You might think that with that little lot, this would be a track-day marvel, but Polestar's engineers don’t consider it so. Instead, they want us to view it as a quick but very usable road car, which is the philosophy Polestar will embody from now on.
In Comfort mode, the engine is pretty muted and the gearbox slurs through its ratios with no great sense of urgency. But select Sport mode - or Sport +, which aims to keep the engine above 4000rpm when using the gearbox as a full auto for better response and engine braking – and the throttle and gearbox react faster, accompanied by an additional bark from the exhaust as the baffles open up. You certainly feel the sharper shifts, but they still aren’t dual-clutch quick, and using the paddles is the best method if you really want to crack on.
When you do, the Polestar is quick, but it won’t make you blasphemous the first time you gun it off the line. Despite the supercharger, it’s a little laggy to begin with and doesn’t do much below 2000rpm. You need to add another 1000rpm before it's properly into its stride, after which it builds pace exponentially as the revs climb, with a pleasant rasp at full chat.
There are three steering modes – which require delving into the settings to change - but if you dislike artificially heavy helms, the Comfort setting is the best judged. It loads up nicely as you pile on the lock, but it’s not particularly feelsome.
If you're dedicated, you can scrabble around on the floor playing with the front dampers (the rears are adjusted from inside the car), which offer 20 clicks of adjustment between soft and firm. We had ours bang on 10 for a mix of road and track use.
Proper dampers with carefully chosen spring rates invariably work wonders for ride and handling, and the Polestar is a case in point. I’d be lying if I said it’s not firm, but it's never harsh. And with that comes good wheel and body control that you can rely on to keep the contact patches squished to the road, even when met with scraggy bits in the middle of corners. That’s on French roads, but I’d wager this car will cope okay even on the UK's tragically poor examples.
Volvo let us have a handful of laps at the Paul Ricard race circuit, but that exercise merely proved that the V60 Polestar is not really a track car. It made a decent fist of it, but then the numb steering and brake pedal spoilt what grip and composure remained.