Volvo confirms 2015 XC90 “T8” plug-in hybrid with 400hp turbo-four

Volvo is preparing to unleash one of its most crucial and highly-anticipated models: the 2015 XC90 crossover, especially since the current and first generation model has been with us for over 10 years. Despite its age, it remains to be a top and popular choice among the crossover SUV crowd. But the new second generation model promises to be a complete game changer, sporting a plug-in hybrid setup with an insanely potent 400hp turbocharged four-banger for its range-topping “T8” XC90.

In a new press statement by the Swedish automaker, the new 2015 Volvo XC90 T8 promises to be the cleanest and most powerful SUV in its segment, featuring the turbo-four powering the wheels at the front and a 60kW electric motor at the back. The result is an emissions rating of just 60g/km of CO2, according to European specifications.

All Volvo XC90 models are said to be powered solely by four-cylinder engines. The range-topper is described to use both turbocharging and supercharging, with the crankshaft-induction aiding low-end power for low-speeds while the exhaust-induction exists for overtaking power and higher engine speeds. Drivers can also select an EV mode, given that the batteries are fully charged, whether by the gas motor or by one’s own power outlet at home. The dual-induction setup is also very similar to Volkswagen’s own setup.

The new XC90 will be built on the automaker’s all-new Scaleable Product Architecture with all engines being developed and produced in-house.

Check out the press release after the jump.

Volvo Cars’ all-new XC90 will be the world’s most powerful and cleanest SUV

• All-wheel drive, seven seats, around 400 hp and 472 lb.-ft. of torque with ultra-low emissions of around 60g/km

• Delivering guilt-free luxury SUV ownership

• New Volvo-developed Plug-in Hybrid, Twin Engine technology

Volvo Cars’ all-new XC90 will offer an unrivaled combination of power and clean operation when it is launched later this year. The all-wheel drive seven-seater will deliver guilt-free luxury SUV ownership, offering drivers around 400 horsepower but with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of around 60 g/km (NEDC driving cycle). There has never been an SUV offering this level of power this cleanly.

“There are no compromises when you drive an all-new XC90,” said Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. “In the past you could either have power or low CO2 emissions. But with the all-new XC90 you can have both.”

The new XC90 offers a range of Drive-E engine options, all of which provide an outstanding combination of performance and fuel-efficiency. The main distinguishing feature of the Drive-E engine range is that they are all four-cylinder engines.

“With our new Drive-E powertrains, we have created a family of intelligent gasoline engines with power curves that give exciting drivability at the same time as delivering world-beating fuel economy,” added Dr. Mertens. “With seven people in the new XC90, carbon dioxide emissions per person are outstandingly low.”

The CO2 performance of the all-new XC90 will reinforce Volvo Cars’ leadership when it comes to bringing more environmentally-sound technologies to market. According to figures monitored by European car industry association ACEA, Volvo Car Group delivered an industry-leading reduction of average fleet emissions by 8.4 percent from 2012 to 2013.

Plug-in Hybrid – Twin Engine technology

Volvo has made it possible for a four-cylinder engine to provide all the driving pleasure associated with a much larger engine and do so far more efficiently and cleanly. Drive-E engines will, over time, be introduced across Volvo’s entire range and are already available on model year 2015 carlines.

For the all-new XC90, the top of the range plug-in hybrid ‘Twin Engine’ will carry the badge ‘T8’ and be a plug-in electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car rolled into one.

Normal driving is conducted in the default hybrid mode. This utilizes a two-liter; four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E gasoline engine that powers the front wheels and an 80 hp (60 kW) electric motor that drives the rear wheels.

It uses the supercharger to fill in the bottom end of the power range to give the engine a big, naturally-aspirated feel, while the turbocharger kicks in when the airflow builds up. The electric motor on the rear wheels provides immediate torque.

But at the push of a button the driver can switch to quiet and emission-free city driving on pure electric power where the range will be around 25 miles, and then, when needed, immediately revert back to the combined capacity of the gasoline engine and electric motor, with its combined output of around 400 hp and 472 lb.-ft. of torque.

Engine options

The Volvo XC90 range also includes a T6 gasoline engine option. The T6 turbo engine with supercharger and turbo will deliver 316 hp and a maximum torque of 295 lb.-ft. The T6 is expected to offer a best-in-class combination of power and fuel economy, even when compared to diesel models.

Not only is there no compromise in terms of performance or efficiency, but Volvo Cars’ new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) chassis technology also allows for far more flexibility inside the car. Other carmakers have struggled to combine the bulk of a battery pack with a luxurious and spacious interior, something that Volvo has managed to overcome.

“Since our new SPA technology is designed from the start to accommodate electrification technologies, the Twin Engine installation does not compromise luggage or passenger space,” said Dr. Mertens.

Chris Chin

Chris Chin is the Editor-In-Chief of egmCarTech and is a regular contributor to Automobile Magazine.

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