Volvo Concept Coupe, 2013 Frankfurt Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
If you were hoping Volvo would bring its diesel plug-in hybrid drivetrain to the U.S., you're in for some disappointment. The automaker has confirmed that its diesel-based drivetrains will be sold in Europe alone--but other markets will still get gasoline plug-in hybrid options with V-6 and V-8-matching performance.
Volvo unveiled its V60 Plug-In Hybrid a couple of years back, before launching the model in Europe last year. Based on the automaker's 2.4-liter, five-cylinder diesel powerplant and supplemented with plug-in electric power, the car is both brisk and economical--whether cruising down the highway or rolling silently around town. As the diesel unit powers the front wheels and the electric motor sends drive to the back, the car is also part-time all-wheel drive. Combined, the two units produce enough urge for a 6.1-second 0-60 mph sprint.
The Swedish automaker sees gasoline as the more global fuel though, influencing its decision to reserve the diesel-based models for Europe. Instead, says Drive, cars like the next-generation Volvo XC90 will offer a plug-in hybrid option pairing an electric drive system with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. On its own, the internal combustion engine will produce upwards of 300 horsepower, before the electric motor is even considered. The system was previewed in the recent Concept Coupe, which had a combined output of 400 horsepower and nearly 490 pound-feet of torque.
As well as V-8-baiting performance, economy should be strong. The V60 diesel plug-in achieves 129 mpg on the European cycle--though this is biased in favor of the car's 31-miles of electric running. Even in a car as large and heavy as the XC90 SUV, Volvo expects a figure of around 117 mpg over the same cycle--an acceptable compromise for most, and a figure Volvo says will be "class-leading". The automaker hasn't ruled out diesel plug-ins altogether, either--gasoline just makes more sense in the near term.
Volvo gave us a sneak peak of its next-generation XC90 at a press conference earlier this year. The new car will feature a more chiseled and aggressive look, not dissimilar to the Concept Coupe.