408 hp power
Autonomy of 418 km
Despite the Covid crisis, Volvo registered 4,888 XC40s in France between January and August 2020, compared to 8,238 over the whole of 2019. Breakage was avoided! It seems that despite the repeated attacks against SUVs, the French appreciate them, the XC40 being Volvo's best seller in France. It quickly received a plug-in hybrid motorization on the sector, tested here last February. And here it goes 100% electric, a first for a production Volvo. To make the thing attractive given its selling price, it really boosts its power in the process.
Full of watts
Called Recharge P8 AWD, this zero-emission version is equipped with two motors, one per axle, which makes it a four-wheel drive. The two blocks are identical. Synchronous type with permanent magnets, they each develop 150 kW (or 204 hp) and 330 Nm, for a total of 408 hp for 660 Nm … Consider that the T5 Recharge sticks to 262 hp! Is it really useful? We will see.
For their power, they can count on lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of 78 kWh (75 kWh net) supplied by either the Chinese CATL or the Korean LG. Guaranteed 8 years or 160,000 km, they allow a range of 418 km in mixed and 538 km in the city, according to the manufacturer. Values in the current good average, even if a BMW IX3 does better, at 460 km. The total power of the German remains, it is true, less than 286 hp.
For recharging, Volvo supplies two cables, one for household sockets and a 16A T2. If you connect the latter to a 150 kW fast terminal, the accumulators are filled from 0 to 80% in 40 minutes, while on an 11 kW wallbox it takes 7.5 hours to go from 0 to 100%. Note that until the end of the year, the Göteborg brand provides it free of charge, with a limit of € 1,149 in the case of a single-family house and € 599 if you are in a condominium. An attractive offer.
A connected electric
It was at the Mortefontaine circuit in Oise that we were invited by Volvo to test the XC40 on a few laps. This is a pre-series copy, which is touring the countries of Europe. Aesthetically, it differs mainly from the thermal model by its closed grille.
Apart from the specific instrumentation, the dashboard is identical to the other versions of the XC40.
Inside, the digital instrument cluster is specific, while the roominess does not change, unlike the trunk, which drops from 460 l to 413 l. But, under the hood, we discover a new storage with a capacity of 31 l.
A little less trunk but this loss is offset by the appearance of a new storage space under the front hood.
The multimedia system benefits from a Google Android Auto system, featuring Maps navigation, and "OK Google" voice control, in particular, all of which can be managed from its home. Thus, you can program the heating of the car and its route from home, for example. Note that this Volvo also knows how to update its electronic systems "on the air", therefore remotely, while in 2021, it can be used without a key, just with your smartphone. It will also be able to park on its own, without you being on board.
On the safety side, it benefits from a new driving aids platform, capable not only of detecting cyclists or pedestrians but in addition to pulling the car into an avoidance maneuver, if it cannot be avoided. stop in time. Finally, it is also equipped with regenerative braking adjustable in three positions: neutral, medium and strong. The latter allows you to almost never use the left pedal.
You get behind the wheel and at this point the seat with a sensor informs the car that you are ready to go. Also, it activates automatically, and you just have to drive.
From the outset, I note that the controls are well calibrated, the steering wheel and the brake pedal showing good consistency. But the surprise comes from the speed up and up: despite its 2250 kg, this XC40 goes from 0 to 100 km / h in 4.9 s, and believe me, this heavy weight sends… heavy. However, the accelerator is too sensitive: as soon as you touch it, the car jumps up. No big deal in a straight line, but out of a corner, you find yourself pulling straight on this wet track while putting in more watts than expected. So we put our foot down, and there, with the load transfer, it's the rear that disengages.
Logical reaction of the car, except that the ESP does not always have time to intervene. That's with regenerative braking on neutral. In high mode, if you lift your foot after said understeer, then the Volvo slows down too sharply, accentuating oversteer, which causes violent ESP action, going so far as to initiate emergency braking, by tightening seat belts. Surprising. Obviously, this detail should be fine-tuned before marketing. It would also be good if we could adjust the braking power when lifting the foot by a handle, or paddles, and not by tampering with the submenus of the central screen.
Small faults which should not obscure the excellent dynamic qualities of this XC40. Expertly cushioned, it effectively curbs its cash movements and is precise. Grip is also good, while the rear engine produces very dynamic handling, with the stern tending to engage in downforce. Some will find that said the phenomenon a little too marked on fatty soil. As for braking, it does not suffer criticism.
Expensive but not expensive
For the rest, the Volvo retains its very pleasant seats and its well presented table. The Recharge P8 AWD is currently only offered in a well-equipped R-Design finish (leather / Nubuck upholstery, electric tailgate, GPS, 250 W audio system), and invoiced at € 59,940, therefore eligible for the bonus of 3 000 €. Considering the services, this price, admittedly very high for ordinary people, is well placed.
We will have to wait to perform a complete test to give you an idea of the autonomy, and the real consumption: this was not displayed on our copy, tested on the circuit, in difficult climatic conditions, at speed. often high (the XC40 reaches almost 170 km / h), which does not reflect road use at all.