The 2023 Volvo XC60 T8's 0-60 Time Is Much Faster Than Its B6 Counterpart

Once upon a time, electric cars — and hybrid electric cars in particular — had a reputation for being slow. We can probably blame the Toyota Prius for a fair share of that: after all, while the Japanese hatchback may have been instrumental in bringing electrification within reach of a mainstream audience, it hardly counted rapid acceleration among its talents. Instead, it was frugality and green appeal that gave the Prius its halo.

For many, that's still the impression they have of electrified vehicles. Slow, earnest, and a little bit too serious to hold their own against a performance car. If you've fallen into that trap, however, it's time to reset your expectations. Today's hybrids are capable of much, much more.

Fully electric cars have already demonstrated themselves to be the new kings in straight-line speed. The immediacy of an electric drivetrain — which delivers all its torque effectively from the get-go, unlike a gas engine which must get up to speed first — has left relatively humble EV hatchbacks showing genuine supercars their heels. That's not quite the case for the 2023 Volvo XC60 Recharge, but its T8 plug-in hybrid drivetrain is the one to have if you want performance with your practical SUV.

Electric advantage

Volvo has been offering hybrids for some years, now, alongside its pared-back range of gas-only engines. For the 2023 model year, you can have your XC60 with the B6 engine, a four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged gas engine that offers up to 295 horsepower and as much as 310 lb-ft of torque. It's enough to propel the SUV from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds if you have the more potent all-wheel drive version.

Not bad, but it's well short of the XC60 Recharge T8. There, Volvo takes the same B6 gas engine but applies not one but two electric motors to it. The first is sandwiched between the 8-speed transmission and the engine, the resulting combination driving the front wheels. The second electric motor is responsible for driving the rear wheels — Volvo calls this eAWD (electric all-wheel drive) — and, unlike in the XC60 B6 AWD, there's no mechanical driveshaft running the length of the car. Instead, Volvo uses that space for the PHEV's battery.

The end result is a big step up in power numbers: 455 horsepower and 523 lb-ft of torque. The XC60 Recharge may not be a lightweight in performance vehicle terms, but the T8 drivetrain is still good for a 0-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds. That's almost a second and a half faster than in the B6.

However it's the way the plug-in hybrid Volvo delivers its punch that lingers: while the electric motors may not be responsible for all the horsepower and torque, their instantaneous contribution leaves the XC60 Recharge feeling spritely from a standing start, regardless of if you're trying to break a 0-60 record or just dash ahead from a stop sign. Just remember that the next time someone complains to you that a hybrid is boring.