Here, at last, is a truly fast Volvo that isn’t rubbish.
If the S60 Polestar Limited Edition was human it could to walk and chew gum at the same time, something that’s never been true of high-performance Volvos in the past.
Engineered by Volvo’s Swedish racing partner Polestar to order for Volvo Australia, the first batch in a limited run of 50 cars will arrive here in late June. It will be priced above $100,000.
This car’s mission is to add muscle to the image of the entire S60 line-up in Australia. The Polestar-tuned turbo 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine delivers a creamy 257kW at 5700rpm and at least 500Nm from 2800 to 4750rpm through a six-speed Getrag automatic and Haldex all-wheel-drive system.
Polestar promises a 4.9sec 0-100km/h time.
Although the project was only green-lighted in October last year, this is a polished, potent and refined drivetrain.
Even more remarkable, it’s Polestar’s first attempt at a complete RenaultSport-style package for a Volvo.
The company has been the Swedish car maker’s competition partner since 1996, and has produced performance enhancement packages for roadgoing Volvos as a sideline for some years. But the tiny Gothenburg-based outfit – it has only 35 employees – has never attempted anything as ambitious as the S60 Polestar Limited Edition.
The engine has a larger twin-scroll turbocharger, intercooler and exhaust system, plus Polestar-developed engine management software. Mods are also made to the software controlling the automatic transmission.
These add a simple-to-use launch control system and decrease shift time in ‘S’ mode. The software controlling the clutch of the Haldex all-wheel-drive system was also altered to increase the amount of torque directed to the Volvo’s rear wheels.
Polestar and Ohlins engineers collaborated on suspension. There are changes to most bushings, both bars and some suspension hardware. The car’s adjustable front struts and rear dampers utilise Ohlins’ patented DFV (dual-flow vale) technology. The S60 Polestar wears 19-inch cast wheels with 235/40ZR19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.
Enhanced standard brakes and a set-up using Brembo front calipers and compound discs were developed by Polestar’s engineers. While the Brembos pass the toughest fade-resistance tests, they’re grindingly noisy even when applied lightly.
For normal public-road driving, the upgraded standard brakes deliver similar power, silently. With start of production just days away, Polestar and Volvo Australia must make a choice.
The enhanced standard brakes are more in tune with the car’s civilise character. Two days of driving on a variety of roads in southern Sweden demonstrated that Polestar has created a remarkably polished, cohesive and desirable car.
Ride comfort is simply brilliant for a car with such impressive cornering power. The S60 Polestar also has the grip and software to make use of every single kilowatt the engine produces.
It’s quick in a straight line, quick through corners. The unmodified steering is precise and feels well connected to the road. It’s everything that past generations of high-performance Volvos were not. The price of the entry ticket is high, but the S60 Polestar is a car that really deserves to find an audience…