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Volvo has outlined what engines will feature in its long-awaited 2015 XC90 seven-seat SUV, set to premiere in Paris this October and arrive in Australia around May 2015. 

As expected, the range-topping AWD model will be a plug-in hybrid called the T8 ‘Twin Engine’, which will combine a potent 300kW/640Nm petrol-electric punch with potential carbon-dioxide emissions of just 60g/km — two-thirds that of a Toyota Prius.

Volvo calls the T8 a “Plug-in electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car rolled into one”, and says “There has never been an SUV offering this level of power this cleanly”.

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The innovative drivetrain, which follows a similar formula to the greener but less powerful Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged engine to power the front wheels and a 60kW electric motor to power the rear wheels. 

According the the Swedish company, it uses the supercharger to fill in the bottom end of the power range to give the engine a “naturally aspirated feel”, while the turbocharger kicks in further up the rev range. The electric motor on the rear wheels provides immediate, zero-lag torque.

At the push of a button the driver can switch to silent and zero emission driving on pure electric power, where the range will be around 40km under careful driving. A series of battery cells runs along the car’s Scalable Product Architecture — Volvo’s platform that premieres under the XC90 and will be modulated to fit other future models over the coming years. 

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Volvo says this architecture overcomes many of the packaging issues found on electrified vehicles elsewhere, meaning the T8 should remain a family-friendly and practical luxury SUV. 

PHEV drivers will be able select from five driving modes (an extension of what is used on the V60 PHEV in Europe) via the car’s already-revealed instrument fascia, these being Off Road, AWD, Pure, Hybrid, and Power. As we have reported the XC90’s new cabin is dominated by a huge, Tesla-style central tablet divided into sections. 

Regular internal combustion engines, meanwhile, will be all four-cylinder units from Volvo’s Drive-E family. These include a 168kW/470Nm D5 twin-turbo diesel version with fuel economy of about 6.0L/100km, and a D4 diesel with 142kW/400Nm and economy of just 5.0L/100km. 

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There will also be a pair of four-pot petrol offerings, including a 240kW/400Nm T6 turbo and a 190kW/350Nm T5 version kicking off the range. 

The full Australian range will he confirmed in the new year, but Volvo Cars Australia managing director Matt Braid has already told CarAdvice the PHEV will join the range about six months after the regular petrol and diesel versions, pointing the a launch in the fourth quarter of 2015. 

With the interior and now the engines detailed, all that remains is for Volvo to unveil the car’s styling, although spy images published here give some of this away. The world premiere in the metal will take place at the Paris motor show in October. 




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