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Marhaba Motoring Review: Volvo S60 Polestar

Polestar is the name of Volvo’s performance car division that has its roots in the Polestar Racing team that the Swedish company used to support. Volvo officially acquired the Polestar Performance division in 2015 and the expertise the team gained over the years was transferred to Volvo. So now Volvo souped-up models get the Polestar treatment along with the turquoise blue square logo.

We’ve come to expect Volvo to continue being one of the leaders in the field of safety and we admire the Gothenburg-based firm’s determination to keep people (drivers, passengers and pedestrians) safe on the roads, so what is this Polestar business? In fact it’s a new and welcome direction for Volvo and given how the other major European luxury car manufacturers are cleverly exploiting their sporting and ‘special projects’ divisions, it makes perfect sense for Volvo to target those same customer aspirations.

So what’s not to like in a super hot Volvo that’s still one of the safest cars in the world!

Showing how serious – and confident – the company is in the Polestar concept, Volvo last year entered the S60 in the WTCC (World Touring Car Championship) and Thed Bjork recorded the historic maiden WTCC race win to mark his, Volvo’s and Polestar Cyan Racing’s first victory in the championship in the very first season. This year, 2017, Volvo’s Thed Bjork has already taken victory in the second WTCC race at Monza from pole position – plus another S60, driven by Nick Catsburg finished right behind in fourth, while yet another S60, driven by Nestor Girolami, came in fifth. So that was three Volvo S60 Polestar cars in the top five!

So much for the theory and the history. The big question: is it worth the money?! This Volvo certainly is a special-feeling thing, with a raspy exhaust note and a hugely capable chassis (up there with those all-powerful Germans!) and cute Polestar cues like the backlit gear knob and the numbered plaque on the steering wheel’s lower spindle. The Polestar engine is a real pleasure – the motor delivers 350 horsepower of three-litre six-cylinder goodness courtesy of a big turbocharger. It makes a wonderful and soulful noise, which dramatically increases in decibels when you hit the accelerator with the car in Sport mode.

Packing nearly 50 more horsepower than a typical S60 R-Design, the full-blown Polestar S60 is indeed a lot faster. We hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, nearly a second quicker. Top speed is a substantial 159 mph, compared with just 134 for the R-Design. Good thing, then, that the Polestar’s all-wheel-drive, huge Michelin sport tyres and giant six-piston Brembo front brakes are highly effective at bringing things to a halt.

Additional useful nuggets of information: This Volvo has (manually) adjustable Öhlins dampers, all-new suspension bushings, 80-per cent-stiffer springs than the S60 R-Design’s, extra spoilers and wings, Rebel Blue paint, and a gaggle of Polestar badges and logos. The super-Swede performs fantastically on the road and the colours and body adornments make sure that you look good doing it.

Every example comes loaded with Volvo’s full suite of safety technologies, including automatic braking, as well as superbly stitched leather and nubuck upholstery, a mind-blowing 650-watt 12-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, a backup camera, a sunroof, and more. Toss in the rarity – unique is a better word – factor, and the money doesn’t seem so bad for those who prefer their sports sedan to speak with a distinctly Swedish accent.

TECH SPEC MOTORING DOHA QATAR

ENGINE Turbocharged DOHC 24-valve 3.0 litre inline six cylinders, driving all four wheels

MAX POWER 350 hp (258 kW) @ 5,250 rpm

MAX TORQUE 369 lb-ft (51 kg-m) @ 3,000 rpm

ACCELERATION 0 – 60 mph in 4.4 secs

TRANSMISSION Smooth six-speed automatic

EXTERIOR Sporting a lustrous Rebel Blue finish, this S60 displays the Polestar team’s traditional racing colours; and it’s a striking, vibrant colour that improves the mood of anyone who looks at it. Compact exterior dimensions and Polestar trim and skirts give the S60 Polestar a real ‘pocket rocket’ look!

INTERIOR The seats immediately caught my eye and, having tried them, they certainly confirm the impression that they are among the most supportive seats on any make of car, anywhere. In fact, if you have never driven a Volvo you may not know how comfortable and supportive a car seat can be. It makes for super driving satisfaction, especially for the driver. The leather upholstery and stitching is first class, rear seat room and access is very comfortable, and the latest electronics and touchscreen connectivity are all on board.

SAFETY/SECURITY Being a Volvo, the S60 Polestar features a comprehensive array of safety technologies, too many to list here! There are 6 airbags, ABS, EBA, BAS, HAS, ESC and IntelliSafe, which besides City Safety (AEB) includes the likes of Lane Departure Warning, Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Information System, Cross Traffic Alert, Road Sign Information and a Driver Alert system. Is there any other car manufacturer that takes safety more seriously? I mean, seriously…

And with the Polestar treatment, you now get the added bonus of powerful performance and intense driver satisfaction.

The best advice is to have a look for yourself, and prepare to be impressed. Right now, as I write, the Volvo showroom on Khalifa Street (near the Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahab mosque) is being upgraded and refurbished, but is still open and the knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to arrange a closer look at the unique and dynamic Volvo S60 Polestar and, indeed, any of the stylish Volvo sedans and SUVs for you. Give a call to 4424 6860 and visit the showroom. Log on to volvo.com.qa for more information.

Author: Terry Sutcliffe

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