Is the new all-electric Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge worth its nearly £60k price tag? We find out…
The XC40 EV is a beautifully engineered creation with excellent performance, decent range, exceptional refinement and no compromise on practicality compared with regular versions. Android Automotive feels like a worthy upgrade, too. But, if anything, the P8 feels a little too potent and pricey for this size of vehicle. We’re confident that more modest versions, perhaps with a single motor and at sub-£50k, will be even more appealing.
Volvo has hit the headlines with its approach to electrification, with the company stating that half of its sales will be fully electric by 2025. But this car, the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8, is its first full EV. It’s a sign of how quickly Volvo has to move to meet its target – and a reminder of how important this new model is.
Of course, we’ve tried a plug-in XC40 before, because Volvo already sells a hybrid version. But don’t think that the XC40 P8 is really just a PHEV with bells on, because the car’s CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform has allowed the firm’s engineers to pack in specs that are punchy, to say the least.
The XC40 P8’s lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 78kWh (usable capacity is 75kWh) and this powers a pair of identical electric motors – one on each axle – producing a combined total of 402bhp and 660Nm. That’s a serious amount of power and torque for a small family SUV and, sure enough, the electric XC40’s performance figures are startling: 0-62mph takes a whisker under five seconds, and the top speed is 112mph – relatively high for an EV.
The perils of adding extra cells are aptly demonstrated by the XC40’s mass and range, mind you. This car weighs 2.2 tonnes – hefty for something with the footprint of a Ford Focus – and as a result, even that large battery can only manage 260 miles between charges. That’s respectable, not stellar.
At least you get 150kW DC charging as standard, capable of adding up to 80 per cent of capacity in 40 minutes (or around 55 miles of range every 10 minutes). That hefty battery means that home charging is a bit more of a chore, of course, but a full charge on a domestic wallbox can take from less than eight hours – so overnight charging shouldn’t be a problem.
The pricing is every bit as hefty as the weight and performance – but it doesn’t help that here we’re sampling the First Edition that is the only version available at launch. Still, we can only test what’s put in front of us and, at a whopping £59,985, this is a seriously expensive XC40 – the thick end of £20k more pricey than anything else in the range (even the plug-in hybrids), and way beyond the reaches of the Plug-in Car Grant.
Of course, it’s better to compare this car with other EVs of its size – and there aren’t too many of those. The Jaguar I-Pace is larger and more expensive (although not by much), but BMW’s iX3 is a closer match, starting from almost £62,000 while offering a bit more cabin space, luggage capacity, and range than the XC40. Volvo’s offering is in the mix, in other words – but on paper, far from a stand-out favourite.
It stacks up well when you get behind the wheel, though. The first thing you’ll notice is that there’s no starter button; the car uses a seat sensor to trigger its key detection, so you can just get in, push it into D and drive, like a Tesla.
Once you’re on the move, you’re likely to be surprised by just how refined the XC40 P8 is – because it’s impressively hushed. There’s next to no electric motor whine to speak of – no mean feat when you have a front-mounted unit as well as one on the rear axle – and wind noise is also well suppressed. Cut out these frequencies and you’re left with a bit of rumble from the chunky wheels on the road below you, but that’s about your lot.
Read more: AutoExpress
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