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Volvo will build a hybrid XC40 in 2018

Upcoming drivetrain features a three-cylinder petrol engine matched up to 75bhp motor

Volvo has officially confirmed a plug-in hybrid version of the XC40 will launch by the end of this year. It’ll be badged T5 Twin Engine. This is another stage in the company’s electrification programme, which it’s been hyping for some years now.

In May 2016 the Swedes showed the powertrain alongside the concept version of the XC40 and the so-called Compact Modular Architecture platform that connects the bodywork to the road.

With zero regard to the industry’s traditional coyness around concepts, Volvo produced a diagram of the Twin Engine’s entrails. This put the battery in the spine of the body as with the bigger Volvo T8, but installed its 55kW (75bhp) electric motor on top of the transmission, driving through the new 7-speed DCT. That combustion engine is a 180PS 1.5-litre three-cylinder loosely derived from the existing four-cylinder. The battery held just under 10kWh. Those numbers will surely be matched by the production version.

An industry-standard 50km (31 miles) NEDC electric range is likely, but you can assume a real world electric range of about 20 miles. Using petrol and electric power together, performance will be roughly similar to the existing non-hybrid XC40 T5, which has a four-cylinder petrol making 250bhp.

The three-cylinder petrol engine will be used in other Volvos, not just as a PHEV but as a mild hybrid too. The company began testing the engine as far back as 2014. It is built along the same production line as the company’s four-cylinder.

Volvo has also said this T5 Twin Engine powertrain will also go into the 60-series cars later.

The T5 Twin Engine is very different from the T8 Twin Engine, available as an option on the XC60, XC90 and V/S90. The T8 has a pure-petrol front drive and a pure-electric rear drive. The T5 is front-drive only. Again, Volvo has produced a helpful diagram to show the difference - SPA is the big platform, CMA the smaller one.

Read Top Gear’s Volvo XC40 review here

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