more power so it is better".

I never looked at a V8 during our recent shopping as I thought it was unnecessary after driving the 3.2. So now the V8 is gone from the line-up, and I guess a lot of other people thought it was unnecessary too.

Regards,

P
Agree 100%
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Ok, so I just got back from a 40 mile mostly highway jaunt to take the older kids to play golf. I took the XC90 with this thread in mind.

Basically I think the issue boils down to what raymansean said:

"I think what people are complaining about is that in the XC90 the 3.2 seems to have a very narrow power band."

This engine has a noticeable increase in torque at 3500rpm and another around 4250rpm, but the transmission works REALLY HARD to keep you from ever seeing those rev ranges unless you absolutely demand it. When you do it downshifts fairly quickly and smoothly to get you sufficient torque for all the highway power that I think you can safely use in this chassis, but if you don't demand it, the transmission keeps you below 3000rpm where there seems to be little to no torque available to move one along sufficiently in a vehicle with this mass. Bottom line: the transmission is tuned to eek out every last mpg it can get at the cost of keeping you out of the engine's power band, and even with all that focus it doesn't really do a great job with the fuel (non) economy. If you override it, there's sufficient power IMO for anything safe in this chassis. I'm not driving the R, but in the regular model, anything over 80-85mph sustained just isn't safe in this car. It's too high off the ground and the suspension is definitely too soft for 120mph runs on the autobahn. And I'm not a guy to lag about when in the right vehicle. I've made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs (Broad & Water to downtown New Cannan in just under 43 minutes)! And for the real geeks out there, yeah I know a parsec is actually measure of distance.
Isn't a parsec a measure of astronomical distance ? :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,060 Posts
Going faster than 85 is not dangerous. 120mph the XC90 is smooth and responsive. The RDesign suspension does fine taking corners on the autobahn at high speeds. That statement is completely false.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Going faster than 85 is not dangerous. 120mph the XC90 is smooth and responsive. The RDesign suspension does fine taking corners on the autobahn at high speeds. That statement is completely false.
This assessment is, of course, relative, so there needs to be some context. I've never driven a Suburban for more than a couple hundred yards, but I suspect the XC90 might seem safe at high speed by comparison; but in relation to the majority of cars that I have driven on the highway, I wouldn't say that it's got good enough high-speed handling characteristics for me to classify it as safe at high speed. I have a hard time imagining any normal SUV meeting that criteria for me as they're just too high off the ground to handle well. I would grant exceptions for the last generation Cayenne Turbo and GTS (haven't driven the new ones), but that's about it in my driving experience. My old R-class could easily handle 90mph "safely" but not much beyond that, and it had superior handling characteristics to the XC90, at both high and low speed. But as I've said, I've never driven an R-design, and grant that it's likely significantly better than the standard 3.2.

In actuality very few cars feel all that stable beyond 100mph to me. At triple digit speeds a lot of cars start getting dicey and the list of those that actually feel competent starts getting pretty narrow and dominated by Germans, and most of those have lower than average centers of gravity, with the aforementioned Porsches being notable exceptions. I can assure you that your margin for error in a standard 3.2 at 120mph is less than zero, and I would doubt that it's all that high in the R-design compared to say a 1992 400SE or 1993 300E 4matic, or even a 1987 190E 2.3-16v.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
668 Posts
It is not the 120mph down the autobahn that bothers me it is the idiot that pulls out in front of you doing 35, that you have to avoid that will cause the laws of physics to remind you that a high center of gravity and a narrow wheelbase is not near as good as a wide wheel base and a low center of gravity. Yes we have stability control and other systems that will hopefully prevent the car from rolling but that does not mean you will miss that idiot either. Once you center of gravity passes over the outside wheels it is all over.
 
1 - 20 of 68 Posts
Top