The T8 is the third drivetrain to be offered in the XC90 range after the D5 diesel and the T6 petrol. The ‘Twin engine’ T8 combines that 316bhp T6 engine with an 80bhp electric motor to give a combined output of almost 400bhp and a 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds – although the most interesting figure may well be the 49g/km CO2 emissions, which bring some very attractive financial benefits, including exemption from the London congestion charge.
Like the rest of the XC90 range, the T8 has four-wheel drive – but the drive is split between the two sources: the petrol engine drives the front wheels, while the electric motor drives the rear wheels. As a result, in everyday motoring, the car can run in any configuration – front-, rear- or four-wheel drive – with the system choosing the most appropriate setting depending on the on the drive mode selected and the conditions at the time.
Like the big-selling Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the T8 is a plug-in hybrid, and it has a range of just under 30 miles on electric power, with a full charge from empty taking as little as two-and-a-half hours from a fast-charger, or six hours from a domestic three-pin socket.
Like the rest of the range, the T8 is available with three trim levels – Momentum, Inscription and R-Design – with prices starting at £60,455, some £14,000 more than the equivalent D5 diesel-engined model. This entry-level model will be the only one to qualify for the government’s £2500 Plug-in car grant once the new rules
are introduced in March, but our first experience came in the range-topping Inscription model, which costs £64,150.