2019 Volvo S60 T8 hybrid review: price, specs and release date

The Volvo S60 T8 is a plug-in hybrid executive saloon with tiny emissions and explosive straight-line performance. So, is it the ultimate all-rounder?...

16 September 2019
Volvo S60 T8 red front

Priced from £37,935 | On sale Now

Like a ballet dancer who can also go 12 rounds with Anthony Joshua, the new Volvo S60 T8 appears to be equally strong in two very different areas.

As a plug-in hybrid it's able to emit just 42g/km of CO2 in official tests, resulting in low BiK rates for business users. But at the same time, it promises sports car levels of performance.

How does it compare with rivals such as the BMW 330e and Mercedes C300de, though? Can it show the BMW up on a twisty road? Is it comfier than the Mercedes? And is its electric range enough for you to enjoy an emission – and petrol – free commute? Time to get the answers.

2019 volvo s60 t8 driving rear red

2019 Volvo S60 T8 driving

The S60 T8 mixes a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined output of 388bhp. That’s a lot more than you get in most hot hatches, and to help you make the most of it, four-wheel drive is standard, with the engine driving the front wheels and the motor the rears.

As a result, if you put your foot down hard when the hybrid system is in full power mode, you’re properly pinned back in your seat. Indeed, 0-62mph takes just 4.6sec, which is more than a second quicker than the 330e or C300de can manage.

On the other hand, when taking a more relaxed approach and driving with a fully charged battery, we managed to cover 28.5 miles on electric power in the S60. That gave us a fairly impressive 72mpg average on a mixed route over a couple of hours of driving. Topping the battery back up using a 7.4kW wall box takes around three hours.

When driving in the ‘Pure’ electric mode, handy graphics on the digital instruments tell you how much power you can use before the petrol engine kicks in. However, encountering a steep hill or using more than half of the accelerator pedal’s travel causes the engine to start, whereas the 330e can continue to run as an electric car in such circumstances.

More positively, after the S60 T8’s battery is depleted, or when the electric motor needs help, the petrol engine joins the party pretty seamlessly; the only giveaways are an icon on the instrument display and a slight vibration coming through the pedals.

2019 volvo s60 t8 red side profile red

Of course, you’ll clearly hear the engine if you floor the accelerator, but the sound it makes is on the sportier side and is enjoyable rather than irritating. Wind noise is also kept to a minimum, even at motorway speeds, but road noise is more pronounced than it is in the C300de.

It’s the ride that most lets the S60 T8 down, though. On the standard sports suspension, even small bumps and manhole covers unsettle the car to a greater extent than they do the 330e or C300de. Specifying the optional adaptive suspension may resolve this, but we’re yet to try it.

The hybrid system has added about 300kg to the S60's weight, but body lean is better controlled than in a 330e and you have good reserves of grip.

For the same reason that you sit in the middle of a canoe for the most stable weight distribution, the S60 has its hybrid batteries mounted centrally in the car. This results in predictable handling that, while not particularly sporty, gives you the confidence that there won’t be any nasty surprises.

True, the steering isn’t as consistently weighed as the 330e’s, but the brakes in the S60 are nowhere near as grabby as its rival’s, making it easier to drive smoothly in stop-start traffic.

2019 volvo s60 t8 interior dashboard

2019 Volvo S60 T8 interior

Aside from its bespoke instrument readouts, the only thing that separates the T8’s interior from those of other S60’s is the lack of storage between its front seats. You can just about fit a wallet in the lidded cubby, but the hybrid battery takes up the rest of the space.

Still, the seats support you in all the right places and the whole interior feels very classy, so it's a nice place to spend time – at least if you're in the front.

Move to the back, and if you're approaching six-foot tall the chances are you're going to feel a bit cramped. However, unlike the 330e, the S60 T8 doesn’t lose much boot space compared with its petrol and diesel sisters; the difference is about 50 litres.

If you want to know more about practicality, or what we think of the S60's infotainment system or interior quality, have a look at our full Volvo S60 review. Or to see how much you could save on an S60 without any haggling, check out our New Car Buying service.

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