It’s the first model to emerge from Volvo’s fledgling Polestar premium electrified car brand. A limited run and handbuilt special, it’s both a four-wheeled shop window for what the company can achieve and, hopefully, a taster for what its future models will be like.
At a glance, it would be easy to dismiss the Polestar 1 as simply a two-door Volvo S90. But there’s more to it than that. Much more. We drove an example a few months back, when it proved to be arguably one of the most interesting cars of the year. Yet that example was a prototype, quirks and all, while the one you see here is the finished article, one of the 1,500 that will be handbuilt over the next three years.
There’s quite a lot to talk about with the Polestar 1, which is packed with advanced technology and, apart from the elements of its scalable platform architecture (SPA) and it’s interior, has little in common with Volvo’s more mundane models. For starters, the eye-catching (this car really does look good) bodywork is made up of hand layered carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP). Even so the kerbweight is still 2,350kg, which makes sense when you realise what’s under those lightweight panels.
Driving the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox is a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, while at the rear is a pair of active torque vectoring electric motors, one for each wheel, and another motor between the engine and gearbox that acts as powerful starter/generator. Powering these are two large batteries, one in the transmission tunnel and another over the rear axle. So you can see why it’s a bit lardy. Still, there should be enough power to overcome this, because with all the various motive forces working together there’s a not inconsiderable 601bhp and a thumping 738lb ft of torque.
Inside, the Polestar borrows heavily from Volvo, with the dashboard essentially carried over wholesale. However, special leathers and bespoke trims help lift the ambience, easily allowing the car to hit it’s luxury GT brief. However, while it’s billed as a 2+2, the rear seats really are cramped - as is the boot, which is largely full of battery.
In Pure mode the Polestar uses the combined 229bhp from its twin rear motors to travel in near silence for about 80 miles on a charge and at speeds of up to 100mph. Acceleration is instant and up to about 60mph it feels T5 quick, which is more than fast enough for the daily cut and thrust. Better still, such is the range that, for many day-to-day journeys, you could use the 1 as an EV and rarely bother its internal combustion engine. To do so, however, would be missing a trick.