Volvo are advertising that they one of the fastest growing luxury car makers. There is no doubt at all that they are well and truly on the march upwards when it comes to their luxury aspirations and they’re also bringing along their Polestar compatriots for the ride. But how does the Volvo V40 D4 Inscription with Polestar enhancements work?
When one thinks of a luxury car, they’ll think of features, comfort, and perhaps the word “cossetting”. They may even tie that word to the ride quality and handling, where one may “waft” along, with the road seemingly endlessly flat and without bumps.
This is not what the V40 D4 Inscription Polestar Enhanced delivers. It rides on wonderful looking 19 inch alloys, shod with superb Pirelli 235/35 rubber. Herein lies the problem. Combine ultra low profile tyres with sporting suspension (Polestar adds bespoke coils and shocks) and the result is a rock hard ride that magnifies every crevice and expands every pebble. Harsh is one word that can be used. Comfort can not, nor can cossetting. Then there’s the steering rack ratio; it’s en pointe when out on the road, but try a three point turn and it feels as if there’s something blocking the rack either side.
Outside it’s nearly standard V40, a five door hatch and a reasonable 4369 mm long, bar the Polestar supplied alloys and two winglets mounted just where the hatch’s hinge is. There’s Volvo’s signature “Hammer of Thor” headlights, a nicely sculpted profile, dual exhausts sitting under a sharply sloped rear and bracketed by two tail light structures that will catch the eye of following motorists. The car itself was painted in a metallic grey, a colour that melded perfectly into the roads around Sydney during storms. Volvo fit a Polestar diffuser at the rear, the alloys and roof spoilers, and go gloss black with the wing mirror covers.
Under the pedestrian friendly snout lies Volvo’s diesel 2.0L four, with 140 kilowatts and a stonking 400 torques on tap. That’s available from 1750 through to 2500 revs and there’s plenty available once you pass the higher number. Although it hesitates for a moment for the engine to spin around to 2000 and beyond, it comes on strongly enough below 1750 for the front driven wheels to imitate a canary. Once the traction control steps in, the front Pirellis hook up and then allow the eight speed Geartronic auto to do its thing, and do its thing it does nicely. Those eight speeds contribute to the claimed 4.5L/100 kilometres (combined) from the generous 62 litre tank; A Wheel Thing saw a best of 6.2 in mainly residential style driving. They’ll also whisk you to 100 kph in just over seven seconds on the way to a claimed top speed of 210. Emissions? 118g/kilometre.
Light throttle input has the setup slurring through, albeit with more than a hint of change. Crack the throttle and there’s some decent acceleration, a muted diesel thrum from the front and the LCD screen flicks away with a smoother change underneath. Silky smooth it is and allows the driver to pick and choose also, thanks to paddle shifts and the Sports mode manual change. Good? And then some. It really is one of the better changers out there, especially dealing with a torquey 2.0L diesel.
Inside it’s standard looking V40, complete with floating centre console, the LCD dash, leather covered seats (lacking cooling but had heating), storage trays to the left and right of the rear seats, a somewhat tightish rear leg room thanks to the compact dimensions of the V40, with Polestar adding the door sills, gear knob and sports pedals to the interior. Although it’s a comfortable enough environment, it is starting to show its age. Also, the multitude of buttons on the console coupled with the screen’s layout are fading as an area of attraction. The cargo space at 324 litres (smaller than Golf, A3, and A Class) barely coped with a week’s shop but there is the ever present folding rear seats.Airbags? Seven, sir, including kneebag for the driver. Other safety? Emergency brake lights, sir, with hazard flash. Anything else? Auto headlights and auto wipers, sir, plus reverse camera and parking assist. Bendy headlights? Does Sir NEED to ask?It’s typical safety first with the V40, with a bewildering array of acronyms stating the comprehensive list of features on board. DSTC, WHIPS, EBA and EBD are in there or, in longer form: Dynamic Stability & Traction Control, WHIplash Protection System, Electronic Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution. There’s also fitted to the test car the Driver Support Pack and Convenience Pack, comprising BLIS, DAS, ACCCW, VGA, Keyless Entry and Drive with PCC. Confused? BLind spot Information System, Driver Alert System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning, Volvo Guard Alarm, and Personal Car Communicator. Got it? Good. The Convenience Pack also incldes the heated seats (but no cooling for hot markets like Australia) and comes at a cost of $1500, on top of the $4K for the Driver Spport Pack. The Polsetar Performance Pack is a lick under $10K, taking the list priced car as tested from $44990 to $60472.50.
Being a diesel, the mid range pull of the D4 is stupendous. At freeway speeds, the tacho on the LED screen is showing around 1600 revs, just below peak torque. “Sink the slipper” and you’ll see the revs climb right along with the numbers that spell “license losing”, very quickly. The chassis is fitted with anti-dive and anti-squat componentry and my, don’t they work well! It’s flat on the road, flat enough to make a pancake stop and doff a hat in admiration. Although heavily weighted at low speeds, the steering talks back to you, answering the questions you put to it and responds adroitly at speed. Together the chassis and engine deliver a totally dynamic package.
At The End Of The Drive.
Bar the dating interior and lack of turning circle, there’s not a lot to dislike in the Volvo V40 D4 Inscription with Polestar’s extras. Except the ride. Compliance is not a word that that sits inside this car’s dictionary and when you can count how many ripples there are on the face of a coin you’ve just run over, then the luxury part of the equation is missing.
The range starts from $36k and with this test car asking $60K, a fair ask, it’s a fair question to ask, this one: is it worth it? If you like a hard ride, a smallish cargo area, but need something that pulls like a train, then this is your car. Here is where you can find more information:http://www.volvocars.com/au/cars/new-models/v40