Let’s deal with the ride part first, because it’s a low point of not just this section of the road test but the whole V60 Polestar driving experience. It’s one thing to expect a firm ride in a pseudo-sporting car, but when you’re driving a Volvo and thinking that a Renault Mégane Trophy-R would be a more compliant companion, you’ve got to start asking questions.
Thank goodness the V60 has large, comfortable seats, because the brittleness with which the Polestar rides on its 245/35 ZR20 Michelin Pilot Super Sports comes damnably close to ruining the whole car. Whether you’re in town, where it jiggles, or on a motorway, where the ride is improved but remains unacceptably firm, this V60 really doesn’t offer a great deal of respite either way. And even if there is a touch less intrusion on fast roads, the pressure isn’t eased, because with speed comes a road boom that’s equally unpleasant.
Is there a trade-off on a B-road? A little. Body movements are firmly controlled, but don’t think the Volvo ever feels like anything other than a large estate, albeit one that can certainly cover ground at an impressive lick. Traction, thanks to a Haldex four-wheel drive system that can push up to 100 per cent of power to either axle, is exceptionally good – probably the Volvo’s party trick, in fact. A 2.2sec 0-30mph time lags behind that of an RS4 by half a second but doesn’t reflect how trustworthy the V60 feels if you want full acceleration on slippery surfaces.
How much the Volvo responds to your inputs depends on how ambitious you are on corner entry. Brake very hard and late, and ask it to turn in faster than it’s inclined to, and you’ll incite a lot of understeer.
This car’s chassis isn’t playful like that of some four-wheel-drive cars, such as a VW Golf R, or one that responds by shuffling power around to find grip where it otherwise wouldn’t, as an Audi RS4 might. And, of course, its power isn’t biased to the rear, so it doesn’t like a ‘bung’ like some super-saloons.
It pays to be more cautious and nudge up to the Volvo’s tendency to let go at the front first. Then, by smoothly applying the throttle, it’s easy to get the best out of it by allowing the four-wheel drive system to send power to the rear if the fronts become troubled, in turn pushing the Polestar out of corners at a genuinely impressive lick.
Driven thus, the V60 is at its most rewarding. Which means not as rewarding as the finest fast estates but a darned sight more so than any Volvo in recent memory.