Published on January 16th, 2019 | by Subhash Nair


Volvo S90 T8 Inscription Plus: The Best PHEV Sedan Left Standing

When Volvo Car Malaysia first launched the locally-assembled S90, they had pretty stiff competition. It was a favourite of mine, but I was aware that it had competition from Mercedes-Benz and BMW. It’s difficult to ignore the brand power those two have, so Volvo had an uphill battle inspite of having the better equipped product.

But since then Benz has pulled the E350e and the BMW 530e has yet to be repackaged with enough equipment for a proper fight.

So? Should more businessmen, professional and venture capitalists be looking at the S90? We think so.


For me, the best place to start is design. Volvo’s idea of modern luxury is the most in tune with the current era.

The interior draws inspiration from smartphones and technology. Open pore wood trim and leather of the highest quality find themselves against buttons finished in glossy black.

The Sensus infotainment display is modelled after an iPad in its simplicity and functionality. And in the centre of it all is the centrepiece: an Orefors Crystal gearknob. Talk about class!

The exterior exudes confidence without the clutter of fake exhaust tips or oversized nostrils. Use of chrome and contrasting surfaces is kept to a minimal, allowing the shape of the car to stand out better.

And for the discerning audiophile, this Volvo comes with a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system with a 1400W Class D amplifier. And it’s not something that Volvo threw together at the last minute. They got Bowers & Wilkins to integrate the subwoofer into the car’s subframe and replicate the acoustics of the Gothenburg Concert Hall through an equaliser setting.


Volvo’s T8 Twin Engine powertrain is a little different than what the germans offer. Here the Swedes add supercharging to their internal combustion engine. The engine alone puts out an enormous 320hp and 400Nm of torque. Add the electric motors in and you get a grand total of 407hp and 640Nm. Enough to move mountains.

But instead of pushing it to its limits, this powertrain is better used for its intended purpose: efficiency. Driving with a light foot will get you an average fuel consumption of 2L/100km as well as the 50KM of pure electric range.

Space & Comfort

Though it competes directly with the 5-Series and E-Class, the S90 is objectively longer and wider than both. Volvo use that space to make life more comfortable for occupants.

Pairing air suspension with Volvo’s lightweight composite spring suspension system results in an extremely balanced, comfortable ride. The unconventional suspension setup helps to free up more usable space too.

No other manufacturer places their lithium-ion batteries in the centre console but Volvo. This gives you more room for a full-sized trunk (about 90-100 litres more than its PHEV rivals) and increased safety as the batteries are protected from a collission from any direction.


For someone to be considering a car of this size and price, he or she probably has a family to take care of. The S90 T8 Inscription Plus model is the only one in its class (PHEV or petrol) to come with built-in child booster seats.

But there’s also a load of high-tech safety features packaged in the Intellisafe Suite.

If the car’s too large for you to park with confidence, it has got self-parking (Park Assist Pilot), Cross Traffic Alert, a 360-degree camera and a distance monitoring system.

If you’re someone who takes regular long road trips, its got Run-off road Mitigation, Lane Keeping Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control and even Pilot Assist level 2 self driving up to 130km/h.

And for city driving, you’re protected by City Safety with Full Auto Braking and Smart Detection for cyclists, pedestrians and large animals.

Volvo S90 T8 Inscription Plus Specifications

Engine: 2-litre Supercharged, Turbocharged + 2 Electric Motors
Capacity: 1969cc
Gearbox: 8-speed Conventional Automatic
Max power: 407hp @ 5700rpm
Max torque: 640Nm @ 2200rpm
Top Speed: 250 km/h
0-100 km/h: 4.8 seconds
Nett Selling Price: RM386,223.50

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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