The locally-assembled S90 T8 Twin Engine Inscription has finally been launched, exactly two months after Volvo Car Malaysia (VCM) began taking orders for its flagship plug-in hybrid sedan. It’s available in two variants – Inscription and Inscription Plus, priced at RM368,888 and RM388,888 (OTR without insurance) respectively, undercutting the S90 T5 by RM20,000 and the S90 T6 R-Design by a full RM85,000!

As part of an ongoing promotion, VCM is giving a RM20,000 discount – that makes it RM348,888 for the Inscription and RM368,888 for the Inscription Plus – for those who make their purchases by October 31, 2017. In comparison, its closest rival, the locally-assembled Mercedes-Benz E 350 e,starts from RM392,888.

Like its twin-engined SUV counterpart, the S90 T8’s primary propulsion comes from a transversely-mounted twin-charged (that’s supercharged and turbocharged) 2.0 litre four-cylinder Drive-E engine capable of 320 hp at 5,700 rpm and 400 Nm of torque from 2,200 to 5,400 rpm. Power is exclusively sent to the front wheels through an Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission.

Mounted over the rear axle is an 87 hp/240 Nm electric motor that powers the rear wheels, drawing juice from a 10.4 kWh lithium-ion battery (larger than the 9.2 kWh in the XC90). Boot space – all 500 litres of it – is not compromised because the battery is built into the centre tunnel in place of the propeller shaft, but there is no longer a space saver spare wheel. Instead, it comes with a temporary tyre repair kit.

Now for the juicy bits. Total system output is 407 hp and 640 Nm, enabling a century sprint time of 4.8 seconds. At full charge, the battery provides up to 50 km of pure electric range, and the combined fuel consumption is rated at 2.0 litres per 100 km (XC90 is 2.1 l/100 km) while emitting 46 grammes of CO2 per km. Top speed is capped at 250 km/h. There are four drive modes to choose from: Pure, Power, Hybrid and Individual.

Unique to the Inscription Plus is a set of electronically-controlled adaptive dampers (Four-C) for all four corners, with the rear axle getting air suspension. This automatically levels the car without regard to load and adapts to road and driving conditions. The Inscription, on the other hand, makes do with the same Dynamic Chassis as the S90 T5 with composite leaf springs and hydraulic shock absorbers.

On the outside, both variants are visually identical, with equipment such as full LED headlamps with Active Bending Lights and LED DRLs, LED taillamps, 19-inch 10-spoke diamond-cut wheels (same design as the XC90) wrapped with 255/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres, Inscription front grille and rear badge as well as a charging port cutout at the front left fender.

Inside, you get a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heads-up display, a nine-inch touchscreen head unit, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel and dual-zone climate control with CleanZone air filtration system as standard. The Inscription trim comes with an electronic gearstick in the form of an illuminated crystal (made by Orrefors, a Swedish glassmaker), open-pore walnut wood trim and black Nappa leather upholstery with the word Inscription embossed onto the head restraints.

A 10-speaker high performance audio system (six-channel, 330 watts) is fitted as standard, but making its debut (and still exclusive to the Inscription Plus) is the Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system with 19 speakers, optimised by a 12-channel, 1,400 watt Class D amplifier with three presets – Studio, Stage and Concert Hall – that are specifically tuned to mimic the experience one gets at the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

For the audiophiles, here’s a breakdown of the sound system. It’s made up of seven 25 mm aluminium dome tweeters with Nautilus technology, seven mid-range speakers (100 mm front, 80 mm rear) with yellow Kevlar membrane, four 165 mm woofers with carbon/paper membrane and a 250 mm air ventilated subwoofer that is integrated into the rear subframe.

The head unit supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with Bluetooth audio streaming, but it’s best to play lossless formats that retain the full-bodied sound quality.

As for safety, both S90s are evenly specced and come with Volvo Intellisafe pack, beginning with adaptive cruise control with distance monitoring, City Safety with full auto braking, smart detection of cyclists, pedestrians and large animals, Run-off Road Mitigation, Park Assist with Park Assist Pilot (self-parking) and level two Pilot Assist, which basically drives the car for you up to 130 km/h. All these features work via a range of sensors, radars and camera that read road markings.

Both variants get Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping Aid, 360 degree surround view camera and a pair of two-step integrated booster seats as standard.

The S90 T8 Inscription is locally-assembled at Volvo’s Shah Alam plant, and that qualifies it as an EEV. Export plans are well underway – Thailand is already a recipient of the twin-engined XC90 and S90.

In Malaysia, each purchase comes with a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty and five years of free Volvo On Call roadside assist. Service interval is at every 20,000 km. For a more detailed look at the car’s specifications, refer to CarBase.my.

GALLERY: Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine Inscription Plus

Gallery: Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine Inscription