Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine review

The Volvo S90 T8 offers big executive saloon practicality and a beautiful interior, but the diesel versions are just as economical and cheaper to buy

£57,305 - £58,055
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

  • Beautiful interior
  • Low CO2 emissions
  • Great performance and refinement

Cons

  • Low-speed ride comfort
  • Expensive purchase price
  • No dedicated cable storage
Car type Electric range MPG CO2

Plug-in hybrid

29 miles

117.7mpg

49g/km

The Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine is a plug-in hybrid saloon that rivals the likes of the BMW 530e, as well as its estate-car sibling, the Volvo V90 T8 Twin Engine.

It pairs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor to produce a total output of 385bhp, making it the most powerful model in the S90 range. But the S90 T8 is about more than just brute force. With CO2 emissions of just 49g/km, claimed fuel economy of 118mpg and a pure electric driving range of 29 miles, you can have your cake and eat it.

That’s the theory, anyway. In reality, the average economy you get will depend very much on how often you charge and how long your journeys are. Certainly, when the petrol engine is running you're likely to achieve around 35mpg even in gentle use, but if you charge regularly and do mostly shorter journeys, you could offset the underwhelming economy on longer journeys with virtually fuel-free travel the rest of the time. Low CO2 emissions do mean a low rate of company-car tax, cheaper road tax and exemption from the London Congestion Charge.

The car comes with a 10.4kWh lithium-ion battery and can be charged from a household socket via a standard three-pin plug using the 4.5-metre charging cable supplied. A full home charge will typically take six hours.

Volvo has teamed up with PodPoint to offer home charging points for its plug-in hybrid models. Prices start from £279 for a 3.6kW charger (including the OLEV grant), which will provide a full charge in around three hours. There's no point in paying for a faster home charger, as the S90 can only charge at a maximum 3.5kW speed, so even if you plug the car into a faster charging point, it'll still take at least 2.5 hours to charge.

Frustratingly, Volvo will charge £50 for a Type 2 charging cable that you'll need if you want to use most public charging points, and you even have to pay £40 for a bag to put the cables in.

As the flagship of the S90 range, the T8 Twin Engine is available only in the most lavish trim levels: R-Design Pro and Inscription Pro. Prices aren’t cheap, starting at just over £57,000 for the R-Design Pro and £58,000 for the Inscription Pro – but the low CO2 emissions make it an appealing prospect for company car drivers.

Both trim levels feature Volvo’s excellent City Safety package, a 9-inch tablet-style touchscreen infotainment system, Sensus sat-nav, two-zone climate control, an eight-speed transmission and adaptive cruise control.

The R-Design Pro and Inscription Pro cater for two distinct audiences, with the former offering sports seats, pedals and mats, while the latter features a front seat backrest massage and Nappa perforated soft leather seats.

The cosmetic upgrades of the R-Design Pro might look the part, but the more subtle and elegant features of the Inscription Pro tend to suit the S90 T8 Twin Engine’s relaxed and calm demeanour. It might be the most powerful S90 in the range, but the car’s weight and size make it more suited for leisurely progress.

Inside, the S90 T8 presents a masterclass in fit, finish and ambience – nobody does modern interiors quite like Volvo. There’s ample space for four adults, with the rear middle seat fine for occasional use. And because the S90 was designed from the ground up with the hybrid system in mind, you get the same 500 litres of boot space as you’d find in the petrol and diesel versions.

Safety comes as standard in a Volvo, so the five-star Euro NCAP rating was almost a given. It performed particularly well in the adult occupant and safety assist categories, scoring 95% and 93% respectively. Only the Volvo XC60 scored higher in 2017.

It might not offer the zero-emission range of a pure electric vehicle, and the fuel economy is not great with the petrol engine running, but the low CO2 emissions, punchy performance, interior quality and practicality make the S90 T8 Twin Engine a compelling prospect in the luxury saloon segment.

For a more detailed look at the Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.