Volvo tuner Polestar will harness electrification to take on AMG and BMW M

2017 Volvo V90
Sweden’s Volvo is looking to renew ties with its illustrious racing heritage. The company recently bought tuner Polestar after working closely with the brand for years, and it has outlined how it expects the investment will lead to more engaging, driver-focused machines.

Polestar will become an in-house performance division. That means it will be to Volvo what Mercedes-AMG is to Mercedes-Benz, and what BMW M is to BMW. Polestar-badged models will be positioned near the top of the company’s lineup, though they’ll undoubtedly sit a rung below the ultra-luxurious Excellence-branded cars.

Volvo has previously made it crystal clear that it’s done building six- and eight-cylinder engines for good, so it wouldn’t make sense for Polestar to stuff a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8 under the hood of the new V90 station wagon (pictured). Instead, the tuner plans to build cars capable of keeping up with AMG- and M-badged machines by harnessing the power of electrification. It’s not too far-fetched to assume engineers will start with Volvo’s T8 drivetrain, which pairs a four-cylinder engine that’s both turbocharged and supercharged with a powerful electric motor.

Polestar will build faster versions of existing Volvo cars, but it’s not interested in building a stand-alone, race-ready model like the Mercedes-AMG GT and the Porsche 911.

“In the end we are Volvo and we go our own way. Copycat does not make any sense. We’re not going to make the ultimate racing car; we want to make performance cars that are usable day in and day out, and that’s what Polestar reflects,” explained Lex Kerssemakers, the head of Volvo’s North American division, in an interview with Australian website Motoring.

As of writing Volvo sells one full-blown Polestar-tuned model — the S60 — and a handful of Polestar parts typically bundled in a performance package. Managers are busily integrating Polestar into Volvo, and we expect that at least one additional Polestar-tuned model will make its debut next year.

Cars

Volvo plans to face the future without sacrificing its identity

Volvo is embarking on an ambitious push to fill its lineup with electric and hybrid cars, as well as an infotainment partnership with Google. Volvo Americas CEO Anders Gustafsson explains how the Swedish automaker plans to pull that off.
Product Review

Fiat’s revised 500 Abarth is an Italian thrill ride anyone can afford

We head to Streets of Willow with Fiat’s performance-tuned 500 to see what this diminutive hot hatch can do.
Cars

This glow-in-the-dark, scorpion-skinned Fiat 500 Abarth helps fight cancer

Fiat's Abarth division has teamed up with a Dutch artist to create a one-of-a-kind 500 painted with pieces of scorpion skin. Rest assured that no scorpions were harmed to create this hot hatch; a scorpion molts 16 times in its life.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

Volkswagen’s next-generation lights will keep you safer, look good doing it

Volkswagen's new smart LED headlights, called IQ.Light, don't just light up the road in front of you to keep you, other drivers, and pedestrians safe. They also look dang good while doing it.
Cars

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second electric car will fill a new niche

Porsche surprised us at the Geneva Auto Show with an electric station wagon named Mission E Cross Turismo. Though it's a concept car, it could become a production model after the Mission E sedan arrives in showrooms.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

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!
Cars

Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford briefly flashed an enigmatic new model in a minute-long commercial starring Bryan Cranston. Its front end borrows styling cues from the 2019 Mustang, but it doesn't have a grille and its emblem is back-lit.
Cars

Tesla drops Full Self-Driving option from online configurator to spare ‘confusion’

Tesla no longer offers a Full Self-Driving (FSD) option for Models S, X, and 3 in the company's online configuration tool. CEO Elon Musk said the FSD option caused confusion. Its software validation and regulatory approval could take years.
Cars

U.K. on-demand car service plans autonomous vehicles in London by 2021

U.K.-based Addison Lee and Oxbotica allied to serve the connected and autonomous vehicle services market. Addison Lee is an established executive car service and Oxbotica develops self-driving car systems and fleet management software.
Cars

Protect yourself (and maybe capture something crazy) with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Drive.ai's free on-demand self-driving car service is now available in Frisco

After deploying its self-driving shuttles in Frisco, California-based start-up Drive.ai is launching a second pilot program in Arlington. Riding in a shuttle -- which operates in a geo-fenced area -- is free.
Cars

Ford’s self-driving cars hit the streets of the nation’s capital

Ford is deploying self-driving cars in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate their capabilities to lawmakers and ordinary citizens alike. The automaker plans to launch a production autonomous car in 2021.
Emerging Tech

World’s first drone-equipped motorcycle features a special space for the Spark

If your sidecar is missing a drone or your drone a sidecar, then check out how the two machines have been brought together in this unique design from Ural Motorcycles. Only 40 have been made, though that may turn out to be enough.