Blue Vik­ing pow­er­ful but needs an au­to­matic

It may only be a con­cept but an asyet un­named US mil­lion­aire has al­ready bought an S60 Polestar, notes Dave Moore

South Waikato News - - ECO FRIENDLY FEATURE -

The Volvo S60 Polestar con­cept made its world de­but last week on Satur­day at the an­nual Gothen­burg City Arena race in Swe­den. Based on the Swedish com­pany’s S60 T6 sedan, the car has been de­vel­oped for Volvo by its rac­ing and tun­ing part­ner, Polestar.

Volvo says that ‘‘a small se­ries of Polestar mod­i­fied S60s may be built pend­ing mar­ket re­sponse’’.

Ru­mour had it that the car used a mod­i­fied ver­sion of Volvo’s Yamaha-en­gi­neered quad-cam V8, as the posted per­for­mance fig­ures were judged as im­pos­si­ble with any­thing less.

Hav­ing spent a lot of time por­ing un­der the bon­net of the car last week, I can re­port that the car uses a trans­verse three-litre in­line tur­bocharged six, just like the pro­duc­tion T6 S60.

That car is no slug, with 300kW, a zero to 100kmh time of 6.1 sec­onds and a top speed of 250kmh. Mod­i­fi­ca­tions in­clud­ing work on the cylin­der head, com­bus­tion cham­bers, in­let man­i­fold and air in­take, along with the fit­ment of a larger Gar­ret 3171 turbo means that 508kW is now avail­able at 6500rpm with 575Nm of torque at 5500rpm.

The S60 Polestar has re-tuned Haldex all­wheel-drive and a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion. To com­pete in its in­tended mar­ket, I re­marked that it should have a two-pedal self shifter, ide­ally a pow­ershift dou­ble-clutch unit that some com­peti­tors use. I was told that for the per­for­mance and the cus­tomers they were look­ing at, Polestar and Volvo pre­ferred the man­ual.

The Polestar car has also been low­ered by 20mm over the stan­dard T6, and Oh­lins sus­pen­sion re­places the stock setup. Mas­sive Brembo brakes are fit­ted, as with most re­ally se­ri­ous sports sedans.

And this car IS se­ri­ous. A zero to 100kmh time of 3.8 sec­onds is quoted and a 300kmh top speed, right in the realm of Mercedes-Benzs C63 AMG whose huge 451kW V8 donk hits 100kmh in 4.4 sec­onds on the way to an elec­tron­i­cally lim­ited 250kmh. BMW’s M3 also en­ters con­ver­sa­tions and it can be as­sumed that the cyan-blue ma­chine is in­tended to be a hero for the Swedish com­pany lineup, like the C63 and M3 are for Benz and BMW.

Polestar can be com­mended for stick­ing with a typ­i­cally sub­tle Volvo route for styling. The car’s widened tracks re­quired a sim­i­lar 20mm stretch of the car’s front and rear wheel arches, which now ac­com­mo­date a set of 19-inch al­loy rims shod with 265/30 R19 tires. A re­vamped nose has a sub­tle air­flow split­ter and the car’s side skirts are no more ob­vi­ous than a stan­dard T6’s.

Polestar fits sport seats from Re­caro, with Al­can­tara for the wear­ing sur­faces as well as the steer­ing rim and gear lever, and Polestar’s test driv­ers have had the cen­tre con­sole low­ered to al­low for el­bow room with the man­ual shift. So what is the S60 Polestar re­ally like to drive? Hav­ing been taken around Volvo’s Gothen­burg test track first by the tal­ented racer and test­driver Erik Dahlgren, a hand­ful of jour­nal­ists, in­clud­ing yours truly waited their turn be­hind the wheel. On the nar­row and wickedly off-cam­ber track, the Polestar car racks up mas­sive side­forces and feels ev­ery bit as quick as its posted sub-four-sec­ond zero to 100kmh time, while the engine noise is shrill to the point of goose­bump in­duc­ing.

There’s some torque steer and all the power comes with a rush about 1500rpm be­low the engine’s red-line, right in the meat of the torque de­liv­ery, while the clutch takeup is right at the top of the pedal’s travel. I’m told.

I’m told, what do you mean. ‘‘I’m told?’’ You might ask.

Well, just be­fore my turn at the wheel, ner­vous, hav­ing seen the brake-light points on the back straight, and vow­ing not to il­lu­mi­nate mine early, like some driv­ers did, an Aus­tralian col­league to­tally lunched the clutch on the car.

Bug­ger! I did tell them the car would be no good with­out an au­to­matic.

For Polestar to sell se­ri­ous num­bers of this car, it will have to carve its one-off cost of US$300,000 in two.

So let’s call it a NZ$180,000 car in New Zealand as a se­ries pro­duc­tion car. With an­other $3000 for that au­to­matic it most def­i­nitely needs.

POLESTAR S60: Sub­tle treat­ment be­lies the car’s true po­ten­tial, even in tell­tale cyan blue.

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