Tag: S60

Volvo’s not so new S60 Polestar

Volvo S60 Polestar

The not so new Volvo S60 Polestar

So as you’ve gathered from the title, Volvo has done some fettling to their now aged but fast S60, and this is probably very important, but first some context. In around July of 2011, Volvo’s Smurf blue enthusiasts and fast car boffins Polestar, created a fast version of the S60, a car which you bought mostly because its cheap to buy used and you couldn’t afford a German car, but I digress. Polestar did some meddling with the transversely mounted 3.0-litre straight-6 turbo mill from the T6 and thus created the S60 Polestar. At the time it made an impressive 258 kW and 500 N.m, enough to rival to the likes of the BMW 335i and Audi’s S4. The big blue Swede was an interesting take on the performance sedan and offered a rather lovely package with pretty impressive numbers thanks to AWD and the big power, such as the 0-100 km/h sprint time, in the really serious sub-five category with 4.9 seconds and the usual pegged 250 km/h top speed. It was rather impressive & given its novelty, it presented itself to 25 South Africans as the top choice. Polestar called it “The car that their racing drivers drove to work.”  South Africa, being ever late to the party, only got the Swede in 2015 but it was rather well received, selling out before even hitting the shores.

Volvo S60 Polestar

Fast forward to 2016 and Volvo’s new DrivE ethos was now in full strength and the pursuit of lightweight driving dynamics had meant gone were the large displacement engines and in the new 24-kilogram lighter 2.0-litre engine with twin charging replacing the now defunct straight-6, thus ditching the rather sonorous noise it made for a supercharger whine and trubo whoosh. Linked to this impressive mill was an 8-speed box with flappy paddles. This not only meant a new engine and some new tricks to the dampening and the like, but a much more refined drive thanks to the more responsive gearbox. Although well specced, it still looks nearly identical to what it did when the car launched some years before. This coupled with the limited numbers again, and driving dynamics and performance figures that were not quite as good as the now updated rivals, meant that the S60 Polestar may not have sold as quickly as everyone had expected, but they still sold. This ultimately meant the S60 was a good offering but not the best car in the segment, just a memory, only to fade away much like it has, or has it?

Volvo S60 Polestar

Now, Volvo has done some fettling once again to the S60 Polestar, as a last hoorah if you will. 30% more downforce will grace another 23 models destined for South Africa, as well as a single V60. Thats right, we’re getting a whole Polestar wagon, Just like the one used as the safety car in the WTCC championship. The Swedes have made 250 changes to the air cutting abilities, including a front splitter, rear spoiler and side skirting, all finished in Carbon fibre. Also new are carbon fibre wing mirrors and 20-inch gloss black wheels.  Another loud hue in the form of a Bursting Blue exterior colour has been added, and,more importantly recognising the need for some attention on the dated interior, Volvo has added new charcoal leather with blue stitching, just what the ol’ girl needed.

Volvo S60 Polestar

There’s no denying that in a straight-line, the S60 Polestar will still do a good job of keeping up with the Germans, with the new model dashing to 0-100 in 4.7 seconds and a top chat of 250 km/h, limited of course, the S60 is not slow and still pretty rapid in the corners. If the current or previous model – I get confused sometimes – was anything to go by, it should be loud as the Cyan Racing blue paint. Given that this is Polestar’s first attempt at a fully fledged road car, it’s a rather good attempt and we’re looking forward to what’s yet to come from Volvo’s go-faster department.

Volvo S60 Polestar

Volvo S60 Polestar Pricing in South Africa

Pricing will be released closer to the launch, which will be later this year, but given that the previous models’ bargain pricing was just above the R700 000 mark, you can expect this to be competitively priced too.

Smaller engine, more power: New Volvo S60 Polestar

Normally a model refresh or “face-lift” comprises of some subtle visual changes. With performance cars, the manufacturer usually adds some extra power to keep buyers happy.  In the case of the Volvo S60 Polestar, Volvo have taken a slightly different approach. They have done away with the original 3.0 litre in-line six cylinder turbocharged engine and replaced it with a four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E version. A car that produced 258kW now makes 270kW. This sounds a bit drastic for a mere 12kW gain in power. The changes don’t end there, though. The 6 Speed automatic gearbox on the original S60 Polestar reminded one of performance cars from yesteryear and we lamented how that was the cars biggest flaw. Now, however, an 8 Speed fast shifted gearbox has taken the reins to make the car feel more modern.

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Big changes, little gains?

Volvo’s efforts to please its target markets needs did not go wasted. The reduction in weight from the smaller engine surely adds a different feel to the car. There is a reinvigorated zeal in the new model to do things faster, where the old model suffered from delayed reaction times. The shift speed of the new gearbox is also most welcome in this new model. Up-shifts are quicker and the new ratios have made for a more exciting driving experience. As a whole, this new setup is very good. Yes, we miss the noise of the old girl but the hot hatch sounding engine tone in the new car is not bad, especially when Sport mode is engaged via the gearbox. The move from turbo-charging to twin charging (supercharging and turbo-charging) may seem slightly old school in a time where twin-scroll turbochargers are the preferred choice by many, but in this case, it works as there is minimal lag.

Comfort first, performance second

In my opinion, the most enjoyable aspect of the new S60 Polestar is how it doesn’t compromise on providing a comfortable driving experience. After all, being a large sedan a car like this will usually be bought by someone who has a family. For that purpose, the ride quality and ample legroom and boot space, will surely keep that client happy. Even as a childless single adult, I could appreciate driving in the standard mode, knowing I have the power to overtake without having to use it. That being said, the Polestar is still a Volvo and modern Volvo’s come standard with enough technology to rival Apple. This is not a bad thing, but it can become intrusive. Lane departure assist is great, but seeing a quick gap on the highway and taking it may be problematic as the car will veer the car back into the line, thinking you’re falling asleep. Being in the city also means that cars naturally travel closely behind each other. When approaching another vehicle from behind at speed,  the anti-collision system beeps at you, to alarm you of a potential rear ending. For someone on the move and in a rush constantly, you may want to turn off some of the systems to cope with the fact that your car thinks you’re a bad driver. Besides that, you can sit back in the leather and Alcantara seats, play your music through the fantastic sound system and revel at the fact that your car is more blue than most people’s.

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Great for its age.   

The fact that we can compare an S60 Polestar to its competitors and still enjoy it is a huge feat for Volvo. The reason for this is because to put it simply; the entire S60 range is old. The exterior and interior design has not been changed in a while whilst the competition’s cars are much newer. One looks forward to the new S60, especially since cars like the XC90 and soon to be launched S90 look and feel great. We hope to see the model that will replace this car emerge soon. For now, though, Volvo aficionados and eccentric individuals looking for something different have something, fast, blue and nimble to enjoy.

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New Volvo S60 Polestar coming, even more power!

Smaller engine, more power, better fuel economy.

A few months ago we drove the fiery Volvo S60 Polestar. This car’s throaty 3.0 litre in line six cylinder engine produces 258kW and definitely added excitement to the quite serious S60 range. Only 28 of these cars came to South Africa and were all accounted for, but now there’s a new version on the way…

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Less is more:

The new Polestar makes 270kW from Volvo’s 2.0 litre four cylinder Drive-E engine, to add to that, a whopping 470Nm will propel you from 0-100 in 4.7 seconds. Not bad for a car driven by many accountants. That’s the thing about the Polestar products, they have managed to create a “boy racer” feel to these cars, which can potentially open them up to a younger audience. People want individuality nowadays and the niche Polestar brand is doing Volvo a great service by providing just that.

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Twin Charged monster:

The 2.0 litre Drive-E engine has both a turbocharger and a supercharger installed, so the car will be boosting strong with minimal lag. Power will go to all four wheels through an eight speed automatic gearbox, ensuring great grip and quick shifts. Volvo’s priority is still safety and this can be seen through the setup of the current Polestar, which is very easy to drive in extreme conditions. Needless to say that the upcoming one should be the same. A smaller engine for the new S60 Polestar also means less weight for the new car (24 kg’s to be exact). This also means that the car will be better on fuel with a claimed combined cycle of 7.8 litres/100km’s which is very good for a performance car.

So less is definitely more with the new Volvo S60 Polestar, let’s hope it will be as nice to drive as the car we drove not so long ago. Most likely all 32 units coming to South Africa are also all sold already, if not, jump on one before it’s too late.

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