Volvo gives XC90 a shock to the system

BY CHARL BOSCH - MAY 20, 2016

The most recent recipient of the South Africa Car of the Year Award, Volvo South Africa has added a new model to the its smash-hit XC90 line-up, in the form of the flagship T8 plug-in hybrid.

Based on the previous range-topping petrol powered T6, the T8 marks the Chinese-owned Swedish manufacturer’s first foray into hybrid technology, and sees it joining Nissan, Toyota and BMW as the only automakers to sell hybrid or fully-electric vehicles in South Africa currently.

While remaining mostly unchanged externally apart from the chromed “T8” and “Twin Engine” badges on the tailgate as well as the charging point flap on the left front fender, the newcomer‘s talents lies underneath its skin.

Continuing to be based on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, the T8 combines the T6’s 235 kW 2.0-litre Drive-E turbo-and-supercharged engine, with a rear axle mounted 65 kW 9.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, for a total output of 300 kW and a mammoth 640 N.m of torque.

Able to travel 43 km on the battery alone, Volvo claims the T8 will only consume unleaded at a rate of 2.1 L/100 km with emissions being just 49 g/km. Unlike conventional hybrids however, drive, only to the front wheels, continues to go through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Utilising brake-by-wire technology to recoup energy lost when braking, the T8’s driving characteristics can be altered by using the standard Drive Mode selector to choose from three modes; Pure, Hybrid and Power.

Using only the aforementioned elector motor, which Volvo refers to as Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD), Pure allows the T8 to travel in full-electric mode at up to 125 km/h with the petrol engine only cutting in for a moment when more power is needed.

Acting as the default mode, Hybrid allows it to run in electric mode at slow speeds with the Drive-E coming in when accelerating. In Power, both engines are combined to take the T8 from 0-100 km/h in 5.8 secs and on to a top speed of 230 km/h.

In addition, the T8 also offers two supplementary drivers when venturing off the beaten track. In all-wheel drive, both the petrol engine and elector motors work in tandem, while Off-Road acts an extension by activating the standard Hill Decent Control and electronic limited-slip diff at up to 40 km/h.

Like the standard XC90, the T8 can be have in three trim levels with a five year / 100 000 km warranty and service plan standard across the range.

 

PRICES

MODEL POWER PRICE
T8 Momentum AWD 300 kW / 640 N.m R1 053 400
T8 Inscription AWD 300 kW / 640 N.m R1 092 100
T8 R-Design AWD 300 kW / 640 N.m R1 117 700