Volvo V60 Polestar Driven - Brilliant Blue Bullet

Audi's fabled RS2 might have started the trend for truly brisk estate cars, but Volvo popularised it.

From the moment it entered an 850 estate in the British Touring Car Championship - and launched an equivalent 850 R road-going version - popular perception of Volvo changed completely.

It's why nobody really batted an eyelid when Volvo announced the V60 Polestar would go into production, on the back of a rather more potent S60 Polestar concept revealed a few years back.

Volvo V60 Polestar rear

Based on the V60 T6, Polestar's production car lacks the 508-horsepower output of the concept but its 3-litre inline-six still develops a chunky 350 horses and 368 pounds-feet of torque. Polestar has whacked up the boost with a twin-scroll turbo and uprated intercooler, while the power is put to all four wheels through a recalibrated six-speed automatic transmission and Haldex differential.

A 2.5-inch stainless steel exhaust system runs into twin 3.5-inch tailpipes and emits a hearty growl at idle, particularly with the auto shifter in 'Sport' mode. It's a struggle not to leave it there all the time, particularly when you open the taps - not only does the car surge forward with real conviction, but a valve opens at 3,000 rpm for a bark more raucuous than any inline-six BMW M car. 0-62 mph comes up in 4.9 seconds (aided by an easy-to-use and mechanically sympathetic launch control system) and top speed is limited to the standard 155 mph.

Volvo V60 Polestar wheel

Thankfully, both brakes and suspension have been uprated to cope with the engine's new demands. Behind the 20-inch Polestar alloys you'll find 336mm ventilated floating discs and 302mm vented discs at the rear.

Polestar's offering is lower than a standard T6, and virtually every suspension component has been either changed or uprated - stabilisers, tie blades, toe link arms and top mounts are all beefed up, and a carbon-fibre strut tower bar is added at the front. The cherry on the icing is a set of hlins 2-way adjustable dampers - like those on a Lamborghini Aventador, but better, we were told - and uprated, Rebel-blue coloured springs.

Volvo V60 Polestar interior

They conspire to make the car's road manners a little less relaxing than the Volvo norm, and the ride quality tests Polestar's assertion the car is suitable for every-day use - if you live near any particularly bumpy stretches of road, it would quickly get tiresome.

But up the ante and the V60 hangs on in the turns like no 1,834 kg estate car has any right to. The steering is quick and accurate, and its feel has been improved a little by the myriad suspension tweaks. At the same time, the Polestar is unshakeable at speed and the ride quality does settle down once you hit motorways or faster A-roads.

Volvo V60 Polestar shifter

It's even perfectly competent on a track. Part of the launch was held at the famous Top Gear Test Track, where the V60 proved a lot of fun - though Volvo and Polestar both stressed that it's not a dedicated track vehicle. What it is, is a usefully fast road car with excellent all-weather ability (Polestar even offers a dedicated winter tyre for the 20-inch rims) and a practical, beautifully-finished and incredibly comfortable interior.

Oh, and did we mention that it looks great too? The V60 is already a handsome beast but coated in Rebel Blue paintwork and adorned with those alloys and a subtle bodykit, it becomes a real head-turner.

Priced from: 49,775
MPG: 27.7
CO2: 237 g/km

Volvo V60 Polestar badge

Verdict

Volvo will bring just 125 V60 Polestars to the UK, and its S60 Polestar brother won't make it here at all. Our opinions on the car will make little difference to those sort of numbers - there are almost certainly 125 people here in the UK who'll absolutely love the brilliant blue bullet.

It just so happens that we love it anyway. Yes, the ride quality is most un-Volvo like, but it seems a little churlish to complain about such things when the rest of the car is such a blast. The suspension tuning may be unforgiving but it makes the Polestar quite a weapon - searing progress can be made with very little effort at all. Economy is poor at 27.7 mpg, and tax correspondingly high, but if you're really that bothered Volvo still offers excellent diesel and diesel-hybrid models to cover those bases.

In short, you already know whether you like this car or not. If you've got the dosh, don't let us stop you...

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