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Volvo previews frugal XC90 plug-in tech

Fizzy and frugal: Volvo's hybrid powertrain uses a supercharger, a turbocharger, a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor to produce surprising performance.

Plug-in hybrid Volvo XC90 SUV produces 299kW and class-leading emissions


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9 Jul 2014

VOLVO's forthcoming XC90 range will be powered by forced-induction four-cylinder engines only, including a flagship T8 plug-in hybrid variant, which pumps out a beefy 299kW/640Nm but emits just 60g of CO2 per km.

The range-topping XC90 will not have a turbocharged eight-cylinder as its T8 badge suggests, but instead combines a four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor on separate axles in what Volvo calls Twin Engine technology.

At the front-end its “Drive-E” turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-litre engine sends 239kW of power to the front wheels, while a 60kW electric motor powers the rear wheels.

With petrol and electric motors working together the XC90 T8 produces 299kW and 640Nm, but when required the large SUV can travel up to 40km using only electric propulsion.

The hybrid technology allows the big SUV to keep CO2 emissions to what Volvo claims is an unrivaled 60g/km, while still returning a rewarding drive experience.

The Swedish car-maker also says that careful consideration of hybrid battery positioning has not compromised interior space, for which the previous XC90 model was praised.

Four other Drive-E engine options will be available, with two diesels and two petrols completing the XC90 range.

T6 variants get the same engine as the T8 minus the electric motor, producing 239kW and 400Nm of torque, while the T5 is powered by a single turbo 189kW/350Nm version.

The top-performing D5 diesel uses two turbos to pump out 168kW/470Nm and uses approximately six litres of fuel per 100km, while the entry level D4 single-turbo engine manages 142kW and 400Nm, and drinks about a litre less per 100km than the D5.

Volvo has not provided exact fuel consumption figures at this stage, while performance data and exact Australian engine allocation is also yet to be announced.

For comparison, Porsche's Cayenne S Hybrid produces 279kW/580Nm and the RX450h from Lexus develops 220kW while emitting 150g of CO2 per km.

Nissan is due to launch a hybrid version of its Pathfinder and the XC90 will have to watch over its shoulder if BMW goes ahead with production of its plug-in hybrid X5 which uses just 3.8 litres of fuel per 100km.

Volvo is still yet to release exterior images of its largest SUV, but the new XC90 – which replaces the 11-year old first-generation version – will debut at the Paris motor show in October.

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