The 13-mile long Nürburgring track in Germany has morphed into another promotional tool for automakers. From Hyundai to Ferrari, car companies head to the Green Hell to outdo each other and vociferously brag about the results. Volvo earned coveted bragging rights last year, but it surprisingly decided to keep quiet.
Polestar — Volvo’s in-house speed division — explains its team remained at the ‘Ring after last year’s FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) race to carry out tests away from the prying eyes of spy photographers and iPhone-wielding fans. The company’s mission was to push the S60 Polestar to its limit for a few days, and gather valuable data for future car programs.
Driven by a professional pilot, a fully stock S60 Polestar lapped the Nürburgring in seven minutes, 51 seconds, and 11 milliseconds. Polestar wasn’t out to set a record, but the blue sedan nonetheless became the fastest regular-production four-door car around the track.
“Being Swedish, we didn’t want to shout about the record. Just learn from the experience,” explains the company.
Volvo didn’t hang on to the record for long. A twin-turbocharged, 503-horsepower V6 engine helped the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio go around the track in seven minutes and 39 seconds. In July of last year, the brand-new second-generation Porsche Panamera Turbo set a new record for regular-production four-door sedans by lapping the ‘Ring in seven minutes and 38 seconds, barely a second faster than the Giulia.
Alfa Romeo fired back. A Giulia Quadrifoglio equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission set the current record of seven minutes and 32 seconds.
Polestar doesn’t use ‘Ring times for marketing purposes, so it won’t try to recapture the crown from Alfa Romeo. However, it promises the lessons learned while carrying out tests on one of the most grueling tracks in the world will be applied to future race cars, and upcoming Polestar-badged models.