Consider the marketing power of Mercedes-AMG and similar performance sub-brands and nobody should be surprised to see Volvo attempt to join that clique with Polestar Engineered. This initial product has plenty going for it – not least some inspiring design and excellent body control. There is also the versatility of its plug-in hybrid powertrain, which is unique among cars of this ilk, and the easy-going driveability and rolling refinement for which modern Volvo is known.

And yet for all that, the S60 T8 Twin Engine Polestar Engineered is not quite the drivers’ car it aims to be. The precision and control in the handling and steering are new benchmarks for the brand but still fall well short of truly sporting rivals. The four-cylinder powertrain offers neither the performance nor the character that so often defines quick saloons, and its complexity can render progress unintuitive and lethargic.

Ploughs its own performance furrow but doesn’t always enthral

This remains an esoteric concept. With low emissions and strong if not outstanding performance, it will appeal to company car drivers in search of a special saloon, but for now, BMW, Mercedes-AMG and the others needn’t be too concerned.

What Car? New car buyer marketplace - Volvo S60

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