Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine review
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 petrol engine with an electric motor to produce a total output of 401bhp, 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 and claimed fuel economy of 128.4mpg, you can have your cake and eat it.
That’s the theory, anyway. In reality, you’re unlikely to get anywhere near to the claimed figure, and the actual economy is likely to be around 45mpg to 50mpg, making it much closer to the diesel versions. But the 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 three-and-a-half to six hours, depending on the power supply.
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, which will provide a full charge in under three hours, up to £999 for a 22kW. These prices include a £500 Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) grant.
Alternatively, a 4.5-metre Type 2/Mode 3 charging cable is available via Volvo dealers for £50, which provides access to the rapid-charger network. Using one of these chargers, you can expect to replenish 80% of the battery in 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the battery capacity and state of charge
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 – £57,500 for the R-Design Pro and £58,000 for the Inscription Pro – but the T8 qualifies for a £2,500 government plug-in car grant, and 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, dynamic chassis 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, and a lowered sports chassis for keener drivers, 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 figures might not be as claimed, 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.