Volvo V60 Polestar 2015 review

17 Apr, 2014 11:30am CJ Hubbard

Charming and fast, the Volvo V60 Polestar is a viable alternative to the BMW 3 Series Touring and Audi S4 Avant

Verdict

4
Considering the starting point, Polestar has done a fine job making the heavyweight V60 feel light on its feet. The aim was to build an all-year, all-weather performance car rather than a razor-sharp race wagon – and although it’s expensive (and not terribly efficient), as an alternative choice in the high-speed load-lugging sector it’s a welcome breath of Swedish fresh air.

Polestar Volvos started appearing in 2009, yet until now they’ve either been extreme concepts or dealer-fit tuning packages. Making this new, Volvo factory-built high-performance 345hp V60 estate the first true Polestar road car.

It is only being offered in seven markets worldwide – and although some will get an S60 saloon variant as well, production is limited to 750 units in total. While the UK has been allocated a relatively generous 125 V60s, this is going to be a rare and exclusive choice. Especially given the price.

At £49,775 it’s way beyond the £41,100 you’ll pay for a 302bhp Sport Auto equipped BMW 335i Touring M Sport or the £40,740 Audi charges for the 329bhp S4 Avant, both of which are more efficient and have a bigger boot. In compensation for the extra cash you get a car absolutely loaded kit – the only option is the paint colour – and a decent amount of bespoke engineering.

Polestar remains an independent company, but it is also Volvo’s motorsport partner – and has been since it was created in 1996. The two worked very closely to redevelop the 300bhp V60 T6 AWD into the car you see here.

Visual proof comes in the form of new spoilers front and rear, improving downforce at the 155mph limited top speed. Then there are the massive 20-inch alloys, behind which lurk enormous 371mm Brembo front brakes with Polestar labelled six-piston calipers. A new turbocharger and intercooler set-up add the extra power, boosting to 1.2 bar (instead of 0.8) and breathing through a 2.5-inch stainless steel exhaust system, valved to become louder at full chat.

With 0-62mph taking a guaranteed 5.0 seconds thanks to the easy-access launch control, standard six-speed auto and Haldex four-wheel drive system, this is a fast car. However, at 1,834kg, it’s also a heavy one. So Polestar has wisely expended a great deal of effort upgrading the chassis.

Changes here include faster-shifting gearbox software and biasing the four-wheel drive more towards the rear, plus a carbonfibre-reinforced strut brace, stronger top mounts and stiffer suspension bushes. The springs are 80% firmer than the regular R-Design equivalents, the anti-roll bars 15% increased – but the key improvement comes from the ultra-trick Öhlins dampers.

Unique motorsport-derived valve technology means these deal impressively well with low, medium and high speed bumps, giving this V60 a satisfyingly deft blend of comfort and control. While Polestar hasn’t touched the electrically assisted steering, the other mods help deliver extra feel, and with huge grip levels what ought to be a bit of a barge is surprisingly at home on a twisting racing circuit. Polestar is keen to stress it was never intended as a track car.

On the road the ride is decisive enough to give you confidence in the corners without ruining motorway composure. The result is relaxed but rapid progress with engaging charm, accompanied by a rushing turbo soundtrack like a muted Nissan GT-R. The sense of serious masses tightly marshalled is similar, too – though let’s not get carried away with that comparison.

You do still have to be patient paddleshifting on downchanges, and in spite of Polestar’s best efforts with black leather and blue stitching, the interior suffers the usual lack of quality and clarity. But if you’ve got the funds and fancy something different there is plenty to like.

Disqus - noscript

... or buy a BMW 335d Xdrive Touring which is faster, has an 8 speed auto box and has emissions of 148g/km for £8k less. Wise up Volvo!

But your not getting it are you? It's an alternative..... Something diffetent ......you know .....something away from the norm!

Oh help me; for I feel I no longer live in the Uk , let alone the WIDER EU - but fecking Germany!!!

If it's not the AE - it's the sodding readers!

It's good to have alternatives but wheres the fun in being ripped off? Why cant they make a competitive product that has not only the performance to match the class leaders, but offers value for money? Look at the Vauxhall VR8, it may not be as polished as an M5 but at 20k less, it offers great value. This Volvo doesn't and therefore deserves to fail!

You mean like a footballer? Doesn't matter if the product is good or not, all he wants is to stand out from the crowd - to be an "indivijewel"! Haha you xenophobes do make me larf! I'd like to think that the majority of my fellow Brits don't have an anti German obsession, unlike many of the posters on here!

That's a laugh lolz. Anti German obsession? Have you tried reading some of the reviews on this site? The majority of the educated public just want to read unbiased reviews.

Comments come thick and fast with a huge pinch of suspicion because people are getting brassed of by Auto Motor und Sport who own AE......

C'mon get real bellend! Wake up and smell the coffee.....

It might be £8k less in basic form but match them both for spec and the 335D is a more expensive less powerful (and diesel), BMW dont offer a petrol powered alternative with 4WD..

Because tax on these is nearly 500 quid PA, in ten years (or less) time all these will be on the scrap heap which means huge depreciation. A bit like Mazda RX8s.

Diesel 335 is more powerful than the polestar. Torque matters! Petrol 335 with 4wd is only available in LHD and has an official 0-62 time of 4.8s with Auto but as BMW are very conservative with performance figures, motortrend did it in 4.4s. The wonderful thing about BMWs is that in standard RWD they drive beautifully, better than x-drive!

If money matters then you can get the Golf type R estate which is larger and has more load space and even cheaper than above.

BMW handles beautifully when road conditions are dry and flat. One inch of snow or water and you will end up with rear wheels spinning like a blender chopping the snow -- but nothing else. Why do you think most French, Italian and Japanese cars are front drive?

Key specs

  • Price: £49,775
  • Engine: 3.0-litre 6cyl turbo petrol
  • Transmission: six-speed auto, four-wheel drive (with Polestar calibration)
  • Power/torque: 345bhp
  • 0-62mph: 5.0 seconds
  • Top speed: 155mph
  • Economy/CO2: 27.7mpg/237g/km
  • On sale: order now, first deliveries August 2014
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