A Volvo painted like a Bugatti just cannot be silly business. Sitting like an ice mint in rebel blue, the S60 Polestar brought me memories of the Polestar concept that I had the good fortune of seeing in action on the Dubai Autodrome tracks, the only time it went around it. It had over 500 horses leading it. From where I had a vantage view of the track, and within earshot of its sound track, I could clearly tell. The difference between that one and my test car was the difference between theory and practicals.
THE SPECS: 3.0 L 6-cylinder inline T6 engine / 350 hp @ 5250 rpm, 500 Nm torque @ 3000 – 4750 rpm, 6-speed Automatic, 20” alloys, Active Bi-Xenon headlights, LED Fog lamps, Ohlin’s Sport Suspension, Brembo brakes
THE PERFORMANCE: 0 – 100 kmph in 4.9 sec (casual test 5.6 sec), Test fuel economy 7.62 km/L, Top speed locked at 250 kmph, Curb weight 1634 kg, 380 L boot space
CABIN SPECS: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB & AUX, Volvo City Safety with Full Auto braking, Pedestrian and Cyclist detection, Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning
UPSIDE: Performance meets practical comfort, Good fun, Great value for a performance model
FLIPSIDE: Wide turning radius, Boot space could be better, One expects tighter handling
THE PRICE: AED 220,000
350 horses are one too many for an engine to pass off as usual fare. Yet, it isn’t as untamed as the concept’s five hundred, too. Supplied to its four wheels with the thrust of 500 Nm of torque, what is available is good enough to get the car from standstill to 100 in 4.9 seconds: impressive on all practical counts, even for moronic petrol-heads – which you and I can be at times!
The S60 Polestar edition is surprisingly silent for the sort of car it is. When knocked into the Sport mode is the only time it reminded me of its ambitious prototype. With the slip of the gear, the car adds 500 extra spins to happiness levels and is quick to manifest a power that its tweaked 6-speed transmission can often handle only with a shudder.
The sporty seats and the stiff steering wheel kept me in sync; yet the drive isn’t as gripping as the Haldex four-wheel drive promises it to be. However, as the torque flows in without half a moment’s hesitation, Volvo really justifies buying out and investing in Polestar.
It’s an ironic balance. While the sport button kicks up the agility and the responsive paddle shifts really engage you, the car’s handling doesn’t really let you become soul mates. Just as the nice and tight steering makes clumsy space out of U-turns, in a way even the delightfully big XC90 doesn’t!
The track-style seats are elegantly race-ready in their leather-nubuck combination. I considered them somewhat hard but, as it turned out, not enough to set the family complaining. Sure, it is a no-fuss thing on the buffed up roads of the UAE, despite the fact that the Polestar’s shocks and springs are 80% stiffer than the original R-design S60.
Contrary to how it is made to look, from the sharp nose to the duck-beak rear spoilers, there is never a dearth of space inside the Volvo S60 Polestar. The ‘practicality of enough’ once again marks the S60 Polestar in both the rear seats and under the heavy boot lid, though I got to admit that the low boot makes it hard for oversized luggage to be heaved in. Fixing the child seat was somewhat troublesome till the secret was discovered – tilt the booster to align the bolsters and it’ll sit just fine!
Coming to areas Volvo has always been at home in, the Polestar isn’t spared any of the exceptional safety features of the S 60. The orange light of the Blind Spot Information System blinking on the A pillar, the head-up flashes that alert you of closing in on the car in front, the drumming triggered by slipping across lanes, and the standard city safety that stops you short of hitting an obstacle at city speed limits… it’s good to know Volvo still keeps you bubble-wrapped!
What they say about simple things being the best is true in the rear view camera’s safety quotient. Day or night, the picture is sharp and clear on the, modest, 6-and-a-half inch screen and comes with guidance sensors as well. When my fuel tank had travelled dangerous distances on the red, the valet on the screen flashed the question: Search for nearest fuel stations? For these little things, one feels a lot safer.
The Harman Kardon system is a proper fit for the premium cabin. The instantaneous radio tuning is really impressive, making the Navigation response rather slow in comparison.
The essential Volvo S60 T6 Polestar 2015
I am genuinely thankful that this car didn’t disappear behind the fog that engulfed its monstrously powerful prototype. The Volvo S60 Polestar edition might stop short of greatness, but it is always presented with a saving grace in every faculty. Like the fun-filled power pack that offsets handling glitches, or the impressive façade and rear blowers that make up for the plain, featureless sides!