Is the Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered a sports sedan?
Here is Volvo's take on an economical sports car.
Sedans might be a dying breed but Volvo isn't giving upon them. Indeed, between 2011 and 2019, the S60 saw its sales plunge by nearly 40%. The reality is that people want SUV, don't ask me why. When the Swedish brand released its new S60 in 2018, they knew they could not mess it up, and therefore had to make it an interesting car. So, what about giving the BMW M340i, the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG, and Audi S4 a round for their money?
Yes, Volvo has built a sports car! At least, this is what they claim, and I must say that it's quite refreshing. For some time, the brand from Gothenburg hit us with soccer mom cars that weren't all that interesting. I really miss automobiles like the 2004 S60 R or the C30 T5 that were truly special with their 5-cylinder engines that delivered great performance. The story is a whole lot different for the car we are featuring in this article as it has a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged, which is paired to a battery. Yes, it is a hybrid.
But not just like any other boring hybrid. This S60 is sporty and received special treatment from Polestar, Volvo's performance division that has now become "independent". The result is a 405 horsepower 4x4 sedan that can go from 0 to 100 km/h in only 4.4 seconds and reach a limited top speed of 250 km/h. Not bad for a "soccer mom car." Thanks to Polestar's involvement, the S60 gets adaptive Ohlins dampers and massive Brembo brakes. I'm not dreaming, this is a true Volvo sports car.
Not so fast. While it may be close to the M340i, C43 AMG, and S4, it feels like Volvo was a bit afraid to take risks. It's a fast car, no doubt about it, but it lacks the snappiness of a true sports car. The 8-speed automatic gearbox is beautiful and comfortable but feels a bit slow when driving fast. The engine noise is quite inexistent, and it just lacks this extra bit of fun. Yet, the chassis is splendid and the car feels very stable and safe (duh...) at any speeds.
However, there is somewhere else where the S60 Polestar Engineered really shines, and it is in everyday driving. The Volvo might be one of the best plug-in hybrids I have ever driven. The car seamlessly adapts between the petrol engine and the battery to be as efficient as can be, and the result in terms of mileage is quite surprising. Volvo claims a 2.1l/100 km. That feels optimistic but we weren't that far off, which is pretty amazing for a 405 horsepower car. The ride is smooth and you can barely hear the sound of the engine when it's running. It may not be a true sports car, but it definitely beats its competitors in terms of comfort, and fuel consumption. You have the possibility between several driving modes, such as hybrid (the car switches automatically between electric and petrol for optimal fuel consumption), pure drive (full electric), Polestar engineered (sport mode), and individual. You can even decide to block the battery in order to keep electricity for later. Genius.
It looks sporty right? In fact, in my opinion, it is the most beautiful sedan in its category. I feel that Volvo has really nailed its recent designs, which are very simple, sharp and modern. Finished in this beautiful Crystal White Pearl, it really makes the lines of this car pop out. Volvo brought some extra bits of sportiness with some black accents throughout the car, some 20'' diamond cut wheels, and some gold details (brake pads and seatbelts) which is Polestar's signature colour. By the way, I understand the gold touches, but why the seatbelts?
Which brings us to the inside of the S60. I really like the cabin of this car, and it really is a nice place to be in. You're greeted with this massive touchscreen on the center console, which may be one of the best in the industry right now, which is very responsive and intuitive. It smartly integrates functions such as the air-conditioning settings, and manage to make them as easy as physical switches. Bravo for that. There are not 100 different menus and sub-menus where it's easy to get lost, but if it happens you can use the physical home button that is situated right under the screen just like on a smartphone. The rest of the interior is all about quality materials and it feels like a premium car. A notable mention goes to the seats that are very supportive and comfortable, but also the Bowers & Wilkins sound system that is just exquisite. There is only one downside I noticed, and it was the piano black center console that is prone to pick up scratches, dust , and fingerprints. Thankfully you'll receive a Volvo-branded cloth to wipe it all out if you buy the car.
That is only if you buy the car. The S60 Polestar Engineered we tried out had a retail price of CHF 93'630.- (78'500£)! That's BMW M3 territory for a car that isn't really a sports car. Yes, you're getting quite a lot of car for this price, but would you be ready to put such an amount for an S60? You can still get a plug-in hybrid T8 S60 without the Polestar gimmicks, and with 10 less horsepower for 17'000£ cheaper, and this option seems wiser. The S60 is an excellent daily that has tried to show a bit of sportiness through the Polestar Engineered version, and maybe they did not need that. Anyway, it's a refreshing car that has the merit of being interesting. Now Volvo, will you build an M3 killer for once and for all?
Follow us on Instagram
Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered