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Volvo's S90 could get a lot sportier with Polestar plug-in hybrid model

The Volvo S90 may have just been revealed, but there’s already speculation about a sporty Polestar version. Volvo’s in-house performance division is expected to introduce more models over the next few years, so why not start with the company’s new flagship?

That’s apparently the plan, according to a new report from Autocar. In conversations at the car’s launch, Volvo executives said an S90 Polestar is definitely a possibility. A Polestar version of an expected V90 wagon could happen as well, and both models may use hybrid powertrains.

When Volvo purchased Polestar earlier this year, it mentioned plans to develop performance plug-in hybrid models. Building performance hybrids is seen as a way to reconcile Polestar’s sporty image with Volvo’s desire to be seen as environmentally responsible. Even for a company with as staid a reputation as Volvo’s, a rival to the likes of BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG is now necessary to be taken seriously in the luxury field.

Related: Volvo XC90 gets mild Polestar upgrades, more could be on the way

An S90 Polestar could use a powertrain based off the base model’s, which means there are both hybrid and non-hybrid options. In the U.S., the S90 will be offered with two turbocharged four-cylinder engines, as well as a version of the T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain used in the XC90. This configuration will already be good for 407 horsepower in the non-Polestar S90, allowing for a 0 to 62 mph time of 5.2 seconds, Volvo has said.

Polestar started out as an independent company focused on tuning and racing Volvos. It grew more closely aligned with Volvo itself through factory-backed racing efforts and development of the current S60 and V60 Polestar models. And now that it’s owned entirely by Volvo, Polestar is expected to offer a wider variety of models, and in larger quantities.

Volvo hopes to grow Polestar sales from 750 units this year (with just 265 imported to the U.S.) to 1,500 per year in the medium term. Adding more models will make that easier, and plug-in hybrid powertrains will help distinguish Polestar from its more established rivals.