Volvo S60 Polestar: Is this 508 hp Swede too hot for the street?

Volvo S60 PolestarSometimes, the best things in life are unexpected. Volvo is known as a purveyor of safe and sensible Swedish cars, but this electric blue machine bucks the trend. Volvo, along with Polestar Performance, took an S60 sedan and gave it 508 horsepower to create the insane S60 Polestar concept.

Unveiled at the Gothenburg City Race over the weekend, the Polestar started life as a normal S60 T6. Polestar, which makes aftermarket performance parts for Volvos, turned up the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six’s boost, and reinforced the rest of the engine to handle the extra power. Strengthened connecting rods, as well as modified heads, combustion chambers, inlet manifold, and intake allow the souped-up engine to produce 508 horsepower and 424 pound-feet of torque without blowing up.

The result is a four-door sedan that can do zero to 62 mph (0-100 kph) in 3.9 seconds, and top out at over 180 mph. To put things in perspective, that’s faster than a BMW M3 sedan, which has a 4.0-liter V8, but only 414 hp.

Polestar didn’t stop in the engine bay, either. Like all good performance cars, the S60 has a manual transmission, in this case a specially-reinforced six-speed. The stock Haldex all-wheel drive system was also modified for better performance. The all-wheel drive traction should keep the S60 Polestar from spinning its wheels, while custom Öhlins suspension pieces keep body roll in check.

The normally staid S60 also got an exterior makeover. The chassis was widened (20 mm in front, 40 mm in the back) and lowered 30 mm. The lower ride height, combined with the new, wider fenders, make the S60 Polestar look pretty serious. Unless, you’re on acid, the paint job might be a bit too bright, but it definitely gets attention. Finishing off the visual upgrades are a new set of 19-inch alloy wheels. Volvo S60 Polestar rear three-quarter view

With so much horsepower coupled to six-speed stick in a relatively compact body, the S60 Polestar has the makings of a great sports sedan. Besides BMW’s M3, it could rival the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and Lexus IS-F. The M3 is the best of the breed, and the Volvo is already faster. Could it win buyers away from the hallowed Bavarian?

Sadly, that contest will remain hypothetical. The S60 Polestar may look ready to drive, but it is actually a one-off prototype built for one client. Volvo said it could sell copies of the car if there was enough demand, but it currently has no plans to do so.

This isn’t the first time Volvo has teased performance enthusiasts with a one-off “concept.” A few years ago, Volvo and Polestar collaborated to build a 415 hp version of the C30 hatchback, which sported flared fenders from a Swedish Touring Car, and the same electric blue paint. Apparently, there wasn’t enough demand for the C30 Polestar either.

There may not be a lot of demand for a 508 hp Volvo, but that doesn’t mean the company should shelve it. Sometimes, people don’t know what they want until they see it. They need more unexpected pleasures.