If you appreciate the sheer genius of the engineering that goes into today’s top-end cars, I recommend seeking out this extraordinary Volvo exhibit at the Geneva show.
This is the drivetrain of the range-topping XC90, and it is made up of a feast of the most expensive technology available for series production. At the front there is Volvo’s new four-pot 2.0-litre petrol engine, which is fitted with both a supercharger and a turbocharger.
This powerhouse is linked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission, but sandwiched between them is an electric motor/generator. At the rear, the back axle is powered by a second electric motor.
Inside the XC90’s centre tunnel is a 9.2kWh battery pack. This is painted orange, as are the various electronic hybrid control systems and the electric cables. On top of that expensive and complex kit, the XC90 also has properly sophisticated double wishbone front and independent rear suspension set-up.
I can’t imagine the cost of building the XC90 T8. Aside from the huge research and development bill, the factory cost of building this extraordinary machine must be formidable.
And as much as I admire it, I can’t help wondering whether the car industry – led by California’s highly influential market tastes and regulations – has been sent up a blind alley.