Volvo are having a massive resurgence of late; the XC60 is a gorgeous machine and a worthy successor to the original. When we attended the launch the fabled T8 Twin Engine hybrid was on the cards for later in the year, well we finally got our hands on one to see what it’s like.
Now you can only opt for the T8 when you spec R-Design trim and up, so the entry fee to the twin engine club is £53,870. Our test model was in top level Inscription Pro which starts at £59,770. Add a few choice options like all-round cameras, the intellisafe pro package and the Sensus Connect with Bowers and Wilkins stereo the price all in came to a heady £68,720.
Now we’ve already agreed the XC60 is a sharp looker, the only thing that denotes Inscription Pro from base spec Momentum is a smattering of chrome and brushed aluminium along with large 20” wheels (although the ones seen here are optional).
It would be nice if there were a total dechrome option, black trim would make it look incredibly stealthy. Hopefully, it’s something Volvo will add in the future.
Currently, the only styling option is a pack that adds a skid plate front and rear along with different exhaust exits.
Where the T8 comes into its own is driving on pure volts. We were able to drive around 25 miles before running out of battery power, which meant we saved a decent amount of petrol over the total journey distance.
You can set the battery to recharge from the engine, but by default that doesn’t happen…so from that, we gather it uses more fuel in doing so. It will, however, charge by regenerative braking, this takes a while to get to 100%, but over a short journey, you should be able to recoup at least a quarter charge.
Plugging in is just as easy in any electric car, open the charging flap on the front wing and connect to your power supply. We tried this while visiting family, and it took around six hours to fully charge on a 13 AMP socket.
Another party trick is putting the T8 in ‘Power’ mode. When there’s enough charge in the battery, it will combine both the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and the 87 hp from the electric motors. In total that gives you 390 hp to play with.
Off the line it also means you get instant acceleration as you would in an EV. You’re catapulted away on electric while the petrol engine picks up pace. That gives the XC60 a 0-62 time of 5.3 seconds, well into hot hatch territory.
You’ll also notice the ride height drops quite significantly to lower the XC60’s centre of gravity when in fire-breathing mode.
The two powertrains also give you all-wheel drive of sorts. We easily ambled through a wet grassy field without issue but weren’t able to take it seriously mud plugging during our time with the Volvo.
Ordinarily hybrid cars suffer from shrinking boot syndrome, where the luggage space is taken up by a whacking great battery pack. However, the XC60 places the 9.2 kWh lithium-ion batteries along the central tunnel of the car, where you’d typically find the linkage for traditional all-wheel drive.
Driving in ‘Pure’ mode will use battery propulsion alone, once it runs out the petrol engine will kick in. That happens pretty damn seamlessly no matter what mode you’re in, the only way you can notice the change in power plant is by the total hush you find yourself in.
Only once over around 600 miles did the auto ‘box drop the ball and a slight jerk was felt.
As part of the ‘Intellisafe Pro’ pack, you get Pilot Assist, which is a semi-autonomous mode that self-drives. You have to keep your hands on the wheel…it nags the hell out of you and then eventually switches off if you don’t. But to all intense and purposes, it actively reads the road ahead and drives for you.
Setting the adaptive cruise control will keep pace with the car in front, and even with the faintest of white lines it stays central and turns you through corners. It also brakes you down to a stop and will continue again with a slight prod of the accelerator.
While full autonomy is something I wouldn’t want; Pilot Assist is great for longer journeys on boring A roads or Motorways. It allows you to divert a slither of your attention now and then to the world around you, or to find that song you want to hear, all in some sort of computer-controlled relative safety.
Inside is your standard gorgeous Swedish design. Any of the four interiors are a no-cost option when you’re paying this sort of dollar. Ours was shod in the EC00 Blond/Charcoal combination which felt like a breath of fresh air compared to the normal dull greys and blacks you find on modern cars.
The two-tone steering wheel is a particular classy high point, as is the Orrefors gear lever. Orrefors make some of the most exclusive glassware in Norway, the whole gear lever is hand produced and totally see through.
Thanks to the adaptable suspension you can also lower the back end to gain access to the boot easier, you’ll find those buttons on the right-hand side of the boot.
Plug in hybrids with this sort of real-world range make total sense for urban living, and while our MPG was only 34.3 over our time with the car that’s a hell of a lot of motor to be shifting around. Especially when you have 320 horses of highly tuned petrol engine doing so. Volvo only gives a combined figure for MPG, and that stands at 122.8 MPG for the 20” wheel version. Hmmm.
If you want to commute to and from work every day without using any petrol the T8 XC60 is a superb tool. Most stints to the office tend to be within the 10-mile range, which is easily feasible with the twin engine, if you have chargers at work, you could even extend that slightly.