Our earlier tryst with the Volvo S60 Polestar was a few months ago in the United States where it impressed us with its eager engine and great road characteristics. This time around, the Volvo S60 Polestar is tackling a different kind of a beast in a rather technical racetrack. In all honesty, this marks the first time that we got behind the wheel of a Volvo 'Polestar' model and the excitement levels are through the roof. The car in question is the 2017 Volvo S60 Polestar and the racetrack is the famed Kari Motor Speedway at Coimbatore. The city is known for its year-round rainfall and thankfully, the rain gods haven't decided to play spoilsport yet. We only say that because there was a light drizzle on the day we arrived at Coimbatore.
Look me up
Right! So the Volvo S60 Polestar wears the signature Rebel Blue colour, which is the case with all Volvo Polestar models and it absolutely stands out. Even on a racetrack! The front end sees a slight revision thanks to an updated bumper and grille. Viewed in profile, the S60 Polestar looks ravishing, thanks to its gorgeous 20-inch alloys with 245/35Z/R20 Michelin Pilot tyres wrapped around them. The rear remains unchanged with the small Polestar logo coming in just below the right tail lamp and the rear spoiler on the tailgate. It's a perfect 10 on the looks, then. We just cannot get enough of the Rebel Blue colour.
Like all other Volvo cars, the S60 Polestar to gets a decent list of bell and whistles. Quickly listing out a few of them, the S60 Polestar gets climate control, heated seats all around, heated steering wheel, sunroof, adaptive cruise control and so on. These are just a few of them. When it comes to safety, there are few manufacturers which do it better than Volvo. With a total of 6 airbags, a host of driving assistance systems and cameras at the front and rear, the S60 Polestar is fully equipped to keep you safe at all times. Then there are the electronic aids in form of traction control, stability control and ABS as well.
Engine and performance
For 2017, the Volvo S60 Polestar gets a brand-new 2-litre engine which unleashes 362 horses and makes 470 Nm of peak torque. Of course, there are a few mechanical changes over the regular S60 sedan. The air intake and the turbo have been made bigger and the engine gets electronically controlled flaps which are activated when you turn the Sport mode on. And that's where the S60 Polestar turns into a howling beast. The symphony from the exhausts is a pure aural delight. The engine is a gem, no doubt. The low-end performance is blistering and the smallest of throttle inputs are relayed to the tyres without a delay. Going above 3,500 rpm, the story changes a bit. There is a hint of lag, ever so slight but nothing that takes the joy out of ripping the tarmac on Kari. Volvo says that it has changed over 260 parts in the S60 Polestar as compared to the regular S60 sedan.
The S60 Polestar uses an 8-speed torque convertor transmission unit and is mated to an AWD system which is front-biased. A dual-clutch unit would have worked wonders, we believe. The claimed top speed is 250 kmph and the car does the 0-100 kmph sprint in about 4.7 seconds. We did see the odometer going past 200 kmph on the start-stop straight at Kari.
Ride and handling
The first one is that the chassis is 15 per cent stiffer, making for a lesser flex when you really go hard on the racetrack. To add to the steering feel and keep it planted on corners, Volvo has also fitted the front suspension units with a carbon fibre strut (whoa). A quick word with the Volvo engineers revealed that the suspension on the S60 Polestar is almost 80 per cent stiffer than the regular sedan. And we found that out ourselves on the bumpy Kari racetrack. On public roads, it might be a bit of a backbreaker, but good news. The suspension is adjustable, although one has to get it done manually. A stiff suspension, a taut chassis and a 20 kg reduction in weight over the regular S60 mean that the car handles very well. With the right lines taken on the racetrack, there was very little tyre squeal. Volvo says that the connecting points, bushings and the engine mount points have been up-rated as well.
The Volvo S60 Polestar is the first ever 'Polestar' model to be brought to India and we are rather glad that Volvo chose to do so. In its regular avatar, the S60 is a sedate and oozes class like any other Volvo. Add the Polestar bits to the S60 and you have a sporty sedan in the proper sense of the word. Sure, it is not a track scorcher. But in case you like having occasional jaunts on the highways and the twisties, this car does will not let you down. Plus, only 30 models or so will be allocated for India and carrying a price of ₹ 52.5 lakh, it makes for a rather good buy.