Volvo XC90 gets plug-in hybrid technology

Volvo XC90

Order books for the all-new Volvo XC90 are now open, and to coincide with its launch, the Swedish brand has unveiled a new plug-in hybrid version, called Twin Engine, that promises the performance of a large petrol engine, but with the emissions of a eco-biased hybrid.

Called the XC90 T8, the new seven-seater is fitted with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. The combustion engine is both turbocharged and supercharged to produce a total of 314bhp, though when mated to a separate on-board electric motor, that output rises to a heady 400bhp – enough Volvo claims to get this full-size SUV from 0-62mph in just 5.9 seconds.

Despite this, its ability to cover up to 25 miles on battery power alone, means that the XC90 has an official C02 emissions rating of 59g/km, which is not only enough to make it exempt from vehicle tax and the London congestion charge, but makes it one of cleanest cars in terms of C02 exhaust emissions currently available, too.

"The XC90 T8 is a plug-in electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car rolled into one," says Dr Peter Mertens, senior vice president for research and development at Volvo. "The Drive-E engines already offer highly competitive performance versus the competition. The T8 takes it further into a leading position."

Drivers will be able to choose from a variety of different driving modes from behind the wheel. The default mode, Hybrid, sees the XC90 draw power from both the petrol and electric motors in the most fuel-efficient way.

Switching to Pure Electric mode switches off the petrol engine, with the electric motor sending drive to the rear axle, for up to 25 miles – enough for most people's daily commutes, claims Volvo. When the battery is depleted, the petrol motor automatically starts to provide additional power.

Power mode is best for when maximum performance is required. It uses the electric motor and petrol engine in tandem to provide the greatest possible thrust, with outright fuel economy given lesser consideration.

All-wheel-drive mode and a 'Save' mode, in which drivers can reserve battery supply for later use, are also available.

The new Volvo XC90 is available to order now, priced from £45,785. Twin Engine models start from £59,955.