In-depth reviews

Volvo S90 Recharge T8 hybrid engines, drive & performance

The Volvo S90 Recharge T8 delivers an impressive amount of power, but its size and weight blunt performance

Volvo S90 Recharge T8 hybrid
Rating
Engines, drive & performance Rating
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
4.8s155mphFour385bhp

The T8 hybrid powertrain seems to suit the Volvo S90’s relaxed and composed feel. The ability to drive in electric mode at up to 78mph is impressive and means that you could complete your daily commute using no petrol at all. We think the S90 is best left in hybrid mode, deciding itself when is best to use the engine and/or electric motor for maximum efficiency.

Volvo S90 Recharge T8 hybrid engine, 0-62mph and acceleration

Weighing in at 2,000kg, the Recharge T8 is by far the heaviest model in the S90 range, but it’s not lacking performance. That’s because it also offers the most power, with the turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine combining with the electric motor to deliver a total output of 385bhp.

That means the S90 will sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds, before going on to reach a top speed of 155mph. While it’s brisk, the sheer size and weight of the car, along with the comfort-biased steering and chassis setup, mean it's more suited to cruising than enthusiastic driving.

There’s an overriding sense that the S90 would prefer to take it easy, with the engine sounding rather coarse under load. 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 Recharge 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 up to 35 miles. Power mode combines the petrol engine and electric motor to offer the best performance, making it suited to overtaking manoeuvres and eager acceleration. AWD switches to permanent all-wheel drive to improve traction on slippery surfaces, or when towing.

Handling

This is a car for making relaxed and surefooted progress in – keen drivers should opt for the BMW 530e. The R-Design Plus model, with its sporty looks 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.

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