Polestar, Volvo’s high-performance sub-brand, is preparing to launch a highly tuned version of the company’s new four-cylinder petrol engine.
The brand is also likely to launch a high-performance hybrid and is considering a hot version of Volvo’s highly successful XC90.
The 2.0-litre Drive-E unit will get both a supercharger and a turbocharger. Möller said it will be “as strong or even stronger” than the current six-cylinder unit and be hooked up to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
“With the new engine, weight will be reduced and power will increase, but there will be nearly half the CO2 emissions,” Möller said. “We believe in the future performance cars must cope with environmental developments.”
Since Polestar was bought by Volvo last July, Möller said his company has had “full access to Volvo technology and, naturally, that means access to a lot of hybrid technology. There will be performance hybrids, which use electrification to enhance performance, rather than worrying about range”.
Mölller added: “If I don’t see a business case on each and every model, I will not do it. Right now, we are taking the full range of Volvo’s portfolio and thinking about how we could position a Polestar version.”
Möller stopped short of confirming a full-blooded Polestar version of the XC90 but did reveal that it’s one of the models under discussion.
“Everything is possible,” he said. “SUVs are hip. People really like them as urban cruisers, so why not have an XC car that can go on the track as well?”
A notable development for the Polestar brand is Volvo’s return to motorsport. Two S60 Polestar TC1 race cars will take to the grid during the 2016 FIA World Touring Car Championship season.Möller said this is primarily to increase global awareness of the Polestar brand as part of the aim to double sales figures to 1500 units in 2016.
Comment - How far must Polestar go to match German rivals?
The task of muscling in on a high-performance market dominated by German behemoths should not be underestimated, but Polestar is clearly ambitious.
It’s targeting a market that, it says, has grown by 41% since 2009, during which time the standard road car segment has increased by just 9%. Aiming to double its sales to 1500 units next year sounds like a good start, but that figure still languishes some way behind the 15,000 RS and R8 models that Audi shifted during 2014 alone.
There’s a huge gap between the manufacturers in terms of sales, then, but Polestar is still in its infancy. In truth, it’s unlikely to rival the total sales of its German stablemates, but if it can build on the promise of its S60 and V60 models and deliver on its interesting projects in the pipeline, it could prove a hit with those after an off-piste alternative to the ubiquitous Germans.