Producing 394bhp and 650Nm of torque, the range-topping ‘Twin Engine’ model has fuel economy and CO2 emissions of around 110mpg and 60g/km – that’s some way behind the 148mpg, 44g/km Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV but then the Volvo has a 190bhp power advantage.
Turning the front wheels is a 2.0-litre petrol engine from Volvo’s new four-cylinder Drive-E engine family, but to give the feel of a much larger-capacity engine a supercharger boosts low-end response, while the turbo takes over as the revs build up. Spinning the rear axle for four-wheel drive is a 79bhp electric motor, fed by a battery pack that runs along the spine of the car.
Badged ‘T8’, the plug-in XC90 can be switched between no less than five different driving modes – Off Road, AWD, Pure, Hybrid and Power – selectable via the Tesla Model S-style portrait-orientated central touchscreen. Select Pure and an electric only range of 25 miles is possible before the engine kicks in to help propel the car and charge the batteries.
The only other engine choices are a pair of 2.0-litre four-cylinder Drive-E diesels, including the 223bhp, 470Nm D5 and the 187bhp, 400Nm D4 returning around 47mpg and 56mpg respectively. An Eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive will come as standard.
“There are no compromises when you drive an all-new XC90,” said Peter Mertens, Volvo’s Senior Vice President of R&D. “In the past you could either have power or low CO2 emissions. But with the all-new XC90 you can have both.”
The all-new XC90 is the first model to be based on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and will make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show in early October before going on sale in early 2015. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but expected to be in line with rivals like the BMW X5 – suggesting a starting price of around £40,000.
Is Volvo's XC90 about to set a new four-cylinder trend in the premium SUV segment or do cars of this kind really need six or eight cylinder engines to cut the mustard? Tell us what you think in the comments section below...