Polestar 1 quick-test: Supercharged, Turbocharged and Electric?
I got to take the brand new limited-edition Polestar 1 for a spin and here's what it's like.
Progress is not a bad thing. You have all seen the hypercar holy trinity. And if there's one thing we've all learned from the guys' experiences with the P1, the LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 then it is that hybrid technology can bring forward some motoring masterpieces.
I had never actually driven a hybrid car let alone a hybrid sportscar before. So it's now my special honour to present to you the one that took my hybrid-virginity: The Polestar 1.
What's so special about this thing?
First of all, it's a limited-edition vehicle. Only 1500 of these will be made at the brand new Polestar production centre in Chengdu, China.
Wait, isn't Polestar a Volvo brand? Well, kind of... Polestar used to be Volvo's in-house performance brand (pumping out S60s in a beautiful "Rebel-Blue" colour) until it was transformed into a joint-venture with the Chinese carmaker Geely. Nowadays, Polestar is all about future tech.
And what better way to make a grand entrance than with a 600 horsepower grand tourer?
When I approached the "1" from a distance, I got two very distinct vibes. The front reminded me of Mercedes' AMG GT with its beautiful open grille design. When you come a little closer, though, the silhouette reveals one of Volvo's new generation design masterpieces: Thor's hammer headlights. I just think they have some of the most beautiful headlights in the industry right now.
Let's dive straight in!
Enough about politics, there's only one big question here: How does this thing drive? I pulled out of the parking lot and I could hear absolutely nothing. The three electric motors with a combined output of over 300 horsepower propelled the car through Munich's city traffic. But city traffic is boring. When I stopped at the traffic lights just before entering the autobahn I selected the only driving mode that speaks to me: POWER!
And that's when the petrol engine kicked in - it's alive! That 2 litre supercharged AND turbocharged engine is where the Polestar 1 gets the other half of its total power output (and a chunk of its soul) from. While two of the electric motors send all their power to the rear wheels, the petrol engine sends 300 horses to the front wheels.
With 600 horsepower at my disposal just entering the autobahn at a segment with no speed limit, I feel like a child on Christmas Eve. So the only reasonable thing to do is to floor it and boy does it go. I hit 250 kph in a matter of seconds but the truly astonishing thing is that it feels like a nice afternoon stroll through the woods. The adjustable Öhlins shock absorbers make the car feel planted like a 500-year-old oak tree.
Despite the car also weighing as much as said tree, it's very easy to decelerate. The energy recuperation system takes some time getting used to, but it is a nice thought to conserve some of the kinetic energy and not turn it all into heat and brake dust.
So is it any good?
Yes, it is a 2.3-ton tech monster. But it's also everything you can possibly want from a 21st-century grand tourer. The Polestar 1 is beautiful to look at, comfortable to spend longer journeys in and delivers its punch in a way that leaves you speechless while at the same time cradling you like a child. It's not a savage sports car, but it certainly hits Polestar's brief: pure, progressive, performance.
Of course, all of this doesn't come cheap. However, 150,000 Euros is by no means big money for a 600 horsepower limited-edition plug-in hybrid design masterpiece with a carbon fibre chassis. In fact, it's quite comparable to what BMW charged for a new i8. Both cars are milestones for their respective brands. And there's already one title that no one can take from the Polestar 1 - being the first.