Swedish automaker Volvo kept true to its electrification plans earlier today by unveiling its next-generation S90 luxury sedan, complete with range-topping T8 plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
Like the Volvo XC90 full-size SUV, the Volvo S90 sedan will be available with a variety of different engine and drivetrain options, including two-wheel drive Volvo’s D4 and D5 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine packages and all-wheel drive T6 turbocharged, supercharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine. But of most interest to us is the range-topping Volvo S90 T8, which combines a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged gasoline engine up front with a 65 kilowatt electric motor driving the rear wheels.
Combined with a smaller combined starter generator motor connected to the gearbox up front, this means the S90 can operate in all-electric mode for around 45 kilometers (27 miles) on the overly optimistic NEDC test cycle, or somewhere nearer to 20 miles per charge of its 9.2 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack for real-world use.
While Volvo hasn’t released full specifications for performance yet, we’d expect the S90 T8 plug-in hybrid to be particularly sprightly off the mark, out-accelerating the 5.8-second 0-62 mph time given for the all-wheel drive S90 T6. That’s because like the XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV, the S90 T8 will be the most powerful of the S90 family, boasting a total power output of 300 kilowatts and 472 pound feet of torque.
In terms of charging, Volvo says the S90 T8 plug-in hybrid can be charged from empty to full in around 2.5 hours from a compatible Level 2 charging station, although we note that the on-board charging system is limited to 3.3 kilowatts.
Due to get its official unveiling in just over a month’s time at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the next-generation of Volvo’s full-size sedan isn’t just another plug-in hybrid for the Volvo stable. It’s also the most advanced car Volvo has ever made, adopting much of the safety technology debuted in the Volvo XC90 full-size SUV and adding its own high-end features to the mix.
Most noticeable among them is Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous drive package developed by Volvo for use in both stop and go traffic as well as higher-speed roads with proper land markings. Similar in some ways to Tesla’s autopilot assistance package, Pilot Assist brings together existing passive and active safety technologies to offer Volvo owners steering assistance at speeds of up to 130 kilometers per hour (83 mph).
While the system will make it possible for the S90 to follow road markings and keep a safe distance from the car ahead while obeying traffic regulations, Volvo hints that drivers will still be required to keep their hands on the wheel in order for the system to operate.
“It is also important to emphasize that semi-autonomous systems are restricted in how much acceleration, braking and steering force they can apply. The driver is always legally responsible for driving the vehicle (driver in the loop: hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, mind on driving),” Volvo notes in its press briefing pack for the Pilot Assist package.
In addition to improvements in its city driving package to mitigate cross-traffic collision at intersections as well as those with pedestrian and cyclists, the S90 also includes a first for the brand: large animal detection.
While that’s not going to be an issue in most cities where the S90 will be sold, the technology has been developed to help avoid collisions with wild animals like Moose or Deer — a type of collision which is all-too-frequent in parts of Europe and North America.
We’ll get to see more of the Volvo S90 at the Detroit Auto Show, but in the meantime we’re keen to hear what you think about Volvo’s latest plug in. Is its range too small for everyday use? Or does its plethora of tech features mean it’s worth looking at?
Or perhaps you’re still planning on skipping the Swedish brand and going fully electric and autonomous with the Tesla Model S?
Whatever your thoughts, leave them in the Comments below.
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