The 2017 Volvo S60 Polestar sedan and V60 Polestar wagon revealed today are the fastest road-going production Volvos in history.
The Swedish company and its performance subsidiary have ditched the old car’s turbocharged six and replaced it with a ramped-up twin-charged 2.0-litre four from Volvo’s Drive-E family.
”All changes made to the car are about improving drivability and efficiency. The base of the new engine carries motorsport technology with solutions like the combination of turbo and supercharger, lightweight materials and more,” Volvo Cars Australia managing director Kevin McCann said.
Polestar has taken the original S60 and V60 and added a bigger turbo, a supercharger, new conrods, new camshafts, a larger air intake and a higher capacity fuel pump to augment the engine.
The result are outputs of 270kW and 470Nm — figures that trounce the current most powerful S60 four-pot (the 180kW/350Nm T5), and compare in terms of power, if not torque, to the current T6 range-topper (242kW/480Nm).
These figures also make it one of the world’s most powerful 2.0-litre engines, though it can’t quite top Mercedes-AMG’s hand-made A45, CLA45 and GLA45 engines with their 280kW/475kW outputs.
The S60/V60 Polestar also stacks up next to the 2015 3.0-litre turbo S60 Polestar, which had 257kW/500Nm on tap. The MY16 models also shave 0.2s from the 0-100km/h time, to 4.7 seconds, on the way to a limited top-speed of 250km/h. Fuel use is cut 30 per cent to 7.8 litres per 100km.
The engine is matched to a Polestar-tuned eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddles and sends torque to a BorgWarner four-wheel drive system.
On top of this new performance-optimised equipment, Polestar has reduced the car’s weight. The Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar are 24 kilos lighter over the front axle and 20 kilos lighter in total compared to the previous model years.
Other new features on the cars include new 20-inch lightweight rims, Polestar-calibrated electro-assisted power steering and new slotted brake discs measuring 371 millimetres.
The first road legal Polestar cars were launched in 2014 to limited markets including Australia. Today, Polestar announced that it is expanding the number of markets where a Polestar will be sold from 13 to 47, and doubling production volume from 750 cars a year up to 1500.
Both cars trace their heritage to the new Volvo S60 Polestar TC1, the all-new FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) race car from Polestar Cyan Racing. The new road cars use the same base chassis, engine and philosophy of the team behind the development.
“By any measure these cars are seriously quick,” said McCann. “When they arrive in Australia later this year people will be genuinely impressed.”
“They are born at the racetrack, but built for the road. The cars are very composed through corners, with lots of traction and enough low-end torque to make them very, very quick.
"They combine Polestar’s 20 years of racing pedigree with Volvo’s inherent pragmatism and engineering heritage. The end result is two very quick but functional performance cars that can be driven on normal Australian roads every day of the year.”
Volvo Cars Australia has not said how much the MY16 S60 and V60 Polestar will cost, though the old S60 Polestar with its 3.0-litre six cost $99,600 plus on-road costs.
They launch in Australia at the end of 2016, signalling a return for the Volvo Polestar range after the outgoing models were axed in February this year.
As we reported in our interview with Volvo Cars CEO and board representative Hakan Samuelsson in Detroit earlier this year, Volvo Cars is in the midst of dramatically expanding the influence of its now in-house Polestar performance division, with an array of new road cars driven by high-performance plug-in hybrid powertrains and all-wheel drive on the way.
What about this one? Does a 270kW twin-charged Volvo four-banger make an interesting alternative to the Germans? Tell us below.