Swedish car maker Volvo has been selling cars in India for 10 years now. And all this while, be it SUVs or sedans, the focus largely has been on safety and luxury. In fact, Volvo in its 90 years of existence is known to be a pioneer when it comes to introducing safety features in cars, including the 3-point seat belt. But what they’ve got now to India is something totally different. With the S60 Polestar they’re trying to show that they can build performance cars as well. Polestar is the performance dicision of Volvo just like AMG is for Mercdes and the M-series cars for BMW. And even before Volvo acquired Polestar in 2015, the latter for around 20 years have been providing technical know-how to help Volvo make faster cars. The car was launched at the Kari racetrack in a very plesant Coimbatore after which we got to sample this newest set of wheels from Volvo.
As is the case with cars from the performace division of German luxury car makers, there are enough tell tale signs on the S 60 Polestar that this is not your regular S60 sedan. Of course the Polestar logo gives it way on both the front as well as rear but there are also a lot of other design elements that aid in better aerodynamics. The bumper has been redesigned and the skirting along with the splitter is sportier and the air intakes also are designed to do a better job. Also a very strong part of the Polestar marked cars is that rebel blue colour in which the car was launched in India too. On the rear too, the presence of a spoiler along with skirting and twin-exchausts make the car look appealing. And inside as well the R design badge and sporty levers make the car look different from the regular S60.
The S 60 Polestar runs on a 4-cyliner 2.0 liter Petrol engine. This Drive-E engine is twin-charged engine and produces a whoppin 367 horsepower and 470Nm. And all that translates into a quick Volvo as the car does a 0 - 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds. The top speed is limited electronically to 250kmh. The new Polestar-optimised eight-speed Geartronic automatic gearbox works well with this engine. The car is more fun to drive in Sport mode and the paddle shifts just add a lot more to the sporty feel. It’s evident that changes made to the car are about improving drivability and efficiency. Polestar has taken an original S60 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.
Ride & Handling
Polestar has reduced the car’s weight by 24 kgs lighter over the front axle and 20 kgs lighter in total compared to the previous model years. According to Volvo part of the improved performance and especially handling compared to the previous model years is an optimized weight distribution and torque vectoring. This was matched it with a very able BorgWarner four-wheel drive system that helps in great handling of the car. The suspension is much stiffer or the overall the chassis has gone stiffer by an amazing 80%. Other new features on the car include a new 20” lightweight rim, Polestar calibrated electro-assisted power steering and a new slotted Brembo 6 piston caliper brake disc 371mm all of which aid in a more confident drive.
The recent de-licensing of certain frequencies of radar has enabled the Swedish car maker to introduce their Radar based safety features in India. The S60 Polestar is equipped with radar and with inputs from camera it activates an array of pre-emptive safety functions. These include Adaptive cruise control, Lane departure warning, Collision Warning with full auto-braking for pedestrians, cyclists, other vehicles and large animals and Blind-spot detection with Cross Traffic Alert. Apart from there are some passive safety systems as well including seat-belt pre-tensioners, Side Impact protection and Whiplash protection. The car has a 5-Star Euro NCAP rating.
Volvo says the S60 Polestar isn’t just a car that’s made just for the racetrack but is an equally good car for daily commutes. After having spent some time with the car we tend to agree with that. The best thing about the car is its price. Volvo has introduced the car at Rs. 52.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and that when compared to competiton is great value. Also if you’re thinking of lapping it up, there are only 30 units alloted to the Indian market which just means do not take too long to decide.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars.