Volvo S60 Polestar vs Audi RS4 and BMW M3
The next step in Polestar’s mission to get its name onto the tip of your tongue. The Swedish race team – already well on its way to becoming Volvo’s go-to tuner – has followed up its warmly received one-off C30 with a similarly well-fettled Volvo S60 concept car.
Like the 2010 hatchback, Polestar has plucked an original model from Gothenburg’s lineup (in this case the somewhat floppy top spec T6) and laced it with a dose of motorsport salts. The 3.0-litre inline-six engine remains, but a far-reaching overhaul, including a modified cylinder head, overhauled air intake setup and a heavy-duty Garret turbocharger, sees the power climb to a fantasy league 500bhp.
Predictably, the rest of the car has had to be refashioned around that prodigious figure. Polestar has retained the AWD format of the T6, but its S60 features a fifth generation Haldex system (not seen on a production car before) with an electro-mechanical limited slip rear diff to help manage the 424lb ft of torque being developed up front.
Elsewhere, four fatter, better shod wheels have been spread further apart thanks to tracks which are 20mm wider at the front and 40mm at the rear, and a comprehensively revised bodyshell (only the front doors, roof and bonnet are carried over) sits 30mm closer to the road on three-way, adjustable Ohlin shocks.
The standard six-speed automatic transmission was not deemed up to the job either – that’s gone, and in its place is a reinforced close-ratio six-speed manual. Bigger brakes are readily visible behind the Polestar-design 19-inch rims and comprehensive aero testing has added an aggressive front splitter and larger rear spoiler to enhance high speed stability.
If that all sounds extravagantly expensive, then rest assured, it’s much worse than you think. Lord knows what it actually cost Polestar to build, but a one plucky buyer – involved from early on in the build process – has already agreed to part with $300,000 to take ownership of the car when its promotional duties are over.
This theme of underplayed reserve is deliberate. Polestar may have one eye on the enthusiast, but the other is on Volvo’s cheque-writing hand. The method in the tuner’s track-happy madness is to deliver a car which could credibly appeal to its sponsor’s safety-first conservative nature while still cracking 62mph in 3.9 seconds.