SCOTTSDALE, AZ—At a news conference here today, Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) took the wraps off its new Volvo D16 engine—the first in a new family of powerplants designed with 2007 and 2010 emissions standards “in mind.”

More immediately, the OEM declared the soon-to-be-available 625 hp @ 2,250 lb.-ft. torque version of the D16 “the most powerful diesel engine in North America.”

While the 625-hp unit will be offered exclusively in Volvo’s new limited-edition flagship truck, the VT 880, it is also the first engine to be released in a new family that is being specifically developed to meet EPA 2007 emission regulations.

The 16-liter inline six-cylinder Volvo D16 will also come in ratings of 500 hp @ 1,850 lb.-ft., 550 hp @ 1,850 lb.-ft., and 600 hp @ 2050 lb.-ft.

“This engine is for customers who haul heavy loads or need to maintain a high average speed through the mountains for reduced trip times,” said VTNA president & CEO Peter Karlsten. “And since it is paired with the bold new Volvo VT 880 owner-operator truck, it will be very popular with customers who seek a strong image and serious performance.”

With plenty of torque, the engine is able to pull heavy loads up long grades without losing speed or needing to downshift, the OEM said. For example, Volvo said the engine could propel the Volvo VT 880 up a 3% grade at 65 mph at 1,400 rpm while loaded to 80,000 lbs.

The engine utilizes Volvo’s new Intelligent Torque (I-Torque) technology that is designed to protect drivelines from excessive torque at low speeds. This will extend tire wear and protect drivelines by limiting engine torque output to 1,650 lb.-ft. in startup gears and switching to 1,850 lb.-ft. as speed increases, which “phases” in the higher torque for the 600-hp and 625-hp versions, said Volvo.

VTNA said the D16’s emissions solution entails cooled EGR, high-pressure injectors using four valves per cylinder and a sliding nozzle, variable-geometry turbocharger with electronic actuation.

According to VTNA’s Karlsten, the D16 reflects Volvo’s decision to rely on a “heavy EGR” solution to meet EPA ‘07 rules. However, he indicated the OEM has not yet decided on whether to pursue an EGR- or SCR- (selective catalytic reduction) based solution for the stricter EPA regs that take effect in 2010.

The engine is now available for order in the Volvo VT 880 with customer deliveries to begin in June. The D16 engine is cast and machined at the Volvo engine plant in Skövde, Sweden, and assembled in Hagerstown, MD.

The new Volvo VT 880 truck is designed to appeal to independent truckers given the company’s emphasis on aesthetics that project a “strong image,” compliance with future emissions requirements, safety features and a powerful engine.

“Because this is a Volvo, we couldn’t do a ‘me too’ owner-operator truck,” said Volvo’s design director Ruben Perfetti. “We looked for ways to add emotional value to the design of the VT 880.”

Some of these “emotional” considerations include the OEM heeding owner-operator’s preference for a long hood, chromed air filters on the sides of the hood or cowl, and a large chrome bumper— all while taking steps toward ensuring the model’s aerodynamics and visibility.

Featured on the VT 880 is a 77-in., 374-cu-ft sleeper cab that Volvo said offers plenty of room for standing, stretching, and relaxing while providing plenty of storage space.

According to VTNA, the VT 880 will reach full production by the fourth quarter of this year, with 780 units slated to be built this year. Annual production is expected to be 1500 units for the truck, which will debut as a 2006 model.

For more information, go to http://www.volvo.com/trucks/na/en-us/#.