The decision to launch with hybrid power is motivated by Volvo’s desire to be perceived differently from the likes of Audi’s RS, BMW’s M and Mercedes-AMG. However, company bosses have indicated that developing electrified performance cars will take time, pointing to a 2018 launch.
At last month’s Detroit motor show Lex Kerssemakers, president of Volvo America, said the new-look Polestar won’t launch for around two years, but added: “There’s a plan, but nothing to talk about. We will talk soon, but we’re still working on it internally.”
Volvo UK’s managing director, Jon Wakefield, declined to reveal specifics, but said: “Polestar is going to come out with something very exciting and a little bit different. We think it is going to shake up the market.”
Although there has been no official confirmation of the powertrain, Polestar officials have previously indicated that they were looking to optimise the T8 hybrid system, which is available on all of the newgeneration Volvos based on the firm’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA).
In the XC90, the T8 combines a 314bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that is both supercharged and turbocharged for 295lb ft with an electric motor producing 81bhp and 177lb ft. By comparison, a BMW M5 has 552bhp and 501lb ft.
Although the power and torque outputs are expected to rise for the Polestar models, Volvo engineers are also said to have focused on improving response and drivability while possibly sacrificing some of the standard car’s all-electric range of 24 miles.
Having collaborated with Polestar since 1996, Volvo bought the tuning and motorsport company outright in July 2015 and last year recruited Volvo UK’s then managing director, Nick Connor, as its chief executive.