For fam­ily- friendly rac­ing

Volvo’s go- faster team have turned the S60 into a cham­pion with­out los­ing sight of safety

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

WHEN you ask most petrol­heads to name the first car they can think of that is all speed and power, few of them will an­swer “Volvo”.

They will in­stead say Volvo is all about seat belts and clever head rests that are de­signed to stop all those whiplash in­juries from a rear- end col­li­sion caused by the Volvo soc­cer mum’s sud­den brak­ing.

But say “S60” or V60 and all in­formed petrol­heads will go “aaaah, THOSE Volvos”. I have fond mem­o­ries of es­pe­cially the S60R, which had so much torque steer one al­most had to sit on the front pas­sen­ger’s lap to hold it straight on a pull off. ( Which, in­ci­den­tally, was also my ex­cuse with the girl­friend at the time.)

Then came the Volvo T6 AWD, a car so strong Wheels likened its abil­ity to in­duce fear and fun to that of the world’s most in­sane roller coaster — the Tower of Ter­ror II in Queens­land Aus­tralia. Now Volvo has wrung those New­tons some more to pro­duce the quick­est cars yet from the forges at its per­for­mance brand, Polestar. This lat­est ver­sion makes 270 kW and 470 Nm — but is still one of the world’s safest fam­ily cars.

The best news is a few of the 1 500 built an­nu­ally will again be ex­ported to South Africa as well.

This safe fam­ily sedan goes from idling at the start­ing line to 100 km/ h in just 4,7 sec­onds and is lim­ited to a top speed of 250 km/ h, pow­ered by a spe­cially- en­hanced ver­sion of Volvo’s award- win­ning four cylin­der Drive- E pow­er­train.

Polestar said in a state­ment it had taken the orig­i­nal S60 with a highly- ad­vanced 2,0- litre four cylin­der Drive- E en­gine and added a big­ger turbo, a su­per­charger, new con­rods, new camshafts, a larger air in­take and a higher ca­pac­ity fuel pump to aug­ment the en­gine, and matched it with a BorgWarner four- wheel drive sys­tem and the new Polestar- op­ti­mised eight- speed Geartronic au­to­matic gear­box.

Polestar also re­duced the car’s weight by 24 kg over the front axle alone. “These cars are prop­erly quick,” says Niels Möller, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Polestar. “But they are more than that. They com­bine Polestar’s 20 years of rac­ing pedi­gree with Volvo’s in­her­ent prag­ma­tism and en­gi­neer­ing her­itage. These are very fast cars that you can use ev­ery day of the year.”

But be­fore you rush to or­der yours, con­sider adding the manda­tory roll cage that makes the new Volvo V60 Polestar the world’s safest safety car.

These V60s run in front and be­hind the pack in the FIA World Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship ( WTCC), and is equipped with a roll cage as well as res­cue and com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment in or­der to meet the rig­or­ous tech­ni­cal and safety re­quire­ments set by the FIA and WTCC pro­moter, Eurosport Events

Wheels has con­firmed with Brent El­lis from Volvo SA that these V60 pace cars still have their full com­ple­ment of airbags apart from the sturdy pro­tec­tion of­fered by the steel pipes of the roll cage, which makes this sedan not just prop­erly quick, but also prop­erly safe.

Rac­ing is in their genes

The two S60 Polestar traces its her­itage to the Volvo S60 Polestar TC1, the all- new FIA World Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship ( WTCC) race car from Polestar Cyan Rac­ing.

The new road cars use the same base chas­sis, en­gine and phi­los­o­phy of the team be­hind their devel­op­ment. While used in vastly dif­fer­ent ar­eas, these cars share more than just tech­nol­ogy.

The race and road cars fea­ture a fur­ther- de­vel­oped four- cylin­der Drive- E en­gine, with the twolitre, twin charged en­gine of the Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar pro- duc­ing 270 kW and 470 Nm.

De­spite the in­creased per­for­mance, fuel con­sump­tion and emis­sions are at a class- lead­ing level of 7,8- litres per 100 km and 179 g/ km CO2, fur­ther prov­ing the ef­fi­ciency of the Volvo’s Drive- E pow­er­train.

Hen­rik Fries, vice pres­i­dent R& D, Polestar, con­cludes: “All changes made to the car are about im­prov­ing driv­abil­ity and ef­fi­ciency. The base of the new en­gine car­ries mo­tor­sport tech­nol­ogy with so­lu­tions like the com­bi­na­tion of turbo and su­per­charger, light­weight ma­te­ri­als and more. This works hand- in­hand with our core phi­los­o­phy and has en­abled us to evolve the Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar.”

Other new fea­tures on the cars in­clude new 20- inch light­weight wheels, Polestar- cal­i­brated elec­tro- as­sisted power steer­ing and new slot­ted front brake discs, mea­sur­ing 371 mm in di­am­e­ter.

It all seems to be work­ing

This week­end, Thed Björk and Fredrik Ek­blom scored world cham­pi­onship points in the FIA World Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship race week­end, held at Cir­cuit Paul Ri­card in France.

Björk pro­vided the best show of the week­end in the first race where he climbed from last po­si­tion on the grid to fin­ish sev­enth, pass­ing nine cars.

“I am re­ally pleased with the week­end. We have proof that we are on pace. We had some is­sues but that is to be ex­pected and the team has done an amaz­ing work with the car. I can’t wait to get to the next race in Slo­vakia,” said Björk.

Team- mate Ek­blom was next to score world cham­pi­onship points in the sec­ond race, cross­ing the line in 10th po­si­tion af­ter a tough fight with, among oth­ers, for­mer world cham­pion Rob Huff.

“We had a good first race and I am de­lighted to leave Paul Ri­card with points. The car is quick and I am long­ing for us to sink our teeth in all the data we have gath­ered in or­der to sharpen our knives even fur­ther ahead of the rest of the sea­son,” said Ek­blom.

A few tech­ni­cal is­sues arose at the de­but week­end, with a bro­ken rear sus­pen­sion for Ek­blom in race one af­ter an in­ci­dent and an elec­tri­cal prob­lem for Björk in race two. But both showed com­pet­i­tive pace with an all- new car and pro­gramme for Polestar Cyan Rac­ing.

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

This Volvo S60 is still safe enough for the whole fam­ily, but has proven to be blis­ter­ingly fast in the FIA World Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship race over the week­end.

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