From £48,3107
The new Volvo V60 Polestar gets a lighter four-cylinder engine packing 362bhp and an eight-speed auto 'box, but is it any more agile?

What is it?

Since Volvo bought tuning firm Polestar last year, it has decided to set its new team to work changing the fundamentals of the V60 Polestar wagon.

So what’s new? Well, the biggest change is the engine. Polestar has ousted the heavy six-cylinder engine and instead, dropped in the lighter 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine from the XC90 T8 hybrid – minus the electric motor, that is. That has taken 24kg off the front axle, helping to balance the Polestar’s weight more evenly, and has reduced the overall weight by 20kg. Tick.

If an engine from a hybrid SUV sounds dull, it needn’t. It’s double-whooshed with both turbocharging and supercharging, and pumping in all that air and fuel means it now produces a worthy 362bhp. That’s 17bhp more than before, although there’s a bit less torque. Still, another tick.

But simply adding boost is for amateurs, so there are new internals to consolidate the performance gains and stop the engine from detonating prematurely the minute you hit the 7000rpm limiter. The standard conrods and camshafts have been binned for trickier items, plus a less suffocating air intake, filter, and a 3.0in stainless exhaust help it to breathe. Yet more ticks.

It doesn’t stop there, either. The same Borg Warner four-wheel drive system now defaults to 50/50 torque distribution in its sportier settings, which give the new eight-speed automatic gearbox edgier settings for quicker shifts.

The steering is now electrically assisted with unique calibration, and while the stiffer springs and manually adjustable Öhlins shocks are a carryover from the old car, at the front the settings are tweaked to reflect the slim-line engine. If you include the carbonfibre strut brace, bigger six-pot brakes and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, that’s now many, many more ticks.

What's it like?

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.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Back to top

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.

Should I buy one?

The 43-strong team at Polestar set out to create a quick, safe and enjoyable road car, and on balance they’ve done just that. Okay, the new V60 Polestar (like the last one) lacks some finesse, but it’s certainly good enough to encourage you to choose the long way home.

For Volvo, the Polestar connects its WTCC racing programme to its road cars, gives the brand a halo product and cements Polestar as a name to look out for. At a whisker under £50k, that price almost guarantees exclusivity when deliveries start in October, a situation that will no doubt suit the slightly maverick men and women to which this car will appeal.

Volvo V60 Polestar

Location France; On sale October; Price £49,900 (est); Engine 4 cyls, 1969cc, turbocharged and supercharged, petrol; Power 362bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 347lb ft at 3100-5100rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1796kg; 0-62mph 4.8sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 34.9mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 186g/km, 34%

Back to top

Join the debate

Comments
16
Add a comment…
winniethewoo 4 April 2016

What else in Volvos range is

What else in Volvos range is really just a Ford Mondeo? S80, V70, XC60, S/V60. So apart from the New XC90 and S90, you may as well bypass Volvo's range completely and just get the respective Ford, either Focus or Mondeo instead!
Marc 4 April 2016

winniethewoo wrote: What else

winniethewoo wrote:

What else in Volvos range is really just a Ford Mondeo? S80, V70, XC60, S/V60. So apart from the New XC90 and S90, you may as well bypass Volvo's range completely and just get the respective Ford, either Focus or Mondeo instead!

You don't really get how the motor development industry works do you...

winniethewoo 4 April 2016

Marc wrote: winniethewoo

Marc wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:

What else in Volvos range is really just a Ford Mondeo? S80, V70, XC60, S/V60. So apart from the New XC90 and S90, you may as well bypass Volvo's range completely and just get the respective Ford, either Focus or Mondeo instead!

You don't really get how the motor development industry works do you...

Couldn't have put it better myself.

winniethewoo 4 April 2016

winniethewoo wrote: Marc

winniethewoo wrote:
Marc wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:

What else in Volvos range is really just a Ford Mondeo? S80, V70, XC60, S/V60. So apart from the New XC90 and S90, you may as well bypass Volvo's range completely and just get the respective Ford, either Focus or Mondeo instead!

You don't really get how the motor development industry works do you...

Couldn't have put it better myself.

I am parodying here what people write about VAG group cars, esp in regard to Citytiger who claims all VAG group cars are the same because of the same underlying architecture, who yet manages to praise Volvos for their distinctiveness and specialness.

Marc 4 April 2016

winniethewoo wrote:

winniethewoo wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:
Marc wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:

What else in Volvos range is really just a Ford Mondeo? S80, V70, XC60, S/V60. So apart from the New XC90 and S90, you may as well bypass Volvo's range completely and just get the respective Ford, either Focus or Mondeo instead!

You don't really get how the motor development industry works do you...

Couldn't have put it better myself.

I am parodying here what people write about VAG group cars, esp in regard to Citytiger who claims all VAG group cars are the same because of the same underlying architecture, who yet manages to praise Volvos for their distinctiveness and specialness.

Ahh okay..

Citytiger 4 April 2016

winniethewoo wrote:

winniethewoo wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:
Marc wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:

What else in Volvos range is really just a Ford Mondeo? S80, V70, XC60, S/V60. So apart from the New XC90 and S90, you may as well bypass Volvo's range completely and just get the respective Ford, either Focus or Mondeo instead!

You don't really get how the motor development industry works do you...

Couldn't have put it better myself.

I am parodying here what people write about VAG group cars, esp in regard to Citytiger who claims all VAG group cars are the same because of the same underlying architecture, who yet manages to praise Volvos for their distinctiveness and specialness.

Actually if happen to actually carry out any investigation, the majority of the engineering of the so called Ford EUCD platform was carried out by Volvo, the last Mondeo was supposed to be on a modified Ford chassis, as were various JLR products, but the decision was changed because Volvos T5 and T6 engines would not fit. the T6 straight 6 petrol engine was originally designed to replace the T5 and be used by JLR and Volvo, but with the break up of the PAG group, it only saw service in Volvo products and the Freelander 2 in certain markets, the platform used by Volvo in the S/V60 is also changed from the original design to improve its crash test results. VAG just slap them together with different bodyshells, the XC60 which uses the EUCD modified platform is also the best selling midsized SUV in Europe, even though its due for imminent replacement. The majority of components in the current Volvo range are pure Volvo and not shared with other manufacturers, can Audi say the same? Volvo parts are designed for use by Volvo, Skoda parts are used by VW, Audi, SEAT and Porshce.

winniethewoo 5 April 2016

Citytiger wrote: winniethewoo

Citytiger wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:
Marc wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:

What else in Volvos range is really just a Ford Mondeo? S80, V70, XC60, S/V60. So apart from the New XC90 and S90, you may as well bypass Volvo's range completely and just get the respective Ford, either Focus or Mondeo instead!

You don't really get how the motor development industry works do you...

Couldn't have put it better myself.

I am parodying here what people write about VAG group cars, esp in regard to Citytiger who claims all VAG group cars are the same because of the same underlying architecture, who yet manages to praise Volvos for their distinctiveness and specialness.

Actually if happen to actually carry out any investigation, the majority of the engineering of the so called Ford EUCD platform was carried out by Volvo, the last Mondeo was supposed to be on a modified Ford chassis, as were various JLR products, but the decision was changed because Volvos T5 and T6 engines would not fit. the T6 straight 6 petrol engine was originally designed to replace the T5 and be used by JLR and Volvo, but with the break up of the PAG group, it only saw service in Volvo products and the Freelander 2 in certain markets, the platform used by Volvo in the S/V60 is also changed from the original design to improve its crash test results. VAG just slap them together with different bodyshells, the XC60 which uses the EUCD modified platform is also the best selling midsized SUV in Europe, even though its due for imminent replacement. The majority of components in the current Volvo range are pure Volvo and not shared with other manufacturers, can Audi say the same? Volvo parts are designed for use by Volvo, Skoda parts are used by VW, Audi, SEAT and Porshce.

This is wrong. Volvo had 4 chassis engineers when they were owned by Ford, because the lions share of the design and engineering was conducted by Ford. This is on record and stated by Volvo (easily found via a google search) engineers who state they were resource constrained and limited in the degree of modification they could do to the Ford platforms. Volvo did have input regarding the fitment of T5 and T6 but in no way does this constitute "major development". You are also underestimating the sophistication and modular nature of the VAG MQB platform and the degree of differentiation possible between different products on the same platform. I will stop here save to say all the information is freely available on the net. You clearly have biases, as do we all. No one can convince me for instance the new Vauxhall Astra is any good. Lol.

Sporky McGuffin 5 April 2016

Citytiger wrote: VAG just

Citytiger wrote:

VAG just slap them together with different bodyshells

Citation needed.

bowsersheepdog 6 April 2016

Sporky McGuffin wrote:

Sporky McGuffin wrote:
Citytiger wrote:

VAG just slap them together with different bodyshells

Citation needed.

Sure you didn't mean certification?

Citytiger 6 April 2016

Sporky McGuffin wrote:

Sporky McGuffin wrote:
Citytiger wrote:

VAG just slap them together with different bodyshells

Citation needed.

Autocar wrote:

Jaguar is careful to use the word architecture rather than platform, because platform sounds like you’ve dropped a different body onto the same floor, it sounds a bit Volkswageney. But the effect is broadly similar

winniethewoo 4 April 2016

OMG the Ford EUCD platform

OMG the Ford EUCD platform also under pins the Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport! All they are, are jacked up Ford Mondeo's. Why would you even bother with them. Just buy a old shape Mondeo instead! You get the same underlying architecture!
winniethewoo 4 April 2016

A supposed "premium" car on a

A supposed "premium" car on a platform that isn't even fit for a non premium manufacturer like Ford! Why not just get a new Mondeo and move with the times?

Find an Autocar car review