Volvo’s electrified Polestar-badged sports appear certain to zap your senses

When Volvo bought tuner Polestar in 2015, executives remained tight-lipped about their plans. The Swedish brand has finally broken its silence, announcing Polestar will become a full-blown, high-performance sub-brand that puts an unabashed focus on electrification.

Electric performance is like giving Benjamin Franklin a full pint of Red Bull. A decade ago, the concept of performance without octane seemed downright wild. Companies like Tesla, Porsche, and McLaren have proved the instant torque of an electric motor can be harnessed to provide acceleration figures that are, well … electrifying.

Additional details about what Polestar will become in the coming years are still few and far between. Volvo’s T8 plug-in hybrid drivetrain makes a generous 400 horsepower in its most basic state of tune, and it’s not difficult to imagine that engineers can bump its output by updating the hardware and tweaking the software.

It’s not just about hybrids, though. Volvo is busily developing its very first all-electric car, and it plans to release the model — which hasn’t been given a name yet — no later than 2019. It’s not too far-fetched to speculate that the all-electric car will also get the Polestar treatment. Volvo may not be synonymous with performance, but it’s already shown what it’s capable of with the acclaimed V60 Polestar.

“Polestar will be a credible competitor in the emerging global market for high-performance electrified cars. With Polestar, we are able to offer electrified cars to the world’s most demanding, progressive drivers in all market segments,” promises company boss Håkan Samuelsson. His statement suggests the brand will ultimately develop a full portfolio of products, ranging from nimble city cars to big, family-friendly SUVs.

Volvo put Polestar in capable hands. It appointed Thomas Ingenlath as the division’s CEO. Previously, he worked as the senior vice president of the company’s design department. He’s largely responsible for the design language that defines recent additions to the Volvo lineup, including the XC60.

What we don’t know is when the first Polestar-tuned electrified Volvo will break cover. When it does arrive, it will give established performance brands like Mercedes-AMG and BMW M something to worry about.


Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.

The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.