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Volvo adds to S90, V90 and XC90 models with new petrol engine

Volvo has increased the number of available powertrain options for its S90, V90 and XC90 models with the addition of an all-new petrol engine.

Also available on the V90 Cross Country model, the new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine has been designed to provide decent performance alongside excellent economy figures.

As such, the engine delivers 247bhp and 350Nm of torque, while returning 42.8mpg and emitting just 154g/km CO2 in the V90 and S90, and 38.2mpg and 172g/km CO2 in the V90 Cross Country.

Performance is brisk, with the sprint to 60mph dispatched in just 6.8 seconds in the V90 and S90, and 7.2 seconds in the V90 Cross Country.

The economy figures for the XC90 T5 are just as impressive. Volvo claims 35.9mpg on the combined cycle, while emissions are set at 184g/km CO2. Reaching 60mph takes just 7.7 seconds.

Jon Wakefield, managing director of Volvo Car UK, said: "The T5 petrol engine is a superb addition to the S90, V90 and XC90 ranges.

"This cutting-edge engine brings increased choice for our customers, and offers strong performance with excellent efficiency and refinement. We're sure it'll be a hit with retail and business users alike."

The engine has been created with lightweight aluminium and aluminium alloy, helping to keep the car's overall weight down and as standard, power is driven through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Prices for the S90 T5 in R-Design trim start at £41,420, while a T5 V90 R-Design will cost from £43,120. The V90 Cross Country, meanwhile, commands a slightly higher premium of £44,685.

The larger, seven-seater XC90 T5 costs from £50,435 in Momentum specification.​

Drivers face fines of up to £40 for idling engines

Nottingham City Council has become the latest local authority to propose 'anti-idling' measures to reduce air pollution.

Similar schemes have already been adopted by Norwich, Wirral and Reading councils plus the London boroughs of Camden and Southwark, and take the form of an on-the-spot fine for drivers who leave their engines running while idling.

Leaving a car's engine running 'unnecessarily' has been an offence since 1986, and councils were given the power to combat it in 2002. Fines are £20, doubling to £40 if not paid within 28 days.

While a car produces fewer pollutants when idling than it does while moving, there's still an environmental impact. The RAC recommends motorists shut off their engines if they're planning on being stationary for more than two minutes. The impact of an idling engine is worse as there's less airflow around the back of the car, allowing harmful gases to collect in one place rather than dissipating over a wider area.

A study by King's College London outlines the danger of local air pollution. It found that introducing measures to combat it in the London borough of Waltham Forest, such as road closures at peak times, green space and anti-idling operations, would give children born in 2013 an extra seven weeks of life.

Nottingham's proposals to limit idling come as part of a larger air quality consultation, which also includes projects to retrofit clean exhaust technology on buses, replace heavy vehicles such as bin lorries with electric equivalents and bring in cleaner, more efficient taxis.

Councillor Sally Longford, Nottingham council's portfolio holder for energy and the environment, said: "The good news is that Nottingham is now on track to hit the government's clean air target by 2020 - but we don't want to rest on our laurels. Clean air is too important to the health of our city, and there is more we could be doing to reduce air pollution.

"Anti-idling is one of the additional proposals we are investigating to further improve the air in our city, but additional legislation would have to be put into place first."

Increased repair costs of vehicle technology shouldn't drive up premiums

The price of car insurance is a real sticking point for UK drivers, and it's no secret that sophisticated modern cars packed with electronics and sensors can cost an absolute fortune. But many of these sensors are for new safety kit such as autonomous emergency braking - and these items can actually keep premiums down.

That's according to the RSA Group, which operates motor insurance company More Than. Ian Kemp, the group's director of motor underwriting, said: "While costs of repair will vary as to the level of technology fitted in the vehicle, they are all expected to be balanced by a reduction in accidents as cars become more sophisticated, using technology to improve safety features.

"The impact on insurers will be dependent on the makeup and profile of their own book of business - individual's insurance premiums will continue to be bespoke to their own vehicle and circumstances."

Kemp also mentioned the shift towards fully autonomous vehicles, which was detailed in a recent report by the RSA Group. The group conducted research with 10,000 UK motorists, and concluded that a reduction in accidents - 93% of which are caused by human error - would have a positive effect on insurance premiums.

But the process will take time. "Different assistance and safety systems are being rolled out at different rates by manufactures and reflecting their differing range of vehicles," said Kemp. "Very often though, 'new' technology starts on high end and prestige vehicles or as an optional extra.

"For instance, AEB, which has been around for over five years is still only a standard or optional fit on around 50% of new cars. Allied to the fact that the average age of vehicles on the UK roads is around seven to nine years old, it can take upwards of a decade or more for new technology to be standard on more than 75% of vehicles on the road at any one time.

"As the technology becomes more mainstream, the additional costs of replacing and repairing them will reduce. Ultimately, we expect this to have a positive impact on insurance premiums."