Volvo's smooth Powershift gearbox cuts fuel consumption by 8 percent in the Volvo S40
The Volvo S40 2.0 petrol is now available with Volvo's innovative new Powershift transmission. Volvo launched the popular diesel version, the Volvo S40 2.0D Powershift, in South Africa earlier this year. Due to high demand in Europe, however, the long-awaited petrol derivative has only now followed suit.
Powershift significantly cuts fuel consumption compared with a conventional automatic transmission and is aimed at buyers who want the convenience of an automatic car as well as low fuel consumption.
"According to our calculations, Powershift contributes to a fuel consumption saving of about eight percent compared with a conventional automatic transmission," says Magnus Jonsson, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Volvo Cars.
The Powershift transmission has been developed by Volvo Cars in cooperation with its transmission partner Getrag. Powershift operates in principle as two parallel manual gearboxes. It has twin wet clutches that work independently of one another. One clutch controls the odd gears (1, 3, 5 and reverse) while the other handles the even gears (2, 4 and 6). The two clutches operate alternately, with one engaging while the other disengages.
This means that the engine attains full power in first gear and readies second gear simultaneously. And when second gear has been engaged, third gear is readied, and so on. This promotes a continuous flow of power without any disruption in power delivery or torque loss, resulting in extremely fast and silky-smooth gear changes while maintaining acceleration throughout the gear changing process.
Electro-hydraulic control promotes smooth operation
The Powershift function is based on the technology used in a manual gearbox but the difference is that the two wet clutches are each linked with their own input shaft.
One shaft spins inside the other - the inner shaft regulates the output shaft for first, third, fifth and reverse gears, while the outer shaft controls second, fourth and sixth gears.
The clutch function is operated by an electro-hydraulic control unit that ensures one clutch is shut while the other is open, and vice versa.
Each clutch functions like a slip clutch - a piston pushes a number of clutch plates against each other and locks them together through the resultant friction.
Automatic or sequential gear changing without any loss in torque
Powershift gives the driver an automatic transmission that permits sequential gear changes, just like with Volvo's Geartronic transmission. The difference is that with Powershift even manual gear changes take place without any loss of power.
Unlike a conventional automatic transmission, Powershift does not need a torque converter, planetary gears or multiple wet clutches, which also eliminates any loss of power normally associated with these features.
The Volvo S40 has a compact body with rounded lines and a clean-cut tail section. The car's appearance exudes modern design and speed. The short bonnet and pronounced cab-forward stance help create a spacious cabin with generous interior space.
Broad haunches and convex side panels signal power and underscore the car's compact dimensions. The S40's grille has a deep mesh pattern and the surrounding chrome mouldings emphasises the car's premium image.
As an option, the front side windows can be given an extra water repellent coating. The treatment means that water blows off the glass more easily, improving visibility during rain.
All side windows can also be laminated which reduces noise and keeps the window from disintegrating if the vehicle is involved in a smash and grab.
Despite its compact exterior dimensions, the Volvo S40 offers a spacious and flexible interior.
The tunnel console, armrest and floating centre console all have similar decor inserts that creates a feeling of quality and harmony and increases the flexibility and storage possibilities.
Every passenger seat has a fold-flat backrest. With the seats folded down, the load compartment floor is entirely flat. The interior is inspired by Scandinavian product design with the emphasis on uncluttered surfaces, honest materials and good function.
Volvo Cars adopts a holistic view of safety that encompasses both preventive and protective safety. Preventive safety is closely linked to the car's driving properties and the body of the Volvo S40 features excellent torsional rigidity which results in safe and predictable behaviour on the road.
Protective safety in the Volvo S40 is structured around a network of exterior and interior safety systems that interact with one another to reduce the risk of occupant injury in a collision.
The exterior systems are tasked with distributing and absorbing incoming collision forces so that the passenger compartment remains as intact and undamaged as possible. The body is therefore built in the form of a metal cage made using different grades of steel, where all the components interact with one another to ensure controlled deformation.
The interior safety systems keep the passengers securely in place and reduce the risk of serious injury. In order to provide the most effective protection possible, Volvo has developed a number of in-house systems, such as WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System), SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) and IC (Inflatable Curtain). All are fitted as standard in the Volvo S40. All five seats are equipped with three-point inertia-reel seat belts, belt pre-tensioners and head restraints.
Volvo's advanced DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) stability-enhancing system is fitted as standard. DSTC intervenes and helps stabilise the car if it registers any tendency to skid.
The Volvo S40 is designed and equipped to impact as little as possible on the global environment and to offer a clean and healthy interior climate.
Volvo's IAQS (Interior Air Quality System) effectively reduces the amount of particles, pollen, gases and certain unpleasant odours in the air entering the cabin. In addition, all textiles and leather are certified under ÖKO-TEX 100. This is an international standard, which ensures that fabrics and hides have been thoroughly tested to check for certain allergy-inducing substances and emissions.
Audio and information
The Volvo S40 is available with the High Performance or Premium Sound systems. Both systems feature a USB port, making it easy to attach an iPod®, other MP3 players as well as digital cameras to the audio system. The Volvo S40 can also be equipped with Bluetooth®.
The Volvo S40 is also available with an RTI function.