Volvo and Jaguar On The Same Road

This VW diesel scandal is going to take a heavy toll on that fuel as a means of propulsion. For some companies it is a great opportunity.

Nineteen sixites Mercedes straight six: automobile magazine dot com why not.
Nineteen sixties Mercedes straight six: automobile magazine dot com why not.

In the same week the good people at Car and Driver have offered some insight on the upcoming Volvo S90 and Automobile have some news on the electric Jaguar E-Pace. Before getting around the to main points of those articles, I note with some pleasure that there will be a Volvo S90. Having had a chance to visit Volvo’s museum (all of Sweden, apparently), I have seen at first hand Volvo’s unique contribution to the art of the quite large car. Rather I was reminded of this. From the 240 to 760 to the magnificent 960 estate, Volvo have made robust and practical cars that manage to

2020 Jaguaar E-pace: youtube.com
2020 Jaguaar E-pace: youtube.com

look grand without looking ostentatious. The S90 is another in this line and there seems to be every chance it will look as good as the previous S80s, both of which I can call, without irony, beautiful saloons.

And still before getting around to the second point, about the Jaguar,  I need to draw your attention to the fact Jaguar is planning new straight six engines. These are three-litre, direct injection units derived from the Ingenium family. Automobile describes the old V6s as inefficient (now) and thus the difference between them and the new straight-six will have to be marked. This article

2020 Jaguar E-pace: Automobile Magazine.com (as it says on the picture itself). It´s a good website. Take a look.
2020 Jaguar E-pace: Automobile Magazine.com (as it says on the picture itself). It´s a good website. Take a look.

presents the pros and cons of both. In a nutshell, the V6 is a response to a packaging requirement of smaller cars with front wheel drive. This makes me wonder about why Peugeot ever fitted a V6 to the 604. Was this the price they paid to get Renault on board? Of the three cars that used it in 1975, only the Renault was FWD.

The straight six is cheaper to make and easier to keep in tune but not suited to FWD cars. And then comes the exception, our old friend the Chevrolet Epica. This is not a full list of the pros and cons and really, which engine is preferred depends entirely on the application as the article cited above reminds us.

The S90 will have these kinds of cues applied to a much larger car with a bigger passenger cell: car and driver.com
The S90 will have these kinds of cues applied to a much larger car with a bigger passenger cell: car and driver.com

That aside, it is a pleasant surprise to hear Jaguar are returning with a straight six; I thought these were soon to go the way of the V8 and the manual type-writer. I wondered why Jaguar might want to do this and this article here gives a clue. If you have a straight four then adding two more cylinders is a comparatively cheap. So Mercedes are going to be bringing their straight sixes back too, despite the absolute cost of the units themselves. Apparently Mercedes turn to V6s in the 90s was simply a cost-cutting exercise. Why am I not surprised. That’s another reason to despise the 1995 W210.

I have digressed a bit without actually getting to the main point of the article. I will have to get back to this as soon as the digression has worn off.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

13 thoughts on “Volvo and Jaguar On The Same Road”

  1. Although I have a V6 that I’m very fond of, and there are Lancia and Ferrari V6s, generally it is a motor of convenience and I’m very pleased to see Jaguar, etc returning to the inline 6.

  2. Volvo of course had a straight 6 in the rather unloved 164 saloon, then reverted to other configurations until they came up with their SIL 6, nine years ago. But they never actually stopped making I6s, if you include the marine range of Volvo Penta engines. I encountered a pair of these in the 60s fitted into a boat. Huge, heavy, green (painted), naturally aspirated diesels fitted to stern drives, they put out an unstressed 92hp, but were so heavy that the boat they were fitted to could only proceed bow in the air and was unable to plane as intended.

    1. My recollection is that the 164 was well regarded, particularly in fuel injected form which was seriously quick – well up with BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar. The original Vanden Plas-hommage front end had real presence, and became a bit Jaguar-like in the shallower grilled big bumper update.

      The 164 was a major winner in the massive early ’70s British ‘can’t wait for an XJ6’ market. The DTW favourite Toyota Crown was another car which did rather well in that set of circumstances.

      The PRV V6 never really ‘worked’ in the 264. Barely quicker than the fours, and thirsty too. The 164 inspired front end was far better liked, and was a popular rero-fit in the early years of the 200 series. Not sure of this was a solely British thing – it was given official status later in the 200’s long life.

    1. The Truth About Cars have also reported this. Isn´t it astonishing that the data is sent out before the car is publically launched? This is quite careless. I don´t believe it is somehow calculated to boost publicity. I know that a small model says very little about how a 5 metre thing looks in the metal but still.
      The new Volvo XC90 thundered into my rear view mirror the other day. It looks very, very, very imposing. I quickly got out of the way. I think that driver ought to have bought an Audi Q9. Such aggressive driving is not, in my mind, the preserve of a Volvo driver. Fine looking machine though. They ought to be able to sell a lot of them.

  3. Couldn’t agree more about the W210. The renaissance of the straight six can only be good news surely? Lovely turbine whirr approaching the limit, glassy acceleration, long bonnet and rwd mandatory. Cheaper to build, more reliable and is it really noticeably less smooth than a V8? The car built around the perfect engine rather than the other way round.

    1. We feature a lot of quite untalented cars here. I can´t think of one that makes me angry (in a mild way) like the W210. Thankfully they seem not to be lingering as long as the predecessor. I don´t think people really like them. Regardless of whether its a base model 200 or a top-end 430, they are equally unappealing inside and out. Some essentially unlovely cars can be made likeable with some brightwork and some tastefully warm interiors. Not the W210. They all look like mid-range models and they all have the same horrible side view. I look forward to the day when the only ones around show up at classic car gatherings.

    2. It always looked like a droopy slabby taxi that you didn’t really want to get into. I’m glad you haven’t let it get you really angry, my ire still goes up to 11 when I’m unfortunate enough to see one.

  4. Richard, going by the rotten-ness of the remaining W210s in my locale they’ll be extinct before they achieve classic status.

    I note that Einar Hareide, ex-Saab, now consultant to Ghoul Borgward is claiming credit for the W210 styling. Are Brown Bag and Steve Mattin bothered?

  5. Phew – a bit of bluster there from young Einar. Loves the Sensonic semi-auto (a rotund failure), and can’t live without a turbocharger. I can forgive him more readily having discovered that we’re almost exact contemporaries, and I was probably spouting similar nonsense 20 years ago.

    The mature Einar has realised that the answer to everything is sticking a Buick grille on an Audi Q5 clone with a peppering of Porsche Macan. Who’s to argue?

    1. He also did the disc-slicer rims fitted to eco specials for Volvo as a freelancer, if I’m not mistaken.

      I hadn’t been aware Hareide was involved in the W210’s creation – but regardless of that particularly nasty blot on his CV, I actually never held his body of work in high esteem. The original 9-5 wasn’t as grotesquely awful as the facelift version, but was a significant milestone in GM’s long-term banalising effort. The show cars developed under Mauer’s/Lo’s reign later on proved that there was still some mileage in Saab’s basic stylistic properties. A fact Hareide failed to grasp, in my opinion.

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