Volvo could challenge the performance crossover market with an XC90 Polestar

Volvo XC90 R Design
Volvo XC90 R-Design
Volvo’s newly-purchased Polestar performance division has its work cut out for it, with plans to launch a higher-output version of the automaker’s four-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged engine and its hybrid drivetrain.

The new powertrain will substitute for the S60 and V60 Polestar’s current turbocharged straight-six engine and it may even find its way into a new Polestar model, based on the XC90 crossover.

The 2.0-litre Drive-E unit will pair a turbocharger and supercharger, along with an eight-speed automatic transmission, to become “as strong or even stronger” than the six-cylinder engine, said Niels Möller, Polestar’s Chief Operating Officer. That translates to at least 350 horsepower.

“With the new engine, weight will be reduced and power will increase, but there will be nearly half the CO2 emissions,” Möller said. “We believe the future performance cars must cope with environmental developments.” Möller went on to tell Autocar that Polestar’s access to Volvo hybrid tech means, “There will be performance hybrids, which use electrification to enhance performance, rather than worrying about range.”

“Everything is possible,” he said. “SUVs are hip. People really like them as urban cruisers, so why not have an XC car that can go on the track as well?” Mölller says Polestar is looking at every model in the Volvo range as potential performance variants. Keep in mind that while Polestar models have certainly meant higher levels of performance, they’ve not quite reached the levels of Germany’s M, AMG, and RS projects.

The future looks bright for Polestar, though, especially considering the tuning arm is returning to motorsport with S60 Polestar TC1 race cars for the 2016 FIA World Touring Car Championship. In the case of BMW’s M division, technology and tuning that has been proven in race settings often trickles down to production-spec models. Chances are, Polestar is looking to do the same.

Either way, the brand’s goals are set: double sales to 1500 models by 2016. While those numbers are far off the pace of its competitors, it’s a good start.

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