First Drive

First Drive: Volvo S90 T8

Volvo S90 T8 Inscription Pro PHEV
The story: Volvo has added more plug-in hybrids to its range, with this being the S80 executive saloon capable of around 28 miles on battery alone, making for a 46g/km emissions figure.
Key rival:BMW 530e
On sale:Now

Like its V90 estate sibling, the new Volvo S90 saloon now has a plug-in hybrid version capable of doing around 28 miles between charges before reverting to the 320hp petrol engine.

That means a 46g/km emissions figure that brings a £2,500 Government ultra low-emission vehicle grant and a 9% BIK band, rising to 13% for the financial year starting next month. It also means a notional fuel economy figure of 141.2mpg, although as with all plug-in hybrids, that’s entirely dependent on how much time the car runs on battery. The figures could be infinite if it only ever does 25-mile runs between charges, but drive significant mileage on petrol and the numbers plunge to the point where running a plug-in is fairly pointless, even with the low BIK band.Volvo S90 T8 Hybrid - image 8

Nevertheless, in the right circumstances they’re an intelligent choice, even if this Volvo struggles because it’s expensive. A 116g/km D4 diesel in the same trim level is more than £16,000 cheaper, before the grant, and a plug-in BMW 530e or Mercedes E-Class are both more than £8000 below the S90.

Still, in the Inscription Pro trim driven here, it’s certainly plush. But R-Design Pro trim isn’t much cheaper, and still leaves the Volvo with too much work to do compared with some high-quality competition.

That’s a real shame, because the hybrid system works well, and the S90 is a plush, comfortable and classy car – just one that’s a bit too expensive.Volvo S90 T8 Hybrid - image 4

Paul Barker

The verdict

If the individual journey pattern numbers stack up for a plug-in hybrid and you really want a Volvo then there’s nothing wrong with the S90, but the T8 is very expensive against diesel-powered S90s and German premium plug-in rivals.