In 1996, Swedish racer Jan ‘Flash’ Nilsson founded a team called Flash Engineering. The mission was to run the factory Volvo team in the inaugural Swedish Touring Car Championship. In 2004, chief mechanic Christian Dahl became the owner of Flash Engineering, and in 2005, he changed its name to Polestar, representing the frozen north of Sweden while also playing on the connection to pole position and a star of racing.
In 2015, Volvo Cars purchased the performance unit of Polestar, making it the performance-car brand of Volvo Cars.
Last week, Volvo Auto India launched the S60 Polestar; we drive it on the Kari Motor Speedway near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
Looks are deceiving
Just by glancing at the S60 Polestar, you probably wouldn’t suspect that this car is one of the world’s best in power, performance and agility. Look closely, however, and you’d realise that the S60 Polestar is inspired by 20 years of motorsport experience – the meticulously designed aerodynamic exterior, including front splitters, twin-exhaust pipes, and rear spoiler and diffusor for high-speed stability, is ample proof of that.
What add to its appearance are the Michelin tyres, 20-inch lightweight rims and Brembo 371mm disc brakes on all wheels. In addition, there’s a blue-coloured Polestar branding at the front, rear and on the rims that differentiates it from the regular S60 sedan.
Treat your senses
The layout of S60 Polestar’s cabin is similar to that of the S60 sedan, but there are thoughtful touches that set it apart. For example, Polestar branding on the gear lever and blue stitching on the racing car-inspired seats. Because it’s a Volvo, luxury is a given. Simply touching the material used inside the cabin is a treat to senses, so good is the quality. Unlike most other performance-oriented cars, the rear seats of the S60 Polestar are very comfortable; it’s a performance car you can use to get chauffeured to office.
Performance is exhilarating
Press the brake, shift into the Drive mode, release the brake and floor the accelerator pedal. In under a second you’d feel that everything around you is being fast-forwarded. That feeling is courtesy the 2.0-litre petrol engine that delivers a peak power of 376bhp and a torque of 470Nm. The result is a 0-100kph sprint in just 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 250kph.
Essentially, Polestar took the regular S60 engine and added a bigger turbo, a supercharger, new conrods, new camshafts, a larger air intake and a higher-capacity fuel pump to augment it, and matched it with a BorgWarner four-wheel drive system and the new Polestar-optimised eight-speed Geartronic automatic
gearbox. The result is exhilarating performance.
Handling is inspiring
This powerhouse of a car is not only engaging to drive, its handling is precise too. The Kari Motor Speedway track resembles Indian roads to an extent, and we found that from the twisting corners to the high-speed straight, each component of the S60 Polestar appeared to maximise drivability and control.
Pricing is sensible
Somehow, Volvo has been able to price it at just Rs 52.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Its closest competitors are Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 and Mercedes-AMG C 43 – both are priced above Rs 70 lakh. Even Ford Mustang is priced higher – at over Rs 65 lakh – as is Audi S5.
The S60 Polestar is not only remarkably quick, it combines Polestar’s 20 years of racing pedigree with Volvo’s engineering heritage and safety. It is an affordable racing car that you can use every day of the year, on almost all kinds of roads.