Speaking at the local launch of the Volvo S60 Polestar today, managing director of Polestar Performance, Haans Baath, said development of a V40 racecar was “more than 50 per cent” complete when Volvo demanded the focus turn to S60.
Asked whether the Volvo V40 racer could have been turned into a production car, Baath replied “absolutely”.
“The V40 for the WTCC … would have been very close to production cars,” he continued.
“The plan at that time was to evaluate the championship, and the proposed plan was to run three cars [V40s] in the WTCC for three years, but it was halted and the decision was to go with S60.
“To give up the project … it was really hard. We had come very far. The engine, it’s an engine we really like. It’s Volvo’s new [1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo] engine and we had run it in the championship for the 2011 season.”
Baath confirmed that although WTCC rules require a 1.6-litre engine, for a production car Volvo would likely have used the same 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine used in production V40 hatchbacks.
“This is just speculating now, but a V40 from Polestar would have been a five-cylinder with a four-wheel-drive system,” continued Baath, who cites the Renault Sport Megane 265 as “the perfect competitor”.
The five-cylinder engine has already been highly tuned for the Ford Focus RS, but Baath says he would have expected to get more power out of the engine for use in the V40.
“The RS is a front-wheel-drive car,” he points out.
“To be frank, it [224kW] is a bit more than it really can handle. But in a four-wheel-drive car 350hp [258kW] … it can do a very good job in a four-wheel-drive V40."
The manging director of Polestar points to the reception of the S60 Polestar as being a primary decider of whether such a car is revived.
Polestar has just 30 employees, and Australia will test the water for an expanded production Polestar line-up. It all depends on whether we like, then buy, the $109,950 Volvo S60 Polestar.
So will Australians decide the fate of the Swedish performance company’s tuning future with Volvo?
“More or less, yes,” Baath answers. “Likewise with you guys [media], we have our destiny in your hands.”
All things going well, however, Baath wants to increase production of the S60 Polestar, and is leaving the door open to a V40 Polestar production car revival.
“I prefer to say it’s halted,” he says, grinning.
“There’s still a body shell in the workshop. If you asked our drivers and engineers, they would be very happy to do [a V40 Polestar].”