AutoBild sportscars 11/2018


Volvo has imposed on itself the obligation to do without more than four cylinders. But even the XC60 gets along well with downsizing. For more power, emotion and sound, there is the HEICO SPORTIV house tuner.

Four years ago a radical and clever decision was made at Volvo: Five-cylinder and six-cylinder engines are out of the range, from now on there is only one four-cylinder block with 1969 cm3 - for diesel and petrol engines alike. The XC60 T6, the top-of-the-range internal combustion engine model, also has a capacity of two litres, from which it generates 310 hp. Volvo house tuner HEICO SPORTIV turns it into 340 hp - and turns the sports screw a little further.

Where volume is lacking, aids are needed. In the case of the XC60 T6 it is a double turbocharger that gives the SUV from Sweden temperament, balance shafts improve the running smoothness of the four-cylinder, only the sound remains a little poor ex works. This can be looked up in an SUV, or you can rely on a retrofit solution from HEICO - more about that later on.

At 3500 rpm, the T6 is equipped with a roots compressor, which provides pressure in the low revs that are unfavourable for turbos. The ideal working range for the exhaust-driven supercharger starts at 3500 rpm and the compressor is disengaged. In driving mode, the loader duo works so smoothly that you don't really feel the transition or any use at all.

HEICO SPORTIV intervenes in the electronics via an additional control unit and brings 30 more horses into position. This makes the HEICO's start appear a little more light-footed, and it has no beginnings at all. The power treatment also improves the draught, which looks nice and creamy. It looks relaxed and effortless, the four-cylinder engine pleases also after the tuning by its sovereign power development. Compared to the factory specification for the series model, the Sprint improves to 100 km/h from 5.9 to 5.8 seconds.

Those who find the sound too poor will also find it at HEICO. For 2440 Euros there is a stainless steel rear muffler with sound processor in the price list, called Selected Sound. It is supposed to simulate a V8 sound, thus doubling the number of cylinders acoustically-virtually. When the engine is started, the system is automatically active and provides a bass, powerful sound, which becomes stronger at higher revs. For our ears, the whole thing has a touch of boxer sound, but in any case simulates more displacement volume. Whether you have to have that is ultimately a matter of taste.

Tuner HEICO has also lent a hand with the suspension. This starts with the standard wheels in the 235/55 R19 dimension, which HEICO replaces with a surcharge of 4260 euros for 22-inch wide format 285/35 wheels. This reduces the rolling comfort somewhat, but when it comes to handling, the XC60 gains feedback from the steering and steers slightly sharper. Of course, the 22-inchers are a good match for the big Swede.

Another intervention concerns the optional active air suspension (2270 Euro), on which the HEICO Selected Level suspension (1843 Euro) is based. The lowering by 30 millimetres, especially in combination with the optional wheels, provides a sportier look, a lower centre of gravity and less lateral inclination. The handling is a bit more sporty than you would expect from a powerful SUV.

There is also criticism, but this does not concern HEICO, but Volvo. On the one hand, the cheeky warning system requires good nerves when it strikes loudly. In addition, the touch screen, which is difficult to operate while driving, torpedoes Volvo's safety efforts.

Driving fun with four cylinders in an SUV? It's quite possible, as Volvo and HEICO show with the XC60. You don't have to fear a lack of performance, because the combination of compressor, turbo and the HEICO performance upgrade works very well. The modified HEICO chassis brings a gain in sporty handling, but demands a slight reduction in driving comfort.