Volvo’s Polestar hot rods have been around for awhile, but they’re still rare, and the idea of a high-performance Volvo painted acid-trip blue is still very amusing.
Both the 2017 Volvo S60 Polestar sedan and V60 Polestar wagon get a thorough refresh for the new model year. They look basically the same on the outside, but underneath there’s a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from Volvo’s “Drive-E” line, replacing the old 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six.
The new engine is both turbocharged and supercharged, and produces a stout 367 horsepower. That’s 27 hp more than the old engine, although torque decreases from 369 pound-feet to 346 lb-ft. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are mandatory.
Both cars will now do 0 to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds, cutting 0.3 second from the old versions. Top speed is still limited to 155 mph. The quicker acceleration is due not only to the extra power, but also some weight loss. Volvo says both models are 44 pounds lighter than before. Polestar also retuned the cars’ electric power steering, and added larger front brake rotors.
Since it purchased Polestar last year, Volvo has schemed to turn it into a full-on performance sub-brand like BMW M or Mercedes-AMG. That process will start with larger production runs. Volvo plans to grow Polestar sales from 750 units last year (just 265 cars were imported to the U.S.) to 1,500 in the medium term. Polestar started out as an independent company building performance parts for Volvo, and was eventually contracted to manage its racing and performance road-car operations before being bought outright.
Eventually, the Swedish manufacturer also plans to introduce more models, including some with plug-in hybrid powertrains. Right now, Volvo offers the same T8 “Twin Engine” powertrain in the XC90 crossover and S90 sedan, so it seems logical that those models could be the first Polestar plug-in hybrids. They probably look good in blue.