For family- friendly racing
Volvo’s go- faster team have turned the S60 into a champion without losing sight of safety
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.
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.