Volvo Cars’ electrified performance brand Polestar has introduced an “optimised” version of the new-generation 2018 XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid medium SUV, producing an eye-opening 314kW of power.
Polestar’s upgraded XC60 T8 matches the equally optimised XC90 T8 derivative despite being lighter and smaller. As we know, the Polestar-tuned XC90 T8 pack can be bought in Australia.
Details are a little sparse but this compares to the ‘regular’ (no Polestar tweaks) XC60 T8’s combined outputs of 300kW/640Nm, derived from a 235kW/400Nm supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, a 10.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 65kW/240Nm electric motor.
Ergo you’d expect the XC60 T8 by Polestar to eclipse the regular T8’s 0-100km/h ability of 5.3sec – faster than a Porsche Macan S – by a further tenth or so.
Polestar claims its ‘optimisation’ improves five key areas of the T8 powertrain while retaining the Volvo warranty, emission levels, fuel consumption of 2.1L/100 km and pure electric range of 45 kilometres.
Two key features are the improved engine performance and gearbox functionality – the former to calibrate and improve the mid-range engine response, and the latter to speed-up shifts, hold lower gears to punch out of corners, and generally use the bolstered mid-range better.
We presume the engine tweaks are the same as the Polestar XC90 T8’s, which has the same 2.0-litre twin-charged unit but offering a further 14kW/40Nm.
“With the Polestar optimisation, it makes the new Volvo XC60 a true drivers’ car,” boldly claims Polestar’s vice-president for R&D Henrik Fries.
Okay, so what is Polestar? It’s Volvo Car Group’s performance road car brand, founded by Polestar Racing that is today known as Cyan Racing. In 2015, Volvo Cars acquired Polestar Performance.
In the future, Polestar will become a separately-branded electrified high-performance car company, with a portfolio no longer carrying a Volvo logo.
“Polestar will enjoy specific technological and engineering synergies with Volvo Cars and benefit from significant economies of scale as a result of its connection to Volvo. These synergies will allow it to design, develop and build world beating electrified high performance cars,” the company says.
The company recently reached the milestone of 100,000 powertrain “optimisations” for Volvo cars around the globe since its introduction. Sales hit an all-time high in the first five months of 2017 with more than 12,000 cars optimised.
As you can read here, Polestar might be considering its own electric sports car, taking advantage of parent company Geely’s recent purchase of the iconic Lotus brand. For those who missed the memo, yes, Volvo and Lotus now share an owner.
It’s been a big few days for Volvo. As announced recently, from 2019 all models introduced by the Swedish brand will only be available with electrified drivetrains. In addition to new fully electric models, the petrol and diesel engines will be paired with either plug-in hybrid or 48V mild hybrid systems.
The move will help the company hit its self-imposed target of selling a total of one million electrified cars by 2025. As part of the push to minimise Volvo’s environmental impact, the automaker will also ensure its manufacturing plants are climate neutral by 2025.
We will chase Volvo Australia to see if/when the Polestar T8 tuning pack will come to us. The rest of the new XC60 range arrives in October, when it is expected to take over from the current version as the company’s top-seller. Read and watch our review here.