Polestar is Volvo’s high-performance division. These Swedish rockets began as a pilot project in Australia in 2011 and the first 50 cars were all allocated to this country. That was a thank you for the work done by Australian as well as Swedish engineers and drivers. Polestar hit the ground running in the V8 Supercar series in 2014 and, despite a shaky start to this year, looks to be on the verge of a successful season in 2015.
Volvo planned to develop a performance car for real life, one that performs on all roads, in all conditions, all year around. Though we didn’t manage any track work during our week with the new S60 Polestar we certainly found it works well in real life road conditions. Even if these were in the plus-30 degree range, not the minus-40 something sometimes found in Sweden.
The test vehicle, an S60 sedan, tips the sticker scales at $99,990, plus on-road costs, while the V60 Polestar is $102,990. Both cars are manufactured at the Volvo factory in Torslanda, Sweden.
Extensive wind tunnel testing has resulted in a revised rear spoiler for the sedan and an all-new roof spoiler for the wagon, both aimed at increasing downforce and high-speed stability.
Our Rebel Blue test car rode on distinctive 20-inch Polestar rims shod with Michelin Pilot super sport 245/35ZR20 tyres.
The drivetrain has been further developed with a new engine management calibration and transmission program to offer the driver greater control over gear selection, faster gearshifts, launch control and curve hold functionality to further improve driving dynamics.
In the cabin driver support has been boosted to cope with spirited driving, using perforated leather seats and steering wheel. Polestar trim has blue contrast stitching, new bespoke sports pedals, and a left foot support highlight.
Virtual instrument layout is clear, easy to read and changeable to offer up a range of information to the driver at the push of a steering wheel-mounted button.
The Harman Kardon Sensus Connect Premium Sound system had some of the sharpest reproduction we’ve come across in a vehicle. It is brilliantly tuned to the surroundings.
ENGINE / TRANSMISSION
The six-cylinder turbocharged engine produces 257 kW at just 5250rpm and 500 Nm at 3000 rpm, the latter is pleasingly low for a high-performance engine. There’s a new design full-flow 2.5-inch stainless steel active exhaust system, with 3.5-inch tailpipes that have been revised to reduce exhaust back pressure. The latter results in a rorty tone under full acceleration, more about that in a moment.
Volvo S60 Polestar races from rest to 100 km/h in less than 5 seconds to the tune of the most glorious symphonic sound, the result of a redesigned full flow 2.5-inch stainless steel active exhaust system, with 3.5-inch tail pipes, designed to reduce exhaust back pressure. Top speed is a regulated 250 km/h should you happen to be in the Northern Territory.
The car pulls up from 100 km/h to a standstill in just 34 metres thanks to bespoke Brembo six-piston brake calipers and sporty ABS settings.
Ohlins Polestar shock absorbers, and the latest generation Haldex all-wheel drive system, has been tuned for the Polestar.
Electro-hydraulic power-assisted steering, Electronic Stability Control and Advanced Stability Control are equal to the sporting intent.
Fuel efficiency is varied, with our S60 Polestar sipping an average of just 6.9 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres while cruising the motorway but gulping almost 20 litres per 100 in cramped city conditions. Ouch!
Rear leg room is ample with average height front seat occupants in place. However, the coupe-style profile of the sedan, with its steeply raked rear window, leaves rear seat occupants at the mercy of a hot summer sun.
While the boot is deep from front to back, it is lacking in height. Both rear seat backs fold almost flat to accommodate long objects.
The latest edition of the Volvo Polestar is no hard-riding track-day special and we would be happy to use one as a daily commuter. The availability of a station wagon is a real bonus.
AT A GLANCE
S60 Polestar 3.0-litre four-door sedan: $99,990 (automatic)
V60 Polestar 3.0-litre five-door wagon: $102,990 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Volvo dealer for drive-away prices.
ABS Brakes: Standard in both models
Automatic Transmission: Standard in both models
Dual Front Airbags: Standard in both models
Front Side Airbags: Standard in both models
Electronic Stability Program: Standard in both models
Rear Parking Sensors: Standard in both models
Reversing Camera: Standard in both models
USB/Auxiliary Audio Inputs: Standard in both models
Bluetooth: Standard in both models
Steering Wheel Mounted Controls: Standard in both models
SPECIFICATIONS (Volvo S60 Polestar 3.0-litre turbocharged four-door sedan)
Capacity: 2.953 litres
Head Design: DOHC, turbocharged four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 9.3:1
Bore/Stroke: 82.0 mm x 93.2 mm
Maximum Power: 258 kW @ 5250 rpm
Maximum Torque: 500 Nm @ 3000-4750 rpm
Driven Wheels: All-Wheel-Drive
Manual Transmission: Not offered
Automatic Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive Ratio: NA
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4635 mm
Wheelbase: 2776 mm
Width: 2097 mm (including mirrors)
Height: 1484 mm
Turning Circle: 11.9 metres
Kerb Mass: 1766 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 67 litres
Towing Ability: 2000 kg (with braked trailer)
SUSPENSION AND BRAKES:
Front Suspension: Coil over struts, anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension: Multi-link, anti-roll bar
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Disc
0-100 km/h Acceleration: 4.9 seconds
Type: Petrol 95RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 10.2 L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE RATINGS:
Greenhouse Rating: Not available
Air Pollution Rating: Not available
Three years/unlimited km