Confirmed: Volvo’s High-End 2015 XC90 T8 Crossover SUV Is a Performance Plug-in Hybrid

True to its promise, Volvo’s all-new next-generation XC90 crossover SUV will come with a high performance plug-in hybrid option. Better still, the Volvo XC90 Twin Engine T8 plug-in hybrid will be the XC90’s top of the range model, packing high performance and plug-in practicality into one vehicle.

It will also be the world’s first mid-size, luxury, seven-seat plug-in hybrid to go on sale.

Volvo hasn't released the XC90 T8 full images yet, but we do know it will plug -in.

Volvo hasn’t released the XC90 T8 full images yet, but we do know it will plug -in.

Confirmed this morning by the Swedish automaker, the Volvo XC90 T8, like the rest of the XC90 family, is built around Volvo’s all new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) chassis technology. This, Volvo says, allows for a far more flexible vehicle design than was previously possible with its old chassis designs, paving the way for multiple different drivetrain setups without losing interior space.

While other variants of the XC90 will be available to buy, including non plug-in diesel and gasoline-engined variants, Volvo says its top of the range XC90 T8 will combine high-end performance with plug-in practicality and the kind of emissions (60 grams of CO2 per km) never before seen in such a powerful SUV.

Up front, there’s a two-litre, four-cylinder supercharged, turbocharged Drive-E gasoline engine driving an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Designed from the ground up to complement Volvo’s new SPA chassis technology, the Drive-E engines are far lighter than previous generation Volvo engines and have been built with plug-in hybrid technology in mind.

While the gasoline engine drives the front wheels, a 60 kilowatt rear-mounted AC motor drives the rear wheels in a setup similar to that found in Volvo’s European-market V60 plug-in hybrid. Capable of offering all-wheel drive capability without needing a heavy, cumbersome prop shaft or transfer box, the through-the-road hybrid setup offers the best of both worlds.

The Volvo SPA and Drive-E Engine make the performance XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid possible.

The Volvo SPA and Drive-E Engine make the performance XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid possible.

Combined, the gasoline engine and electric motor — something Volvo likes to call the ‘twin engine’ setup — will produce a total power output of 400 horsepower and 640 Newton-meters of torque. While there are no official fuel economy ratings for combined mode, Volvo said the all-electric range of the XC90 T8 will be ‘around 40 kilometres’ (25 miles). Assuming the battery pack and drivetrain are similar to those found in the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid, we’d guess a real-world range of 20 miles is more likely.

Due to go on sale towards the end of this year, the high-end XC90 T8 will also feature a Tesla-inspired full-size centre console touchscreen complete with Android Auto and Apple iOS CarPlay connectivity. While Volvo hasn’t yet detailed the full specifications of this new crossover SUV, we’re guessing it will be in line with other Volvo models, and have an understandably high sticker price to boot.

In keeping with other Volvo models, you can also expect the XC90 T8 to be fully prepared for towing, making it the ideal all-round vehicle for those who only need to commute short distances during the week but need something more powerful to engage in weekend recreational activities off the beaten track.

Volvo's XC90 will be the first plug-in hybrid to go on sale with 7 seats.

Volvo’s XC90 will be the first plug-in hybrid to go on sale with 7 seats.

What do you think of the specifications of the XC90 T8?  Would you like to own one, or do you think its all-electric range is just too small? Or perhaps you think Tesla’s all-electric Model X SUV will be a far more logical choice?

Sadly we haven’t been given any full-size images of the car yet, only closeup teasers — but leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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