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Volvo’s sporty Polestar models will remain a rare commodity, for now

It’s unlikely that there are many people looking for a high-performance Volvo, which means the low production volume of the brand’s Polestar models probably hasn’t been an issue so far.

The reputation of those models is beginning to grow, however, and with its recent purchase of formerly independent Polestar, Volvo is looking to turn the brand into a legitimate rival to the likes of BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG. To that end, the Swedish carmaker is increasing U.S. imports of Polestar models (somewhat).

Volvo was pleasantly surprised by customer response to the first Polestar models, and is now following through on a previous promise to build more. For the 2016 model year, it will bring 265 cars to the U.S., including both the S60 Polestar sedan and V60 Polestar wagon. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s well above the 80 wagons and 40 sedans Volvo imported for 2015.

As with that last batch, Volvo says the majority of cars made available to U.S. customers will be wagons. It expects 60 percent of the allocation to be V60s, and 40 percent to be S60s. That’s not surprising for a brand that built its reputation on boxy station wagons rather than sedans.

Volvo says engineers have made over 70 modifications to the Polestar models for 2016, although the fundamentals remain the same. A 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six produces 345 horsepower, which is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. The S60 Polestar does 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, while the V60 Polestar takes 4.8 seconds.

While the current Polestar models are pretty rare, the bright blue Polestar badge will probably become a more common sight over the next few years. Now that it owns Polestar, Volvo plans to boost production to 1,500 cars per year, up from the 750 cars sold globally for the 2015 model year.

That expanded production run will include a wider array of models. Volvo claims it will develop plug-in hybrid Polestars based on the “Twin Engine” powertrains developed for its more mainstream models. XC90 T8 Polestar, anyone?

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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