What is it?
A diesel-electric plug-in hybrid. The first diesel-electric plug-in hybrid to go on sale, in fact. The Volvo V60 D6 is the product of four years of hard work for the team at Volvo behind it, and it would be a miserly observer who didn’t heap credit on the manufacturer for being first past the post with the technology.
Particularly as the format – mingling a diesel engine’s natural touring economy with an electric motor’s zero-emission function – is an appealing fit for Europe’s low CO2 emission, high mileage appetite.
But Volvo has set its sights higher than producing a welly-wearing eco-special. The new model is a high-priced range-topper that pairs its rear axle-mounted 69bhp electric motor with the butch 212bhp 2.4-litre five-cylinder diesel engine already established in the range.
The intention is to offer a car without compromise – or as Volvo likes to describe it: three cars in one. The D6’s 11.2kWh lithium-ion battery means it is capable of a 32-mile all-electric range, making it a zero-emission city runaround (and shaving £5000 from the list price courtesy of the familiar government grant).
Out of town the V60 becomes a full diesel-electric hybrid which, according to unofficial figures, is capable of 149mpg and average emissions as low as 49g/km CO2. Finally, when the mood takes you, it can summon up 471lb ft of multi-sourced torque, and mutate into an all-wheel drive sports estate capable of 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds.