Just because hybrid powertrains can be found in the hearts of race cars and supercars alike doesn’t mean they’ve peaked. Companies such as Volvo have been taking the technology to more a more practical place, such as its XC90 T8, a plugin hybrid luxury SUV that Volvo claims has the power to back up its green sensibilities.
“The XC90 T8 is a plug-in electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car rolled into one,” says Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. The performance part coming from the fact that the luxury utility vehicle has a combined output of 400 horsepower and 640 pound feet of torque. This means the Volvo can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, and the only thing you’ll primarily be burning is rubber, as the fuel rating for the XC90 T8 is 59 MPGe.
All this power is due to a new Drive-E engine developed by Volvo. This four-cylinder power plant, that’s both supercharged and turbocharged, gives the engine the capability to produce 318 hp on its own. This combines with the 82-hp electric motor that sits on the rear axle and drives the rear wheels when in electric mode as well as in power-boost settings. Different drive modes allow drivers to choose how her or she wants to optimize the driving experience. Want to save fuel? Go into hybrid mode or full electric. Want performance? Power mode offers all the electric and combustible energy available. Drivers can even manually set all-wheel drive if things get slippery.
This energy runs through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, luxuriously ordained with a handmade Swedish crystal gear shift pictured above. Volvo also placed the battery pack in the central tunnel of the car, keeping it from affecting the available space in the cabin, which can seat seven people in comfort over three rows. We’re looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Xc90 T8, but until then, suffice it to say that when it comes to performance, sustainability and luxury, it sounds like this SUV has all the boxes ticked.