What is it?
On-the-up Volvo has recently unveiled an advanced new platform, a family of cutting-edge powertrains and a trio of gorgeous concepts. All of which is somewhat at odds with this, the first full production car to be offered in the UK from race-born Polestar Performance, Volvo's best-buds tuning house (think Gothenburg's Alpina).
For the Volvo V60 Polestar is a more traditional offering, using the recently departed V60 T6 as its base, which means a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six and six-speed auto 'box (both legacies of Ford ownership) powering all four wheels. It comes in the wake of 2012's 501bhp S60 Polestar 'concept' working prototype.
Polestar's upgrades are deep-running and plentiful. Chassis mods include springs 80 per cent stiffer than Volvo's firmest, manually adjustable Ohlins dampers, stiffer anti-roll bars and a carbonfibre-reinforced front strut for snappier steering - all tuned to accommodate 20in rims.
A twin-scroll Borg Warner turbo, new intercooler and freer-flowing exhaust push output to 345bhp and 369lb ft: 15 per cent hikes over the old T6. The paddle-equipped self-shifter has been thoroughly recalibrated, while a fifth-gen Haldex coupling (lifted from the S60 concept) apportions torque; normally front axle-biased, it defaults to 50/50 with the traction control dialled down, when accelerating or cornering hard. Enlarged Brembo discs with six-pot front calipers work with reconfigured traction control.
Exterior tweaks are subtle, ticking the habitual splitter, diffuser and spoiler boxes. Cabin upgrades are mostly restrained, too: the sports seats (supportive and generously padded) and steering wheel are clad in nubuck and leather, complementing the V60's premium plastics and smart layout, but the transparent gearknob topper and centre console's carbonfibre are incongruously brash.