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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor


WATCH: All-electric Volvo XC40 an unassuming silent assassin

Potent P8 darts from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.75 seconds to become the fastest Volvo we have tested.


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I haven’t been at a Volvo launch for as long as I could remember, and then an invite came across my desk to come spend a night with them and get acquainted with their XC range of SUVs.

I thought “what the hell, I didn’t even know who ran the place anymore, and at least the champagne should be cold and the oysters fresh”.

The bigger XC90 and XC60 models were there, but it was this kinda cool looking XC40 lurking one side that got my attention. It was no run-of-the-mill Volvo XC40 either. This was the P8 Recharge, the first all-electric car from the Swedish carmaker and it was finally rolled out locally.

I went for a brief spin around the block in the Sandton traffic. But craved for more. That’s when I decided The Citizen Motoring had to get on the test car rotation because this compact SUV with its calm air of sophistication produces 300 kW of power and 660 Nm of instant torque thanks to there being an electric motor attached to each axle. I really wanted to get out into the suburbs to provoke it a bit to see what happens.

Sort of like hooting at the mommy that is jacked up on the Duromine that she pays cash for from under the counter at her favourite pharmacy, with the three kids scurrying around her car in the school line. It could be fun, or she could just blast you with the 38 snub nose Smith & Wesson she carries in her purse.

I took my chances and spent a large amount of time driving the Volvo XC40 P8 rather inappropriately. A compact SUV like this with no ”go faster” roof spoilers, rear diffusers and stripes should not be this fast.

But it was so much fun to unleash it on an unsuspecting suburbanites and have them frothing in their cappuccinos long before they got to their one-on-one classes at the gym with Sven.

Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge
There are no “go fast” visual clues to what the Volvo XC40 P8 is capable of.

Against the clock

I also decided to head out to Gerotek, our high-speed test facility just west of Pretoria, and see if this all-wheel drive XC40 P8 could match its claim of 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds. I mean if you are going to make the kids vomit in the car, you might as well do it quickly.

If you look at the road test data table, you will see that the Volvo XC40 P8 went quicker than claimed and did this benchmark time in a mere 4.75 seconds. That time edges out the plug-in hybrid XC60 T8 AWD Recharge R-Design, which clocked 4.79 seconds, as the fastest Volvo we have tested.

It then crossed the 400m mark in 13 seconds and almost immediately hit its electronic speed limiter of 180 km/h. Like I said, this SUV is fast.

What is another bonus is that it was dirt cheap to ”fuel” the XC40 P8 as the basic maths works out as follows.

Electricity at my house costs R3 per kWh, and at 21 kWh required per 100 km of travel, it cost me R66 to do 100 km, and a fully charged 78-kWh battery cost me a mere R234. And I could cover around 360 km. Tell me again how many litres of fuel are you buying for this money and how far are you travelling on it?

ALSO READ: Every new Volvo in South Africa now features some form of electrification

Charging to the mall

Yes, I know Eskom is busy driving us mad by constantly switching the country off, but if you put your car on charge each night like you do your cell phone, you shouldn’t have any issues with range and your urban transport needs.

I did not heed my own advice though and ran the Volvo XC40 P8 almost flat and needed juice in a hurry. I went off to East Rand Mall and made use of their rapid charger there, even during load shedding, and my problem was solved.

Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge
The fully digital instrument cluster of the Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge.

But if you don’t plan, it can be a pain waiting around for your car to charge. But in my leisurely walk around the mall, I came upon a little shop selling cannabis edibles.

I mean how hard can little sugar-coated candies hit? I wish I could tell you how the rest of my day went, but I am sure I signed some or other indemnity from Volvo Car South Africa when they delivered the car.

ALSO READ: Open secret confirmed: Incoming Volvo EX90 will be electric only

Conclusion

Perhaps more important info is that the Volvo XC40 P8’s purchase price of R1 260 000 includes the full Recharge Care package that provides buyers with items such as comprehensive vehicle insurance for three years, Volvo on Call for five years and access to a petrol-powered courtesy vehicle for a two-week period every year for three years.

Am I convinced that you need so much power and torque in a compact SUV? No. The slightly less powerful XC40 P6 Recharge would be more than enough for the average person, but it is nice to know that you have it if you need it in the P8.

Volvo XC40 P8 test data

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