Andre De Kock
Motorsport Editor
4 minute read
12 Oct 2016
1:23 pm

Understated dollops of Swedish power

Andre De Kock

‘Like the original Subaru WRX STI, this Volvo will become an instant classic.’

There is an ironclad rule with the driving of test cars. The value, rarity and irreplaceability of the vehicle you have corresponds exactly with the number of people who wish to crash into it.

I had the Volvo S60 Polestar in my possession for less than 30 seconds before somebody in The Citizen’s car park nearly reversed a Mazda 323 into it.

.

.

Three blocks up the road, a Putco bus swapped traffic lanes while I was driving next to it, causing me to sweat like a paedophile at a nursery school. All this, while learning about the Volvo’s braking prowess really quickly.

Thing is, I was not really even supposed to be driving this, the quickest road-going Volvo ever, of which the Swedish car manufacturer will bring only 45 to our country.

Normally, fast, rare and expensive cars get driven by our official road test guru, my good friend Mark.

Mark is a real race car driver, infinitely more skilled behind the wheel than the rest of us.

But, Mark was overseas when the Polestar arrived and he said I should take it home, drive it in my own ham-fisted way and write about it.

Then, he would take it, do the difficult, high-speed stuff at the Gerotek testing facility, and provide proper performance figures. So, here goes.

The Polestar comes powered with the four-cylinder, 2-litre petrol engine normally found in the standard S60 T6 AWD model, sporting both turbocharging and supercharging.

Performance gains have been achieved thanks to a bigger turbo, new conrods, new camshafts, a larger intake and a higher-capacity fuel pump.

In the Polestar, it develops 270kW of power at 6 000rpm and 470Nm of torque between 3 100- and 5 000rpm.

.

.

The above forces are sent to all four wheels via a Geartronic eight-speed automatic gearbox and a Haldex all-wheel drive system.

The gear lever boasts a Sport setting, which releases more poke, shortens the gear shifts and gives the twin exhausts a sinister, throaty roar.

For all of its sporty credentials, the Polestar looks remarkably ordinary.

That is in typical Volvo tradition, who again chose not to embellish their fastest road car with stripes, glaring badges or dramatic two-tone paintwork.

Even so, the black grille, large air intakes, front air splitters and discreet rear spoiler contrive to give it a mean look.

The whole package sits on beautiful 20-inch lightweight alloy wheels, through which 371mm Brembo brake discs can be viewed.

Again typically Volvo, the Polestar has no optional extras – they are already part of the original offering.

Such items include automatic bi-xenon headlights with Active Bending, auto-dimming mirrors, front and rear parking sensors with a rear-view camera, automatic dual-zone climate control with rear seat ventilation and remote pre-conditioning, an eight-speaker multi-media infotainment system, a sunroof, gear shift paddles, heated leather covered upholstery and steering wheel, plus a genuine carbon fibre “floating centre stack”.

Naturally, this Volvo also features a complete arsenal of safety equipment as standard.

This includes six airbags, ABS, EBA, BAS, HAS, ESC and IntelliSafe, Lane Departure Warning, Pedestrian Detection, a Blind Spot Information System, Cross Traffic Alert, Road Sign Information and a Driver Alert system.

.

.

We do not know what half of the above lettering means, but two things are clear.

This Volvo will go to great lengths to ensure you do not crash it, and to even greater lengths to protect you if, due to unforeseen circumstances or applied ignorance, you do crash it.

Driving the Polestar, we found it absolutely docile in city traffic, content to burble along at 60km/h, or on the highway at just under 130km/h, with just more than 2 000rpm on the clock.

Boot it properly in Sport mode, and 200km/h comes up with ease and alarming rapidity.

This car could so easily get you arrested – 150km/h feels exactly like 120km/h. We did not get brave around corners – there are only 45 Polestars in the country, and this was the one and only press test vehicle.

Crashing it would have made a very large number of people extremely angry, and this writer is too old to make any more sworn enemies. We reckon Volvo will have no problems selling the Polestar, each tagged at R749 500.

Like the original Subaru WRX STI, these Volvos will become instant classics, particularly with so few of them destined for our shores.

If you like well-built, seriously engineered, fast road cars and have government tenders, buy one today. The new Volvo S60 Polestar comes with five-year/100 000km full vehicle warranty, a five-year/ 100 000km full maintenance plan, laminated glass and Tracker Connect.

.

.

The car is available in four colours: Rebel Blue, Bright Silver, Ice White and Onyx Black.