APPEARANCES can be deceptive, especially in this case. You may think you are looking at a Volvo, but you aren’t. This is the brand new Polestar 1 Hybrid GT set to roll off its purpose-built production line in mid-2019.
To be fair it does look a lot like a Volvo. That’s because Polestar is the performance arm of Volvo that was recently rolled out as a standalone brand. The idea is to embrace electricity with a series of performance cars that offer something different whilst taking advantage of the economies of scale of the Volvo group.
So what is the Polestar 1?
The most obvious response to that question is ‘utterly gorgeous’. Just look at it. It’s hunkered down stance and sleek lines are both aggressive and elegant. It’s got the wide stance of a performance car but it combines it with the understated touches you would normally expect from a regular Volvo.
Apart from being a glorious looking thing, the Polestar 1 is a two-door, 2+2 seat Grand Tourer Coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain. An electric car supported by an internal combustion engine is the basis of every hybrid on the market but the Polestar 1 offers a little bit more than most.
For a start it has an electric-only range in the region of 93 miles, way more than any other hybrid car currently on the market. The electric motors drive the rear wheels while the two-litre Volvo Drive-E petrol engine powers the front. It’s a brilliant combination that offers both performance and efficiency. In terms of business mileage it’s unlikely you will find anything else that offers that many emission-free miles, and the petrol engine should be clean enough to limit emissions as much as possible.
The part that will excite the more automotively- inclined business user – we may have just invented a new word there – is the part where you discover it also offers 600bhp and enough torque to tow an ocean liner. The Polestar 1 Hybrid GT doesn’t just aim to be environmentally aware, it’s also likely to be stupendously fast. 600bhp is bordering on supercar territory.
Latest technology as standard
Electronic suspension that can react in two milliseconds to immediately change the ride and handling. A carbon fibre body to reduce weight and improve stiffness, as well as lowering the cars’ centre of gravity. A double electric rear axle which enables precise acceleration on each wheel to keep the maximum road grip and maintain speed while cornering.
We may not grasp the clever engineering behind this technology, but we do know that lighter, stiffer cars with a low centre of gravity usually equate to cars that are an absolute joy to drive. If the Polestar 1 Hybrid GT handles in reality like it does on paper it will be phenomenally good.
Inside the Polestar 1 Hybrid GT things become very familiar indeed. Far from being disappointing this is a very good thing. Anyone who has been in one of Volvo’s recent new models should have noticed how beautifully designed they are. Much of that design has made its way into the Polestar.
The dashboard and instrument cluster shares many of the same features. The excellent Sensus infotainment system appears to have joined the migration, as has the fabulous attention to detail in the switches and finishing touches. At first glance it would be easy to mistake this for a Volvo, only the Polestar branding indicates this is a little bit different.
A new way to drive away
Forget about buying a Polestar, that’s not how it will work. For business users this may well be the best part of the Polestar experience. Instead of buying the car you will instead pay a fixed monthly subscription.
The all-inclusive, no deposit, flat monthly payment ensures you never have to worry about depreciation, insurance or maintenance. The subscription also includes pick-up and delivery servicing for scheduled maintenance. The subscription will be for a fixed term of two or three years. At the end of the contract, you simply return the car, or Polestar collects it and delivers your next Polestar experience.
If you think that sounds a lot like the flexibility and convenience of leasing you wouldn’t be far wrong.
But it also goes further than leasing. Need a roof-box for the weekend? No problem. Polestar will supply, fit and subsequently remove the roof box. Need a larger car for a family holiday? No problem. Polestar will offer extended use of a larger Volvo car for when you need additional space.
These are just a couple of examples of the Concierge services Polestar will offer. Yes, they will charge extra for these services, but they will only charge if, and when, you actually use them.
Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar summed up the new approach,
“Our vision is that the Polestar subscription model and services that we will offer will define the Polestar brand as much as our cars will. Services that exceed the needs, desires and expectations of the premium performance car customer are at the heart of Polestar, removing the inconvenience of ownership and allowing customers to purely concentrate on the pleasure of driving a Polestar car.”
Order books for the Polestar 1 Hybrid GT opened this week, with Polestar taking “expressions of interest” from prospective customers ahead of production starting sometime next year.
All of a sudden we can’t wait for 2019 so we can find out exactly how good this car will be.