Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine engines, drive & performance

The Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine delivers impressive power, but its size and weight blunts performance

The hybrid powertrain seems to suit the Volvo S90’s relaxed and composed feel. The ability to drive electric at up to 78mph is deeply impressive and means that, theoretically, you could complete your daily commute using no petrol. We think the S90 is best left in hybrid mode, when the soft ride and comfortable seats combine to while away the hours.

Volvo S90 T8 engine, 0-62mph and acceleration

At 2,000kg, the T8 Twin Engine is by far the heaviest model in the S90 range, but it’s not lacking in performance. That’s because it offers the most power, with the 315bhp turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine combining with the 86bhp electric motor to deliver a total output of 401bhp.

It means that the S90 T8 will sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds, before going on to reach a top speed of 155mph. While it’s undoubtedly brisk, the sheer size and weight of the S90 T8, along with the steering and chassis set-up, means that enthusiastic driving is out of the question.

There’s an overriding sense that the S90 would prefer to take it easy, with the engine sounding rather coarse under load – you might miss the five- and six-cylinder engines of old. Meanwhile, the eight-speed transmission occasionally gets bogged down when exiting corners or attempting an overtaking manoeuvre.

There are four driving modes to choose from: Hybrid, Pure, Power and AWD. Hybrid is the default setting, using the petrol engine at the front and the electric motor at the rear to deliver the optimum balance of power and economy. You could leave the S90 T8 in this mode and never feel the need to select one of the other options.

Pure uses the electric motor for zero-emission driving, operating at speeds of up to 78mph and delivering a range of around 28 miles. Power mode combines the petrol engine and electric motor to offer the best performance, making it suited to overtaking manoeuvres and eager acceleration. Finally, AWD switches to permanent all-wheel drive to improve traction at low speeds, on slippery surfaces, or when towing.

Handling

This is a car for making relaxed and surefooted progress – keen drivers should opt for the BMW 530e. The R-Design model, with its sporty tone and lowered suspension, promises much but ultimately can’t deliver. This is a car for wafting, not throwing into corners.

There’s a fair amount of body lean in bends, while the regenerative braking – for all its usefulness – results in a decidedly spongy feel through the brake pedal. Our advice would be to leave the car in Hybrid mode and stay well within the S90’s comfort zone.