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
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.