Volvo has long held a reputation for producing safe, sensible and exceptionally comfortable cars, making its current range a practical alternative to the more mainstream offerings from BMW and Mercedes.
With one or two rare exceptions, it isn’t a brand known for producing sporty models, though Polestar should help change that. But what is Volvo Polestar?
A little history
Polestar started life as a motorsport team in its native Sweden back in the 1990s, racing Volvos in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship (STCC). With financial backing from Volvo, the team won the STCC’s inaugural season in 1996. Success has continued ever since, winning a further five drivers’ championships and seven teams’ titles to date.
Away from the race track, Polestar used its motorsport expertise to tune Volvo’s road cars, with much of its work focussed on extracting more power from the engine lineup.
In July 2015, Volvo bought the road car division of Polestar, becoming the firm’s official tuning arm. It’s a story which is very similar to the formation of the Mercedes AMG division, which is fitting given Volvo intends to aim for AMG, as well as BMW M Sport and Audi RS.
What Polestar cars are available?
With the tie-in still in its infancy, there are currently only two fully-blown Polestar models in Volvo’s range. The S60 and V60 Polestar are powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine. It deploys 350hp and 369lb ft of torque to the road via all four wheels, and is enough to endow the pair with a 0-62mph sprint of 4.9 and 5.0 seconds respectively.
To keep all of the power in check, Polestar has uprated many other mechanical parts under the skin. The springs and dampers, built by suspension specialist Öhlins, are identical items to those used by the Lamborghini Aventador, and are 80 per cent stiffer than the regular S60. Meanwhile, the car is brought to a rapid halt by huge 371mm disc brakes (302mm at the rear), which hide behind a gorgeous set of 20-inch alloy wheels. Styling upgrades are fairly subtle, though the optional Polestar Blue paint finish isn’t.
What about the rest of the range?
Much like Ford buyers can take their cars to Mountune to eke a little more power from their car, the same applies to Volvo buyers with Polestar, For £830 fitted, Polestar’s tuning packs for the V70 add an extra 20hp and 33lb ft to the T4 petrol, and 15hp and 37lb ft to the diesel. These improvements help to increase performance without affecting fuel consumption figures, and don’t affect the manufacturer’s warranty.
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