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The Volvo S60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid is a Swede compact executive sedan that blends improved fuel consumption with a stellar on-road performance.

20 Aug 2020


Based on Volvo's Scalable Product Architecture platform, the Volvo S60 goes head on with strong peers like the Audi A4, the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. But where this S60 differs is under the hood.

Volvo's very own compact executive sedan that you see here on this page is equipped with a T8 engine and is the second plug-in hybrid model after the XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid SUV.

So while Volvo has been known for being safe and sound, it has now found a sweet spot by combining Swede luxury, daily driveability, stellar on-road performance and, yes, fuel efficiency.

Hold up. Another plug-in hybrid?

The badge that tells you this is a plug-in hybrid variant
It's obviously not a bad thing at all, we reckon. The only thing about this S60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) is that during my time with it, I managed only 12.5km/L despite being light-footed. This figure is absurdly far from the stated 50km/L.

In fact, its fuel consumption isn't even any better than the Audi A4 Sedan that we recently tested.

Then again, to be fair, the poor fuel consumption could also be due to the fact that I was constantly in hybrid mode (there are four different driving modes) and was depending on the engine to charge up the lithium-ion battery (since I didn't plug the car in to charge). This meant that I had very little time to drive the car in pure electric mode.

It's a tiny dancer, though

The 2.0-litre T8 Twin Engine has a combined output of 402bhp and 640Nm of torque
Better than its fuel efficiency, though, is the way the car performs on the road. There's plenty of goodness from the word go, thanks to its ample torque on tap - all 640Nm of it - that goes well with the precise steering and taut body control.

Every twist and turn is met with confidence-inspiring behaviour. This could be largely due to the location of the battery pack. It is situated along the transmission tunnel between the front and rear seats, which gives the car a better driving composure. There's nevertheless a slight sense of vagueness, something that the more dynamic BMW 330e doesn't possess, but it's never to a point of causing you to second guess when at the helm.

Boot space is 392 litres - similar to the regular S60
And should you find yourself driving on the long, empty straights, pedal to the metal and the 2.0-litre T8 Twin Engine will send out a combined output of 402bhp to all four wheels to allow the S60 PHEV to smash the century sprint in just 4.4 seconds. That's two full seconds faster than the Volkswagen Golf GTI hot hatch and a couple of milliseconds slower than the Mercedes-AMG C63 S.

Add all these fine characteristics up and it's hard to deny that Volvo's compact executive sedan is one performance-oriented car.

Being unpretentious is its best trait

The S60's cabin is one elegant and classy place
Still, it's not all peaches and roses. Where the car compromises, unfortunately, is the boot space. The eco-friendly S60 has 392 litres of boot space (similar to the regular S60), which falls behind some of its peers, while the rear is best left for two instead of three passengers.

Thankfully, whatever shortcomings this car has is easily being made up with its accomplished cabin. A strong word like 'accomplished' is being used simply because you're getting an interior that's not only well-appointed but comfortable and cosy, too.

The 9.0-inch tablet-style infotainment system that takes centre stage, for instance, is a work of art. It mimics the user-friendliness of a regular smartphone without any lag and confusion.

Infotainment touchscreen is a breath of fresh air
Then, there's the huge 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that makes driving information more legible on the go, a panoramic sunroof that lightens the ambience of the cabin, and the nicely contoured benches up front that manage to embrace you firmly while being cossetting.

As a result, you do get the sense that the S60 Recharge PHEV manages to be on par with its German peers without coming across as pretentious or depriving occupants of anything.

What the Volvo doesn't deprive, too, is good looks. Thanks to its long, sleek bonnet, aesthetically appealing headlamps, gloss black accents at the right places and biggish 19-inch wheels, the test car doesn't look lacking when parked beside an Audi or a BMW.

Gentleman's weapon of choice

Buyers can choose to plug in or not to juice up the car - the former will take about three hours via a wall charger
At $265,000 (as of 14 August 2020), it's hard to justify why a car like the S60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid is worth getting. It commands a premium of close to $20k over the BMW 330e and is $70k more expensive than the regular S60 T5 R-Design. Plus, the S60 T5 R-Design gets all the similar niceties in the cabin.

Yes, you don't get as much power and you don't get to enjoy crazy 4.4-second century sprints, but these aren't exactly priorities when it comes to a compact executive sedan.

That said, on that priority note, the S60 PHEV will do well for buyers who have the intention of getting a full electric car but aren't ready to commit to everyday charging. Thus, a plug-in hybrid vehicle would make absolute sense for them. They can still charge as and when they want to, yet do not need to have any range anxiety if they are unable to plug in. After all, the engine will do the charging work for them.

Whatever the case, there's just no doubting one thing - the S60 PHEV has certainly done well by combining Swede luxury, daily driveability, stellar on-road performance and, yes, fuel efficiency.

Need a better look at that excellent cabin, or exaclty how much boot space is on offer on this Volvo S60? Watch out video review here!



Car Information

This model is no longer being sold by local distributors

Price

: -

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Supercharged Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1969cc

Horsepower

:

300kW (402 bhp) / 65 rpm

Torque

:

640 Nm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

4.4sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

50 km/L

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