For someone that, just like me, lives the automotive world uninterruptedly, any chance that might show up in the schedule´s horizon for a new test-drive and review is followed with some anxiety and all, on their own way, end up being special. Red or black, petrol or diesel, having 80 hp or 300 hp, each car that goes by Garagem Global’s door leaves it’s own mark in this project’s history. A project that fills me with so much pride to build and see it grow in moments like this. This way, I always keep good moments, experiences and stories that later on I’m able to enjoy remembering. But, if all of them are special, some are even more special, especially on a birthday. For this particular test-drive review, here’s the recipe: blue, petrol and 367 hp.
Besides the model’s sportiness and exclusivity, Volvo’s S60 Polestar numbers and performance have turned this review into a memorable event! While everyone was giving in to Black Friday, I was being completely dominated by this Rebel Blue on that Friday. The S60’s loses nothing from its magnificence (even on this flashy and obligatory shade of blue!) even when using these enormous 20” wheels and their aggressive design, specific to this spirited and racy version of the swedish sedan, wearing this fine strip of rubber with Michelin Pilot Super Sport 245/35 on its sidewall as tires. Working together with the tires terrific grip, there’s the very effective all-wheel drive system by BörgWarner. Combined, both are responsible for the S60’s determined and astonishing traction and grip when exiting slow and medium speed corners on full throttle, just like it’s uncompromised stability at the higher speed ones. An authentic train on rails even on wet roads, but not very advisable for not very responsible rhythms, I would say.
The main reason for this sizeable performance and the main culprit for the short amount of time spent going from o 0 to 100 km/h is the 2.0 liter Drive-E engine family member, a 367 hp and 470 Nm twincharged 4 cylinder. So, the specific power for this powertrain totals at 183,5 hp per liter. Impressive to say the least. These numbers are achieved using a mechanical supercharger, which it's responsible for the engine's availability on low rpm’s and by using a turbocharger that shines it’s best at higher rpm’s, making the tachometer needle absolutely shameless and shoot effortlessly all the way up till the rev-limiter, no matter which gear we’re in at the moment. Here, we have available the 8 speed Geartronic with paddle-shifters at the steering wheel, that, even though it’s capable of doing pretty quick gear changes with the optimization made to it by Polestar, seemed that sometimes it would hesitate and it’s not really suited for a spirited driving. But does it disappoint? No. Not a bit. The aforementioned quickness on the gear-changes is enough to propel the S60 Polestar to the 100 km/h mark in less than 5 seconds, something that made my review partner say: “This is better that a roller coaster!”. And since I don’t like to disappoint anyone, especially those who are most important in my life, I bought a few more chips to go for some more rides.
Stemming from the renowned Drive-E engine family, besides the already mentioned twincharged feature, Polestar also modified the engine’s intake, used new piston rods and camshafts, and a new fuel pump capable of keep up with the desired performance level. And, something that keeps us company at every moment, is the sound coming from the exhaust system by Polestar. It’s raspiness is only interrupted by the “shots” fired in between changing gears on the Geartronic automatic transmission.
If the acceleration is impressive, it’s deceleration really doesn’t fall that much behind. As a matter of fact, the power shown by it’s Polestar/Brembo brakes it’s such that nothing actually stays in the back, everything comes rushing forward! The front rotors, “squeezed” by pads that are pushed by 6 pistons, have a diameter of 371 mm, while the rear ones measure 302 mm. But in order to make the best use out of the capability and trust that the braking system gives, we have to keep reminding ourselves to let them reach their optimal working temperature, so, it’s better to not explore a lot of the S60 Polestar pace when they’re cold.
Despite it’s weight ( even if Polestar was able to reduce it compared to the previous generation, equipped with the 6 cylinder engine), the Volvo S60 Polestar dynamics are sublime. The steering, direct and informative ( and heated…), has good weight and let’s us explorar properly the composure and behaviour of this astonishing automobile. The Öhlins dampers and the specific Polestar springs ( which are 80% stiffer than the ones available with the R-Design package) cancel the unpleasant body and mass-transfer movements between axles and their sides, which in a car weighing more than 1700 kg could result in an uncomfortable experience or dynamic unbalance. If comfort is not an adequate word for this article, for me it seems unfair to use the opposite word. Even though that’s not the priority for this hot version of the Volvo S60, an unmatchable solidness and an interior covered of high-quality materials and a sturdy assembly give it a surprising comfort level for a car born at the racetracks. The seats...the seats! Here I go again talking about Volvo’s seats. Gorgeous to look at, with their finishing in Alcantara and blue stitching, the seats are able to support us safely on those moments where we can’t resist pressing the right pedal all the way down, but hold us subtly when we’re in the mood to just save some petrol while enjoying the ride and the scenery, many times going by too fast. The on-board experience is completed with the audio system by Harman/Kardon, offering an excellent sound quality and listening experience.
Polestar initiated its activity as a motorsport team back in 1996 and, since then, has been participating successfully in several championships always with Volvo models. In 2009, started a new collaboration with Volvo, developing products that improved the performance of several models, which lead to, in 2014, the launch of the first Volvo models carrying the Polestar name and designation. Presently, Polestar is officially the sport division inside Volvo. Besides that, the final product and the efforts put on development, don’t put to the side the values and principles, like efficiency and safety, so inherent to the philosophy of such unique and special car manufacturer, so focused on us, people. And it’s here where Volvo and Polestar went a bit further developing the fantastic S60 Polestar. If the swedish capital gives its name to a syndrome in which a person develops feelings of empathy, friendship or even love towards someone who forces and dominates her or him, about 500 km away from it, in Gothenburg, 90 years ago a car brand was born, that, in a much more inspiring and peaceful way, hooks and captivates us since it’s first day in history. I’m “hooked”! How to finish an article about a car like this? Harder than resume it’s features and qualities, it was parking it for a last time at Volvo’s parking lot, turning my back and hear the doors locking one final time. That was a sad moment, but I will never forget my 31st birthday and Volvo’s 90th. Congratulations and thank you.