STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Volvo will accelerate its promised shift toward electrified models by offering its new V60 with a choice of two plug-in hybrid powertrains -- though initially only one of them will be available in the U.S.
It is the first time Volvo has provided two plug-in hybrid options on a car underpinned by its Scaleable Product Architecture. Last year, Volvo promised to offer some form of electrification on every all-new model it launches starting in 2019.
Volvo unveiled the second-generation V60 here today ahead of its public debut at the Geneva auto show next month.
The premium midsize wagon will offer in Europe the automaker's new T6 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid that generates a combined 336 hp from its gasoline engine and electric motor. The second option is the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid that delivers 386 hp. U.S. customers will be offered only the T8 plug-in hybrid.
Both models come with all-wheel drive.
The plug-in hybrids represent a power upgrade for the V60 as the best performing base version of the current wagon is the D6 diesel that offers 284 hp. Volvo also offers a gasoline-powered Polestar variant of the previous-generation V60 that makes 362 hp.
Industry watchers say Volvo's plug-in hybrids show that performance remains a crucial selling point in the premium midsize wagon sector. "It's not just about CO2 reduction. It's about performance, torque and being fun to drive," IHS Markit Principal Analyst Tim Urquhart said. "They will want to show that the electric strategy doesn't mean they are moving away from being sporty."
Urquhart also believes that Volvo had its better-selling German rivals in mind when it was developing its plug-in powertrains in conjunction with a high-performance all-wheel-drive wagon. "They had Audi in their sights," he said. The performance variants of the Audi A4 Avant wagon, the S4 Avant and RS 4 Avant, make 348 hp and 444 hp, respectively.
Currently, plug-in hybrids account for about 15 percent Volvo's sales in the models that offer the powertrain. These include the XC60 and XC90 crossovers and the V90 station wagon.
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson expects plug-in hybrid variants to account for up to 25 percent of the V60's sales, he said during an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the wagon's launch Wednesday. He foresees a similar take rate for the other models that Volvo offers with the powertrain.
The V60's European engine portfolio will also include a pair of gasoline and diesel engines with power ranging from 147 hp to 306 hp.
Prices will start at 40,100 euros ($49,444) in Germany.