Take a three litre capacity straight six and bolt on an uprated twin scroll “hairdryer”, and you’ll have one more killer watt delivered 250 revs lower than before (now 258 kW at 5250 revs with redline of 6500). The monstrous torque delivery remains the same at over 500 Nm (3000 to 4750 revs) and puts power down via all four paws through a six speed auto with specific Polestar calibration. It’s moving a slightly less heavier vehicle, at 1766 kg, as opposed to 1770 kg previously but rated overall economy remains at 10.2L/100 km. Polestar gets an extra level of tech, with Launch Control, adjustable suspension thanks to Ohlins, Brembo brakes, power’s put down via the Generation 5 Haldex AWD system and the engine breathes out via stainless steel pipes. Fuel tank size remains unchanged at 67.5L.
The 2015 S60 Polestar is a compact looking, short tailed, long bonneted beauty, with overt and subtle curves, plus the same single sensually curved crease line joining the headlights to the rear lights. It’s not tall at just 1484mm in height, is compact at 4635mm in length and has front/rear track of 1588mm/1585mm, sits on a wheelbase of 2776mm and has had some minor but noticeable external Polestar additions, including a restyled front bumper with extra chin on Polestar, a larger bootlip spoiler, different looking and bigger alloys, up one inch in diameter to 20 instead of 19. The design of the wheels has changed more to a tuning fork style and looks fantastic. There’s the same gloss look black highlights for the external mirrors, doors and grille, with Polestar badging.
Passengers are spoiled by being given comfortable and supportive Polestar highlighted leather seats, which are both electrically motivated in Polestar and heated for front and back. Being black leather, it would be nice to have a cooling option for Australia’s hotter conditions. There’s the floating centre console (a semi carbon fibre look) and the gorgeous fully digital dash display. Polestar gets “Engineered By Polestar” in the door sills. It’s a comfortable workspace, a good looking one however the compact design did make it cozy for three in the back, with 1401mm shoulder room and 1359mm hip room on offer, plus just 852mm leg room. The overall size of the car also contributes to the comparatively small boot space, at just 380L, but there is a ski port through to the main cabin.
The information screens that Volvo allows you to choose, including the “Themes” look great, as does the satnav, however I still query the way the info is set up to be accessed, with the various jog dials and buttons only working for what is on the screen. The former start system, that required a key fob to be inserted and press a button, has now changed to being keyless in the sense the slot handily provided for the fob now doesn’t need the fob to be put there. There’s plenty of tech on board, including CitySafe, a radar system that’ll apply the brakes automatically if it senses a vehicle (or anything big enough) in its path, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Information System and more. Naturally, there’s plenty of unseen driver aids like ABS, traction control and more safety with airbags aplenty.
The headlight switch is down to the right, above the driver’s knee, as are switches for boot and petrol lid; they work however, ergonomically, they’re out of line of sight. The tiller has a couple of flat spots left and right, just enough to place the palms and get a secure grip plus there’s a velour on the inside to help with that grip.
The sound system is from Harmon Kardon, a high end manufacturer and, via 12 speakers, sounds clear with depth, punch and separation. The interface to find or store a different station is still unforgivably fiddly.
Being physically unchanged in regards to dimensions, it’s still a comfortable situation for four but three abreast would be a squeeze in the back seat.
On The Road.
The Polestar does have a “woofle” to the exhaust on startup and idle whilst getting a touch metallic and a mite drony under way…When given the command, the six draws a deep breath and spits out torque. Acceleration? The six speed in the Polestar is reactive enough, rarely found wanting for the right ratio and is quick to move via Sports mode. There’s proprietary software on board, allowing the ‘box to be put in Sports mode, play with the traction control or DTSC as it’s known, however I can’t help but feel that if a seven or eight speed box was fitted the economy of the car would improve…but that torque….wow, it winds up quickly from idle, getting into rapid motivation territory very quickly.
It’s taut, the suspension in the Polestar, and there’s enough suppleness to provide a measure of comfort, a measure of compliance with just enough give initially to not break the teeth. Tipping the Polestar into turns also produced surefooted handling, with minimal push on understeer backed up by a settling of the chassis when the go pedal was pressed, the rear squatting onto its haunches.
Polestar is a hard edged vehicle, to the point that it’s sometimes uncomfortable on anything other than a reasonably flat surface, with cat’s eyes roadside more than noticeable, making smaller speedhumps (car parks) and bigger (roads) bad enough to jolt a person momentarily from their seat. It does feel as if more initial compliance has been dialled into the suspension (MacPherson strut front, multi link rear, Ohlins two stage adjustable shocks) as the smaller bumps and lumps that niggled before didn’t seem as noticeable as before, surely a good thing.
Although the car comes with adjustable suspension, front and rear, it’s only done manually, via the bottom of the front right strut and from inside the boot atop the left rear. This would infer that it’s only to be done via experienced people, rather than offering an electronically adjustable setup from within the cabin.
A downside is having a spacesaver spare….that fits only the back hubs, not the front. For Australian roads, that’s nearly as a big a sin as you can get.
It’s a technofest under the skin, it’s a pretty looking car, it’s comfortable seating wise and seated four well enough. I handed it over, swapping to a V40 diesel, still uncertain as to how I felt about it overall, as I did with the previous version. It was that uncertainty that continued to both irritate and baffle me. The changes were minor, both inside and out, with a somewhat more purposeful look to the Polestar with the chin and rear wing additions. It goes hard, needs a more involving exhaust note and economy will, naturally suffer when the slipper is sunk. That’s teh price you pay for fun. But, on an emotional level, it had me excited but not willing to commit 100%, almost an automotive one night stand that you kind of want to have a gain with the same person…
To make up your own mind, go to http://www.volvo.com.au and follow the links to check out the S60 range and book yourself a test drive.
The Car: Volvo S60 Polestar.
Engine: 3.0L petrol, turbo, straight six.
Power/Torque: 258kW @ 5250 rpm, 500+ Nm @ 3000 to 4750 rpm.
Fuel: 98 RON.
Economy: 6.4L/100 km (combined). 8.7L/100km (city)/5.1L/100km (highway). 10.2L/100km (combined), 14.5L/100 km (city), 7.3L/100km (highway).
Transmission: Six speed automatic via all wheels.
Dimensions (LxWxH in mm): 4635 x 1825 x 1484.
Wheelbase/Track: 2776mm, 1588/1585mm (front and rear).
Wheels: 8 x 20 inch, 245 x 35 Michelins.
Price: $99950 + ORCs.
As tested: $102640 (included optional sunroof at $2650.00)