Driven | Volvo S60 Polestar

I was not blown away by the Volvo V40 I drove a while back but when I managed to get my hands on the hotted up Polestar version of the S60 I could not wait to see what the Swedish racing division could do.

Let’s start with the cosmetics. That Rebel Blue paintjob has to be one of the most striking colours on a car out there today and although it is not everyone’s cup of tea (as I was told), I thought it was spot on for the type of car it is. The 20-inch alloys look fantastic with the seriously low-profile rubber but they bulge out slightly just waiting to clip a curb somewhere. The styling is where it ticks all the boxes thanks to the bootlid spoiler, the black side mirrors, the lower front lip and the angry-looking rear diffuser housing the double-pipe Polestar active exhausts.

Inside the car there are some really noticeable things that tell you that you are in a Polestar. The heated Alcantara and leather seats (front and back) give it a sporty touch but that blue stitching is what puts a smile on your dial. The heated steering wheel also features Alcantara and the gearknob actually lights up at night in Polestar colours. The centre floating console is finished in Carbon which is great but it seems a little dated now with the recessed screen and the full number panel which just reminds me of the first cars that had telephones in them. I only noticed halfway through my time with the car but it also comes with a frameless rear-view mirror with built in compass and this looks damn good.

Starting up the car brings the turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-6 to life and while the car is still cold you can hear those active exhaust flaps opening and closing with a gentle tap on and off the loud peddle. What did impress me was just how quickly the engine gets warm enough to give it the beans. From startup to warmup it takes about 2 minutes of driving (if that) which means you can have fun with it almost immediately. Keep the car in normal driving mode and the exhausts are quiet, the revs stay low and it is extremely comfortable but push the gear into Sport mode and things are drastically different. Throttle response dramatically increases, RPM’s go up and the noise coming out of those Polestar exhausts gets the blood pumping through the veins. Once in Sport mode and in control with the flappy paddles you can hold the car in any gear you want, yes it does bounce off the limiter, but more importantly you can keep the car in the rev range that produces one of the best inline-6 sounds I have heard. The 345hp T6 engine gets the car from standstill to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds and will take you all the way to 250 km/h if you really feel like it. Where it’s really impressive is if you bury your foot to the floor while keeping revs at 3000rpm in 1st, 2nd or even 3rd. [Watch the YouTube clip at the end of the post]

Thanks to the AWD this Sedan actually behaves like a go-kart. I have read reviews about how good it is on track and after taking a few sweeping and even sharp bends at a reasonable speed, it confirms this feedback rather quickly. I found myself driving around for no reason at all simply because I did not want to get out. This car is a blast to drive, it looks good and it is very good value for money. The list price on the car is R735,000 and this includes pretty much everything you can dream of as standard (full list at end). Volvo will also throw in a 5-year / 100 000 km warranty and maintenance plan.

This Swedish racer has been one of the biggest surprise packages so far and I can now see why the 26 units allocated to South Africa were snapped up so damn quickly. Consider yourself lucky to have one because apart from this test vehicle I have only ever seen one other prowling our streets.

PRO’s

  • Looks (and colour)
  • Sound
  • Handling and Performance
  • Rarity
  • Value for money

CON’s

  • Dated centre console
  • No over-run (snap, crackle) from the exhaust
Full list of STANDARD options;
  • 20-inch alloy wheels
  • Automatic wipers
  • Heated and electric-folding side mirrors with puddle illumination
  • Frameless auto-dimming rear-view mirror with compass
  • Automatic active bending bi-xenon headlights with automatic high beam
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Rear view camera
  • Automatic dual-zone climate control with rear seat ventilation and remote air pre-conditioning
  • 8-speaker Harman/Kardon premium sound system with Bluetooth, USB, aux, DVD/CD, voice control and radio
  • Navigation
  • Heated steering wheel with combination leather/alcantara trim
  • Heated front seats
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with toggle switch to Cruise Control
  • Electric and heated front seats with memory
  • Active TFT crystal instrument cluster
  • Genuine carbon fibre floating centre stack
  • Illuminated Polestar gear lever
  • Gear shift paddles
  • Sunroof
  • Keyless entry and starting
  • Sports leather/alcantara seats
  • Blue contrast stitching
  • 12-volt power outlets in centre console and boot
  • Double-pipe Polestar active exhaust
  • Manually-adjustable Öhlins dampers
  • Polestar/Brembo callipers (6-piston front/4-piston rear)
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