Volvo XC60 Polestar
- Polestar is the performance brand of the Volvo group
- New XC60 T8 Polestar matches most powerful Volvo ever built
- Available in petrol, diesel, and hybrid variants
- XC60 T8 hybrid offers 420bhp and up to 134mpg
IF there are two words that most people wouldn’t usually associate together they would probably be “Sporty” and “Volvo”.
Unless you are one of the 100,000 drivers who has bought into the Polestar brand that is.
Polestar is to Volvo what AMG is to Mercedes, or the M badge to BMW.
It’s the performance division that takes a regular road car and makes it better, and since the first production version of a Polestar optimisation – Volvo’s description, not ours – was launched around five years ago 100,000 have been built.
To give you some idea of how quickly the brand is growing Volvo say 12,000 have been sold in the first five months of 2017. That’s quite a lot.
We know the idea of a performance Volvo might seem like a bit of an oxymoron but don’t be fooled, they are very good indeed.
At the moment the main focus is being concentrated on the 60 range with the S60 saloon and V60 estate already available with the full Polestar treatment. Now the popular XC60 SUV is to receive the “optimisation” treatment too.
There will be four options available for the XC60.
- D4 and D5 Diesel
- T5 Petrol
- T8 Twin-engine petrol/electric hybrid
The idea isn’t to create a fire-breathing monster but to improve the overall performance of the car.
The engineers have tweaked the engine performance, adjusted the suspension, and fiddled with the gearbox without being silly about it. There’s more power in the middle of the engine range to make joining a motorway or overtaking a little more relaxing, gear changes are a little faster and smoother, throttle response is a bit quicker.
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Nothing that fundamentally alters the character of the XC60, just a series of improvements that mean an already good car becomes a little bit better.
In the case of the T8 version this could translate into a huge incentive for company car drivers.
We won’t bother going through the specifications, trim levels, and the like because it’s a pretty safe bet most of you will already have a fair inkling that the new XC60 is spacious, comfortable, well equipped and built to exacting standards of quality and safety. It is a Volvo after all.
What you may not be aware of is that the end result of Polestar’s fettling is that the XC60 T8 shares the title of most powerful Volvo ever built. If you have ever wondered what a Volvo SUV would be like if it had 420bhp, well now you know.
But the extra power isn’t the best bit. Yes, it will be quick. Yes, it will handle nicely. But it will also return 134mpg, offers low emissions of around 49g/km, and has an electric-only range of up to 28 miles.
And don’t forget it does all of that with 420bhp under your right foot.
There will be a premium to pay for the extra performance of course, but when you put it into context with the rest of the figures it actually makes a lot of sense for company car drivers.
You can project an image of sensible reliability for your clients, reduce your running costs significantly, and when nobody is looking you can unleash a herd of Swedish horses and be home in time for tea.