How Volvo Is Cleverly Mitigating Turbo Lag

Volvo currently only offers four-cylinder engines in its cars, but in order to match six-cylinder power, it’s turned to turbochargers. Using turbos to get six-cylinder numbers from an inline-four can often lead to significant turbo lag, but Volvo has developed some clever solutions. There’s, of course, Volvo’s new T6 engine which pairs a turbocharger with a supercharger for more immediate throttle response, but Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained explores two of the automaker’s more interesting approaches.

The first, called Power Pulse, is only available in Volvo’s twin-turbo D5 diesel, which we don’t get in the US. This system uses an electric compressor to fill up an external tank with air used to spool up the turbocharger. If you get on the throttle quickly, air from the tank is sent into the exhaust manifold and to the first of two sequential turbochargers. This means that the turbo is spun up to operating speed more quickly than it would be in a conventional system.

The other is Volvo’s T8 twin-engine hybrid drivetrain, which combines the turbo- and supercharged T6 gas engine with an electric motor at the car’s rear axle. This setup doesn’t reduce turbo lag itself, but the electric motor and supercharger both help minimize the effects of the turbocharger.

Check out Fenske’s video for additional visuals to better understand Volvo’s cleverness. By definition, you can’t get rid of turbo lag entirely, but the Swedish automaker is trying to make its effects imperceptible.