Pure Progressive Performance: Polestar Shines Bright
An all-new high-performance sub-brand has announced its arrival and plans. Volvo’s Polestar shows the way forward, reveals Polestar 1: the first of three cars slated for introduction from 2019
Following an investment of €640 million (Rs 4,864 crore) in Polestar by Volvo Car Corporation and Geely Holdings, the highperformance arm has revealed the first car from their portfolio of new hybrid and electric vehicles. The very first model from Volvo Car Corp’s high-performance subsidiary, Polestar, has finally surfaced in the form of a 600-PS performance GT car: Polestar 1.
The Polestar 1 is styled heavily on the Volvo Concept Coupé, shown back in 2013. Although it is based on the SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform that underpins the new 60 and 90 lines of cars, it is almost 50 per cent new, and rather bespoke, resulting in a cutting-edge twodoor, four-seater coupé model. It aims to be a proper driver’s car and the effort gone into development and its equipment list second that. The frame itself uses a shortened version of the SPA platform that fuses a carbon-fibre ‘dragonfly’ in the floorpan between the middle and the rear, with an aluminium subframe forming the rear. The track widths are wider and the body is lower, more squat. The A- and B-pillars and the roof-line are made from carbon-fibre.
This has saved 230 kg of weight and improved torsional rigidity by 45 per cent.
There are three battery packs ― one in the centre tunnel and two in the rear ― forming the ‘Powerhouse’ that cools, manages, and inverts power; a total of 34 kWh. The weight? 230 kg; exactly the same as that saved from construction. This also leads to a lower centre of gravity and a near perfect weight distribution: 48:52 front to rear. At the nerve centre is Öhlins fifthgeneration Controlled Electronic Suspension (CES i). Akebono developed brakes, including 400-mm front vented discs with six-piston calipers, bring the stopping power, with Pirelli P-Zero rubber connecting it to the road. The double electric rear axle packs torque vectoring, which, rather than brake the inner wheels, accelerates the outer wheels for greater, more precise acceleration and maximum grip.
The styling is akin to the S90/V90 to retain its inherent heritage. Thor’s Hammer signature LE D headlamps flank the sides of a sporty, more aggressive front grille actually devoid of the traditional diagonal Volvo chrome slat and Iron Mark. It bears a new badge, the Polestar logo, atop the bonnet. Sleek and curvy lines make it appear sharper and sportier, with a pronounced squat when viewed rearwards. The sloping coupé roofline also has a roof made of glass. Think of it as an extremely sporty S60 coupé; a spiritual C60, if you will.
Inside, the layout is akin to its Volvo siblings; more precisely, the S90, with the huge touchscreen centre display with familiar information dials. The wood trim is replaced by carbon-fibre; underscoring its sport credentials. The major difference in here, again, is the Polestar logo, and not the Iron Mark, on the steering wheel. Expect nothing but high-quality comfort seating in this 2+2 seater GT , with highly considerate ergonomics, embodying the company’s reincarnated sporty side.
What’s even more remarkable is the powertrain. The ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’, as Polestar call it, essentially makes for an electric car supported by a combustion engine. It promises 150 km of pure electric range. The engine drives the front wheels with two electric motors powering each of the rear wheels individually. The layout is akin to the XC90 T8 we have here: the 1,969-cc four-cylinder engine makes about 340 PS and 450 Nm. Two 80-kW (109-PS equivalent) electric motors are at the rear. A 34-kW (46-PS equivalent) motor works as the ISG (integrated starter generator). The combined peak output is 600 PS and 1,000 Nm.
The new Polestar 1 will be produced at a dedicated state-of-the-art new car facility that’s being built in Chengdu, due to be completed by the middle of 2018. Production will commence in the first half of 2019. Polestar 1 order books opened on 17 October.
Polestar will also move away from the traditional ownership experience by being almost completely digital. The car is available online only, on a two- or three-year subscription basis. The monthly subscription includes zero deposit, insurance, pick-up, delivery, servicing, and roadside assistance. More individual features can be availed of through the Polestar App and Polestar On Demand: alternative rentals within the Volvo and Polestar family; accessories such as a roof-box; airport pick-up, clean, and return (for the car). The focus is on driving pleasure, with Polestar taking care of every other aspect. There will also be a network of ‘Polestar Spaces’ around the world for a more personal experience with the new brand and its car line.
The second car, Polestar 2, will be an allelectric model and will be revealed in the second half of 2019. It will be a battery electric vehicle aimed squarely at the Tesla Model 3. The third car, the Polestar 3, will be a low, powerful-bodied SUV based on the secondgeneration SPA platform, and will arrive later.