Volvo has shown restraint inside its new, range-topping performance saloon, except for borderline garish yellow-gold seatbelts. Unusually for such colourful items, they’re standard-fit, their hue a kind of Polestar visual calling card, we’re told. And while they met with the approval of some testers, all agreed they were the kind of embellishment you expect more of a fast Porsche 911 than a petrol-electric Swedish saloon.

Generally, this is a more understated, luxury-first Polestar treatment than the one given five years ago to the six-pot V60 Polestar. There is no carbonfibre here, no Alcantara and none of the go-faster blue stitching we saw last time out.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Bit puzzled why Volvo didn’t knock up a special Polestar digital instrument display mode. Would have been a cheap way to add a special touch in an interior in need of one.

Modestly bolstered part-leather sports seats with adjustable under-thigh support hold you comfortably but assuredly and are a delight over long distances. Ahead is a digital instrument screen and a head-up display. Between them they relay information clearly and with plenty of flexibility, although neither offers much of a performance flavour about its appearance.

The S60’s materials palette makes for a smart and classy wider cabin ambience, but it hardly advertises the car’s sporting ambition. Front-row passenger space is quite generous by class standards, providing more for taller and longer-legged drivers than cars in this class sometimes can. Second-row space is less distinguishing, but there’s plenty of useful storage around the cabin.

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If anything is missing, it’s the sense of occasion you get when you slide on board a sporting option that makes its abilities more apparent. That said, an appreciation of the art of understatement is nothing if not a reasonable expectation of the driver of a fast Volvo.

While most S60 drivers will get a 442-litre boot, that figure is cut to 390 litres in the case of these Twin Engine hybrid examples as a result of the necessary packaging of the rear axle drive arrangements. Unlike with the old diesel-powered V60 plug-in hybrid, however, you’re unlikely to notice much in the way of missing capacity this time around: the new S60 T8 provides good loading length, width and depth, and it really only misses out due to the absence of underfloor storage space.

All S60s come pretty well-equipped as far as on-board infotainment features are concerned. Navigating the firm’s 9in portrait-oriented Sensus Connect touchscreen display now seems more intuitive than it used to, the lateral-swiped menus having become more typical of other manufacturers’ systems than ever it used to be. You get navigation and some connected functionality as standard, as well as onboard wi-fi with a year’s worth of data included.

Polestar Engineered trim upgrades the standard audio system to Volvo’s Harman Kardon premium setup, which has all the power and clarity you’re likely to want and brings with it smartphone mirroring for both Apple and Android phones (a feature which really ought to be standard across the range, in our opinion). You can upgrade again, though, to a Bowers & Wilkins system with 1100W of power, for a further £1675, should you want to.

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