Volvo has launched range-topping performance models of its T8 Twin Engine S60 saloon, V60 estate and XC60 crossover – all of which have been breathed on by Polestar.
Volvo, and its electric performance arm, Polestar, are clearly riding a wave of momentum and publicity at the moment with these cars just the latest in a line of high-profile launches. Called 'Polestar Engineered', each model comes with more power, better dynamic abilities and some additional toys, as well as a bigger price tag.
Chief among the enhancements delivered with the Polestar Engineered cars is an uprated powertrain. It is ostensibly the same as that which sits in the standard cars, but Polestar has tweaked the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo and supercharged petrol engine to raise its peak power from 299bhp to 314bhp. When combined with the unchanged 86bhp electric motor, the system total reaches a lofty 400bhp.
This obviously has had a positive effect on the performance of each model. In the case of the S60 T8 Twin Engine – which was already no slouch – the Polestar Engineered version has become the fastest ever accelerating production Volvo. It dispatches the 0-62mph sprint in just 4.4 seconds, helped by four-wheel drive and 494lb-ft of torque. The V60 is slightly slower, taking 4.6 seconds, and the larger XC60 taking 5.4 seconds.
Despite the performance, both the S60 and V60 Polestar Engineered achieve 104.5mpg, 48g/km of CO2 and 27.3 miles of electric-only range. These WLTP figures are slightly worse than that of the 'normal' S60 T8, but Volvo explains that this is due to the way the Polestar Engineered cars are homologated; in real world conditions you're unlikely to see a significant detriment to the figures that are achievable.
The XC60 achieves 88.2mpg, 56g/km and 22.4 miles on battery power. Again, in real life you'll struggle to get close to these figures; the best we got from the XC60 was 55mpg, which still isn't bad for a big, fast SUV...
The Polestar Engineered cars haven't just been endowed with more power; they've also had a chassis overhaul to add some dynamism in the corners as well as on the straights.
Chief among the enhancements are adjustable dampers at each corner by Öhlins which tread the line between ride comfort and sporty handling. Helping to maximise the suspension's effectiveness by reducing body flex is a strut bar between the front suspension top mounts. In fact, this setup is shared with the Polestar 1 performance hybrid coupé.
Forged, lightweight alloys with a five-Y-spoke design and contrasting polished and black surfacing help the Polestar Engineered cars look that little bit more aggressive. These come in 19 inch diameter for the S60 and V60, and 21 inch for the XC60. Behind these sit uprated brakes by Brembo on the S60 and V60, and Akebono on the XC60 – all of which feature floating discs and monobloc calipers.
Polestar Engineered cars get a few design tweaks so subtle that you'd struggle to see them. These are limited to Polestar emblems, a high-gloss front grille surround and black chrome finish for the exhaust pipes. Gold coloured seatbelts and a stitched instrument panel take care of the interior tweaks.
Polestar Engineered trim sits above R-Design Plus in the S60 and V60 range, and R-Design Pro in the XC60. Equipment additions include a heated steering wheel, Harman Kardon premium audio system and aluminium front tread plates, whilst the XC60 gets metallic paint (as the heated steering wheel is standard on the XC60 R-Design Pro).
If you want one of these souped-up Swedes, you're looking at £56,105 for the S60, £57,205 for the V60 and £64,545 for the XC60.