In the Spotlight – Polestar 1 {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

16 Mar 2018

When is a Volvo not a Volvo? No, that isn’t the start of a bad joke, it’s a genuine question – the answer to which is ‘when it’s a Polestar’. You see in 2015 I had a Volvo V60 Polestar press car to review and was very impressed, back then Polestar was just Volvo’s tuning arm, responsible for their World Touring Car entries and just that one V60. Then they started offering tuning packages for some more models, but just in the form of ECU tweaks to give more power and some sportier wheels.

But now Volvo has spun Polestar off into its own company, though the two are still inextricably linked as you’ll see later on. In the future, Polestar will offer the 2 and 3 models which will be fully electric models with close ties to the smaller Volvo ranges, but their first offering is a little different and somewhat of a headline-grabber. Would you expect Volvo to make a 600hp AWD coupe? Well, they have done, so hold onto your hats because the Swedes are coming for you in your Merc S-Class or BMW i8 and they aren’t taking any prisoners.

Back in 2013, Volvo showed a beautiful concept car called the Coupe Concept, which was, unsurprisingly, a coupe. It showed the coming direction for their design language and the styling could be seen in models like the S90 and V90 along with their ranges of SUVs, but Volvo just weren’t in the right place to build a sexy coupe so it got relegated to the concept car graveyard. Until, that is, they had a new company to launch and needed something to make a statement, so it was dragged out of the cupboard and work began. A few years later here we are with the Polestar 1 which was revealed in production form at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show and for me at least, was the star of the show.

It would have been very easy for Polestar to just churn out a generic coupe sports car, but that’s not what they’re about. Let’s start with the big thing first – the powertrain. Under that big bonnet sits a somewhat underwhelming (at first) 2.0 litre turbocharged four cylinder engine that produces 377bhp fed to the front wheels. Okay, so that would give adequate performance, but in this case it has some help – two electric motors that drive the rear wheels producing a combined 215bhp, meaning this coupe is AWD and packs 592bhp and a staggering 1000Nm of torque. That means there is going to be some serious performance on tap – though Polestar hasn’t given official numbers yet I was told by a helpful Swede on the show stand that we should expect 0-62mph in under 4.0 seconds and a top speed in excess of 160mph, which will be limited. I actually think that sprint time is going to be in the mid-3’s though, as it will likely weigh around the same as an S90 and has way more power. The S90 T8 manages the 0-62mph dash in 4.7 seconds and the Polestar has 200bhp more, so you do the maths!

How is the Polestar 1 lighter than the S90 though, when it has a big battery pack under the floor? Well, that’s possibly the biggest surprise of the lot – this Swedish coupe has a full carbon fibre body. Yep, what used to be reserved for the most expensive super and hypercars is now on this mainstream coupe and helps to make the body 230kg lighter than if it was made of metal. That is of course offset by the batteries, but therein lies another benefit – the centre of mass is considerably lower, which aids handling and ride. So far, everything is a plus.

With the carbon body, £115,000 price tag and hybrid powertrain the Polestar 1 looks very much like a rival to the BMW i8, and in all honesty to me it destroys it in all areas bar ‘drama’ which the BMW wins thanks to the crazy looks. This is a full four seater, has a decent sized boot, the electric bit of the powertrain means you can go 100km on EV power alone and it looks beautiful. Sorry BMW, your time is up.

So is the Polestar 1 the perfect hybrid sports car? Well, not if you live in the UK as sadly though it is available here to buy, it will only be available in LHD. Hopefully enough people won’t worry about that (it would make a perfect continent crushing GT) and the next model will be RHD too, but if it were my money I wouldn’t mind – the benefits of every other area of the Polestar 1 far outweigh the negative on sitting on the wrong side.

You can only get tickets for the Polestar 1 until midnight on Sunday, so head over to the competition page now to buy your tickets.