Volvo V60 T8 Twin Engine review
|Car type||Electric range||MPG||CO2|
|Plug-in hybrid||30 miles||135mpg||48g/km|
The Volvo V60 T8 Twin Engine is the latest addition to Volvo's rapidly expanding plug-in hybrid (PHEV) line-up. We've already got the Volvo XC60 T8 and Volvo XC90 T8 SUVs, as well as the Volvo S90 T8 saloon and Volvo V90 T8 estate, and the S60 T8 saloon sister to this V60 estate is on the way, too.
The V60 T8 has the potential to be one of the biggest-selling of the lot. As a fairly large and relatively expensive plug-in hybrid, one of its key target markets will be the company-car sector, where rivals like the Kia Optima PHEV, Ford Mondeo Hybrid, new Volkswagen Passat GTE, new BMW 3 Series hybrid and Mercedes C-Class hybrid are all poised to battle for customers.
Sporting the regular V60's sophisticated styling, along with a near-400bhp four-wheel-drive petrol-electric drivetrain and the latest in-car technology, the T8 plug-in hybrid version is a very appealing prospect on paper. Yes, it's going to be quite expensive, with an estimated list price of around £50,000 when it arrives this spring, but ultra-low company-car running costs courtesy of low CO2 emissions should mean it makes financial sense for many.
A cheaper and less powerful T6 Twin Engine will join the range in due course, as well as a racy 'Polestar Engineered' version from Volvo's performance arm. For now, though, we've only driven the mid-range T8. It pairs a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine making 299bhp, with an 86bhp electric motor taking total output to 385bhp. The petrol engine drives the front wheels while the electric motor works on the rears. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard.
The V60 T8's battery has a capacity of 10.4kWh, and the customary set of driving modes is offered, letting you choose between using solely battery power, conserving the battery and prioritising the engine, or combining the two in either the most efficient or most powerful way. The latter will see the car accelerate from 0-62mph in a tenth less than five seconds, while gentler driving will see you cover up to 30 miles in zero-emissions, fully electric mode.
Making full use of that electric mode will get you close to the claimed 135mpg fuel-economy figure, but the more you use the petrol engine, the more it'll drop. However you drive the V60 T8, though, its confirmed CO2 emissions of 48g/km keep company-car costs to a minimum and ensure exemption from the London Congestion Charge zone until October 2021.
From behind the wheel, the V60 doesn't feel quite as fast as its on-paper figures suggest, and it's also not as involving as a BMW 3 Series, feeling a bit out of sorts when driven aggressively. Its strengths lie in other areas, though; like its bigger brother the V90, it's a supremely quiet and comfortable motorway cruiser.
Exact UK specifications and prices have yet to be confirmed, but the car we drove in Sweden was finished in R-Design trim, which is very likely to make it here. Standard equipment includes 18-inch diamond-cut alloys, part-leather sports seats, lowered suspension and gearshift paddles. There's even a crystal gearshifter, which may be a bit ostentatious for some tastes.
Whatever trim level you choose, you're unlikely to be disappointed with the V60 T8's interior, which boasts classy Scandinavian design throughout, along with typically comfortable Volvo seats. The T8's luggage capacity is the same as the regular V60's, too, thanks to the battery pack being located in the centre of the car rather than under the boot floor.
Overall, the V60 T8 is another impressive addition to Volvo's strong line-up of 'Twin Engine' plug-in hybrid models. The cheaper T6 version may well turn out to be a better-value proposition, and keen drivers will probably want to stick with their BMW 330e. But the T8 is likely to appeal strongly to many buyers nonetheless.