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The Volvo XC60 T8 delivers power aplenty while keeping you and the world your children will inherit protected.

21 Feb 2020


As if the Australian bushfires and a certain scrawling girl hasn't already clued you in: The world is warming up, and the blame has increasingly fallen onto the hands of our beloved cars.

Volvo, like every other manufacturer, has thus had to roll out a suite of electrified vehicles to placate this new society of eco-conscious millennials, and the XC60 T8 you see here has been charged with leading Volvo's electric offensive in Singapore.

What is it?

Twincharged 2.0-litre four cylinder and an electric motor deliver 402bhp in the XC60
It honestly would be easier to describe what it isn't. But since we are already discussing what is currently trending, it is curious that the spec sheet for the XC60 T8 reads as if it had been developed specifically to tick buzzwords such as 'turbocharged', 'supercharged' and 'SUV', that are currently circulating about the motoring world.

It is - if you would believe - a mid-sized SUV, with a 315bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder that is both supercharged and turbocharged.

But, of course, this Frankenstein-like mish-mash of parts gets an additional lick of life from an 87bhp electric motor as well as an 11.6kWh battery, making it both a plug-in hybrid and an e-all-wheel drive vehicle.

Monstrous strength

A zero to 100km/h sprint time of 5.3 seconds means this is the only view most will get of the T8
And as you would expect, throwing together so many components into one car delivers a driving experience that is best described as incongruous.

For a start, the XC60 T8 delivers acceleration that is unbecoming of such a generously proportioned SUV. With a combined system output of 402bhp and 640Nm of torque, hilarity is guaranteed with every full-bored launch of this car, but don't expect the deep rumble you get other multi-cylinder high-swept volume units.

Instead, the cabin is filled with a faint whine from the combined efforts of the supercharger and turbocharger, the tone of which is more suggestive of an angry vacuum cleaner.

Harman Kardon speaker system is backed by a subwoofer for good audio depth and warmth
All that instanteous 240Nm of torque from the electric motor means the car charges ahead eagerly as well. The four days I had the car were spent with Chopin and Debussy on the excellent Harman Kardon speaker system, and then taking on unsuspecting traffic (or indeed, surprising pedestrians) with sudden bursts of acceleration.

The XC60 may be an understated, classy thing, but underneath the calm exterior of this T8 lies the will of a psychotic murderer, and I was only too happy to play the character.

Gentle giant

The 11.6kWh battery charges at an observed rate of 3.4kW, giving you 10km of electric range per hour of charging
But here's another thing about this car that doesn't quite add up: It's mighty economical as well. Calm things down a notch and the XC60 T8's plug-in hybrid components are reasonably capable.

A 30km electric-only range may seem laughable, but the car can achieve truly astounding economy when drawing from its hybrid mode. Even with the battery at dead flat, sensible driving will still yield a fuel economy of 7.3km/L - not too bad considering the car weighs over 2.1 tonnes.

On the go, the XC60 T8 sets itself apart from its German rivals by opting instead for a suspension setup that delivers a comfortable ride, and for the most part, the car does a good job over bumps big and small, only letting the sharpest road edges rock the quiet insulation of the cabin. But show the car a quick sweeping bend and you will be quickly penalised with an unnerving degree of body roll. But bear in mind that this is a car that makes no pretensions to sporty driving, thus, its lack of dynamic ability becomes entirely forgivable.

9.3-inch Sensus Connect infotainment screen allows you to pick and choose from Volvo's vast suite of safety systems
What the XC60 T8 doesn't lack of is its intelligent features. You get the typical Adaptive Cruise Control with Pilot Assist, as well as a Graphical Head Up Display (exclusive to the T8) that warns you of common speed trap and pedestrian crossing locations, adding to the ease of driving the thing at speed.

And of course, the car comes with Volvo's full suite of safety systems, so much so that they demand their own dedicated menu on the 9.3-inch Sensus Connect infotainment system, which requires some familiarity with its sub-menus, but did not display any lag at startup.

The upshot of all those safety systems is this: Volvo is still sticking to its Safety Vision goal to have no one killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo as of 2020, so you can rest assured you will remain safe in this XC60 as well.

Outcast beast

Full Scottish Cowhide leather upholstery makes the seats a pleasure to sit in
The XC60 T8 certainly is a technological tour de force, but just like the Frankenstein monster, I'm afraid Volvo's experiments may find local fans hard to come by.

At $290,000 (as of 20 February 2020) its only chance is to cater to the well-off, but with a 3.4kW observed charging rate yielding only 10km of electric range per hour of charging, I seriously doubt the upper echelons of society will be convinced to babysit that battery in order to extract the maximum out of its fuel saving nature.

Those looking for a well-built cabin can still opt for the T6, and if you must have the latest vertical in-car tablet, Volvo already has a new system in the works that was developed in collaboration with Google. And if saving the earth is your end goal, I highly doubt you would be shopping for a 402bhp beast to begin with.

Want to see more of the scandinavian-inspired cabin? Check out our video review of the XC60 T8 as well!

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Car Information

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Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid T8 R-Design (A)
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Price

: $265,000

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Supercharged Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1969cc

Horsepower

:

300kW (402 bhp)

Torque

:

640 Nm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

5.3sec

Top Speed

:

230km/h

Fuel consumption

:

45.5 km/L

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