Volvo V60 Polestar
PUBLISHED: 17:16 02 August 2014
How the Swedish marque has developed a true driver’s car for all weathers, all roads and all year
After years in the shadow of the mighty German premium brands, Volvo fancies its chances of challenging the established order.
Now owned by Chinese car giant Geely, there’s the cash for research and development and, with both ingenuity and some stealth, the Swedish marque has began making headway with its powerful yet frugal DRIVe diesel engines.
However, as its German rivals BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have shown, it’s not all about pandering to economy and tax efficiency; you do need some performance image and snobbery about the badge.
So, it is now starting to market the connection with Polestar Racing, Volvo’s factory racing team, by developing the new £49,775 V60 Polestar.
Volvo says it is a true driver’s car for all-year, all roads and all weathers; in short, a driver’s car for real life.
By choosing an estate body the brand is also calling on a heritage of past and potent racing estates wearing the Volvo badge.
With typical Volvo thoroughness, the car’s driving characteristics have been honed by thousands of development miles on twisty mountain roads, motorways, and test tracks at Europe’s most extreme temperature zones.
That it now drives differently to a standard V60 is obvious, but the Polestar also has its own distinctive nose and cosmetic details, emphasising the standard V60’s racy ‘estate cum coupe’ lines even more, while also boosting aerodynamics.
Chassis upgrades mean 80 per cent stiffer springs than the standard V60 line-up’s sporting star, the R-Design. It also has bespoke 20-inch Polestar alloys, plus beefier six-piston Brembo calipers for better braking.
Power comes from a six-cylinder turbocharged T6 engine uprated to 350bhp and delivering the required throaty sound of a performance car via a 2.5-inch stainless steel exhaust system.
This power is then applied via a six-speed automatic gearbox to a Polestar-developed all-wheel drive system, allowing 0-62mph in just five seconds, top speed being electronically limited to 155mph.
Even the interior has a distinctive Polestar look, with bespoke steering wheel and seats.
But fear not, you gentler Volvo fans, because while the Swedes have been busy on the Polestar, they have also been developing a green V60 flagship for the other extreme of the range, but still with a touch of devilment about it: the sporty looking D6 AWD R-Design Lux Nav (£51,675 excluding £5,000 Plug-In Car Grant).
Volvo V60 Polestar
Price: from £49,775
Driving appeal: ***** (estimated)
Running costs: ***
How green?: **
Best rival: BMW 335i Touring M Sport
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