What is it?
If you’re looking for a large luxury estate equipped with a plug, your options are limited.
Mercedes has yet to apply the 350e powertrain to the E-Class Estate, it’s unlikely that BMW will offer a Touring version of its excellent 530e and the arrival of an Audi A6 Avant e-tron remains a distant, murky prospect.
This flagship wagon uses a similar mechanical set-up to the T8 XC90 SUV, which is to say a force-fed four-cylinder petrol engine – the marque no longer indulges in a greater cylinder count for any model – that drives the front axle while an electric motor does so for the rear.
Bridging the two power sources is a 10.4kWh battery pack (larger, surprisingly, than the 9.2kWh unit in the XC90) that can be brimmed in as little as two and a half hours. Volvo has usefully positioned the unit as though it were the car’s spine, meaning boot space isn’t sacrificed in order to give the car its hybrid status, as is typically the case.
Claimed electric range is 28 miles – just about par the PHEV course in 2017 and enough for a reasonably short commute. Charge up at work and the V90 T8 could be the cheapest 400bhp estate car you’ve ever run.
The numbers reflect that power output: 0-62mph is summarily dispatched in just 4.8sec, while top speed is 155mph – more or less an exact match for the V8-engined B7 Audi RS4, which not so long ago seemed outrageously quick for an estate.
What that car couldn’t claim, of course, was CO2 emissions of just 46g/km. That means you’ll pay no tax for the first year of V90 T8 ownership, while combined fuel economy is 141.2mpg.