Plug it in: Volvo’s S60 T8

Here’s a big ol’ mouthful of automotive alphabet soup for you to digest: Volvo S60 T8 Twin Engine E-AWD Inscription Plug-in Hybrid. 

Sorry, they lost me at T8.

It surely wins the prize for the longest, and silliest, model name ever created. Someone stops you in the Whole Foods parking lot and says, “Nice car. What is it?” — trust me, you’re going to say, “Oh, it’s a Volvo.”

You’d think with an “8” in the badge, there’d be a V8 or eight-cylinder of some kind under the hood. Alas, no: It’s a teeny 2.0-liter inline-four. I guess T2 or T4 didn’t sound grand enough.

Even the all-wheel drive part is a bit of a stretch. There’s nothing connecting the engine up front with the wheels out back. Except for a few wires.

No, what we have here is Volvo’s S60 mid-size four-door sedan with a lot of complex, verging-on-pointless technology.

 But that 2.0-liter engine is actually a bit special. It’s turbocharged and supercharged to deliver a gym-honed 316-horsepower. It drives the front wheels through an 8-speed automatic

It doesn’t end there. Between the rear wheels, Volvo squeezes in a pair of electric motors to add another 87-horsepower to the party, bringing the grand total to 400. 

Gas engine up front and electric motors at the back is what gives it all-wheel-drive.

But if all this isn’t complicated enough, the S60 gets a 9.1 kilowatt-hour — no, I haven’t a clue what it means either — pack of Duracells to juice the electric motors.

Plug the S60 into your nearest wall socket — one preferably delivering 240 volts — and a full charge will give the car a zero-emission, electric-only range of around 22 miles. Not exactly Tesla-challenging, but enough for most daily needs.

Gas and electric power to the tune of 400-hp, however, is great for whizzing you past slower traffic, or catapulting away from a stop light. 

For those of you who care about such things, Volvo claims zero-to-60mph acceleration in an impressive 4.4 seconds. There are some fancy sports cars that aren’t this quick. 

Of course it’s a blast to whiz around town on silent, electric power only, like it’s some over-sized golf cart.

But if you think that buying this hybrid S60 T8 is going to save you big at the pumps, think again.

That’s because when the battery power gets used up, what you have is a nearly two-ton family sedan that’s having to drag around a bunch of weighty batteries and electric motors. 

According to Volvo, on gasoline power alone you’ll likely average 27mpg city, 34 mpg highway with a combined 30 mpg. No, nothing special there. 

And remember, when the battery pack gets depleted, you’re back to having a 316-hp S60.

Then there’s the little matter of price. A base S60 T8 E-AWD Inscription stickers at $56,395. Add a few options, like the $2,200 Luxury Seating Package, the $3,200 Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound and the 19-inch Inscription alloys, and you’re quickly up to $64,000. 

Me? I’d skip all the hybrid complexity and go with the lovely S60 T6 Inscription with the same 316-hp engine and conventional all-wheel drive for just over $50,000. 

You’ll get the same great-looking S60 styling, with that new signature Volvo grille, Thor’s Hammer headlights, swooping roofline and pert rear-end with that ducktail spoiler.

You’ll also get that sleek and sexy Swedish interior design, with the comfiest front seats on the planet, gorgeous leather trim and cool touches like that crystal gear shift knob and 12.3-inch vertical touch screen in the dash. That and safety. Lots of safety.

As you might deduce, I’m no great fan of gas-electric hybrids. I see them as a halfway measure before the new generation of all-electrics arrive. 

But don’t let that put you off the truly lovely S60. It is one of the Swedest rides around.

To test drive a new S60 — hybrid or not — call on Volvo Cars Tampa, Ferman Volvo of Tarpon Springs, Crown Volvo of Clearwater or Volvo Cars Sarasota.