By on April 1, 2016

Volvo S60 V60 Polestars

Volvo set a corporate high-water mark for speed today by launching two new Polestar models, each with enough power to make a tenured Vermont professor blush.

Dropping two cylinders while gaining 22 horsepower, the upgraded S60 and V60 Polestars are part of Volvo’s effort to boost the visibility of its performance division.

The 2.0-liter Drive-E four-cylinder in the S60 and V60 Polestar (replacing the previous blown straight six) was worked over by Polestar engineers to make 367 horsepower and 347 pounds-feet of torque. The mill, which makes 240 horsepower in T5 models, gains muscle from a supercharger, larger turbocharger and air intake, and a higher-capacity fuel pump.

Four-wheel drive and a sport-tuned eight-speed automatic round out the package, along with the upgraded brakes and suspension you’d expect.

Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar

Using typical Scandinavian understatement, Polestar Chief Operating Officer Niels Möller called the cars “properly quick.” In reality, they’re the fastest production Volvos ever, making the run to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) in 4.7 seconds.

Volvo wants to flog the Polestar brand heavily in growing markets, and will be making the S60 and V60 Polestar in slightly larger numbers to back up that goal. At 1,500 units per year, it’s still a low-volume offering, but it’s better than the trickle that emerged after the first Polestar model went on sale in 2014.

Polestar Performance Parts recently became available on all Volvo models.

Volvo isn’t saying how many Polestars will be coming to North America, but there stands to be plenty of new buyers competing for those 1,500 units. As part of its growth strategy, Volvo will make Polestars available in 47 markets, up from 13.

Earlier this week, Volvo scored a PR coup when its V60 Polestar nabbed the safety car gig at future FIA World Touring Car Championship races.

[Images: Volvo Car Corporation]

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28 Comments on “Polestar Pinnacle: Volvo Launches its Quickest Models Ever...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    367 HP from 2.0 liters in a production car with a warranty is pretty stunning.

    But with only 1500 buyers worldwide, it’s practically a McLaren.

    Love that blue, though.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      That’s what Baruth might call a “pin-pulled grenade”!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They just need a little bit of tints to complete the look.

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      This sort of output has been possible for some time now. Turbocharger and injection technologies have moved a good long ways in the last ten years. Sure, increasing the bearing surface areas and optimizing the block to better cope with the stress took some doing but this is the direction things have been moving for some time now. Ten years back one upgraded a 2L turbo engine to something like what is now produced by several mfgs (Benz, VW, Volvo) as standard products.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      It’s great and all, but why does anyone that isn’t subject to displacement taxes care what size the engine is.
      HP/L is a useless metric. HP/weight and HP per actual engine dimensions is much more useful.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Exactly.

        The 4 cylinders are physically larger than the 8 cylinders we have running around, and the fuel economy of the boosted 6 cylinders is in many cases lower than the NA 8 cyclinders.

  • avatar
    carguy

    While it looks impressive on paper, there is always a price to be paid for getting large output from small displacement engines via forced induction. Sometimes it’s lag and poor throttle response (a Volvo tradition) or it can be reduced efficiency from the loss of driving the supercharger. More displacement and less boost usually make for a much more pleasant driving experience.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I find the opposite. I’m starting to seriously dislike the lack of torque and loud-but-powerless top end of non-turbocharged cars. Every time I’m forced to rent one, my lasting impression is “is that all you’ve got?”

      Turbos give you the choice of tooting along at a whisper of throttle doing 80mph, or revving hard and getting that distinctive acceleration that just pulls all the way to the red line. Most non-turbos either give you a very peaky top-end, or no top-end at all and a flat bottom-end.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        Almost no production turbo car pulls all the way to redline, but that said, most pedestrian NA engines don’t either.

        My preference would either a hybrid set-up with a tuned engine (turbo or NA) with the motor filling in for the lack of torque of the NA or lack or responsiveness and lag of the turbo.

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        @heavy handle: There is nothing against turbo charging but lower boost and more displacement gives you the best of both worlds: bags of low end torque, good off-boost response and very little lag (like the BMW N55)

        Small displacement over boosted engines tend to have a way too much lag and poor off-boost response. It looks good on paper but is not much fun in real world driving.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          I think your impressions of turbo throttle response may be out of date. Modern turbos have very little lag. These Volvos should have no noticeable lag at all, since they use a supercharger and a turbocharger.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        A lot of the small displacement turbo DI engines have a diesel like power curve. They have all this low end and midrange torque but it drops off steeply around 4K RPM and the power is flat or decreasing to redline. BMW probably does the best at making their 2.0T pull in the top of the rev range, but the Ecoboost and Subaru 2.x turbo 4 engines peak early and tail off quick. The less said about Kia and Hyundai 1.6 and 2.0 turbos the better.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Reports I’ve read indicate this engine is quite responsive all the way up.

      For this engine, I believe the supercharger tapers off as the turbo kicks in. Lots of action under that hood.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This makes me think of the “old mechanics tales” I’ve heard over the years that some manufacturers under stress their engines to put durability over horsepower. This means that there is a ton of potential for performance part manufacturers.

    On the other hand, I think a 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4 making over 350 hp is likely at the limits of physics and materials science.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      “I think a 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4 making over 350 hp is likely at the limits of physics and materials science”

      No. Not even close. But it may be at the limit of what one wants in a production car that must go 200k+ miles reliability, often with less than ideal users/maint.

      • 0 avatar
        kmars2009

        Volvo knows a thing or two about turbocharging engines. My XC70 has a turbo 5…I just flipped 207K It’s first and only turbo, so far.
        I will say, oil MUST be changed every 3K, otherwise parts could definitely wear early. I am still using conventional oil too!

        • 0 avatar
          See 7 up

          Are you comparing a 2.5l rated at 250 hp (or is your older at 208 hp?) with a 2.0l rated at 367 hp?
          But I agree, I don’t see why this engine couldn’t last way more than 200k miles (heck, 300k should be possible). But the potential for issues is greater. I’d be worried about the controls more than anything (supercharger to turbo switches – solenoids) Given how most people maintain and treat their cars I’d put money on a simple well designed engine. But many “simple” engines aren’t well designed and this may indeed prove more reliable.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Seems like a college design project, how far can we push this tiny hamster mill. Just give it a proper engine <4 liters and call it a day. This kind of engineering can be expected from a Chinese company trying desperately to get attention, but certainly not in a near premium brand trying to claw its way back to relevance.

    • 0 avatar
      tremorcontrol

      Blame the Swedish engineers who came up with the design for this (if you have to blame anyone by using nationality or ethnicity…). Polestar has been doing this type of thing for years.

      RIP Hummer (the brand, not the commenter). Now those were badly designed vehicles for non-combat zones — dangerous lack of visibility, lack of standard safety features, and the ability to attract the most self-centered (read: dangerous) drivers into their showrooms. GM tried to sell Hummer to a Chinese company but couldn’t even do that right.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        “Now those were badly designed vehicles for non-combat zones — dangerous lack of visibility, lack of standard safety features, and the ability to attract the most self-centered (read: dangerous) drivers into their showrooms. ”

        Care to go into depth? I have better visibility than the majority of all vehicles leaving the showrooms today, getting back into my trucks are a breath of fresh air for being able to see.
        What lack of safety features? The H1 is known for its minimal damage in wrecks, the H2 was rated only behind the F350 as the safest vehicle on the road, and the H3 has all of the standard safety equipment that is used industry wide.
        If you would like to see a couple stereotypes about your vehicle, let’s do a little show and tell, but I would hardly call us owners anything close to that description.

        Re: Volvo, or blame the Chinese owners that has allowed the automaker to use such convoluted methods to end up with a product worse by the numbers than a conventional setup. At least the Hummer brand died a dignified death without being weakened by poor product that was incompatible with the brand line.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Hummer,

      Swedes have a long experience building high-output turbo motors that last and last. I know lots of Saab owners with a quarter or a half million kilometers and no issues. Rumor is many Saab engineers went up the road to Volvo, and it’s probably not a coincidence that Volvo is releasing state-of-the-art turbo motors five years after Saab tanked.

      I don’t think there’s an issue here.

      The real story is how badly GM and Ford messed-up when they owned those brands. Now they have nothing competitive in the premium market, while Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover are enjoying record sales and profits.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      In their entire history, Volvo’s offered just one engine over 4 liters (which they farmed out to Yamaha and no one bought), it’s not who they are. Either slow, indestructible four cylinders, or smallish boosted engines are predominately Volvo’s DNA. Lucky for them, the market kind of came in their direction.

      It’s a shame they dropped the inline six, but for being a fairly unique selling point, it didn’t really push them to success.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        The indestructible slow engines are pretty much how Volvo has went, why they want to go boi racer is the question, Saab treaded a very odd line that was never here nor there, and I just can’t see Volvo adopting that and running with it.
        Maybe they can, but if they want to blaze a new trail for the company, they should try to race at the top of the league away from the bottom feeders.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Hummer,

          I don’t think that anyone at Volvo is seriously considering following GM’s Saab game plan! Give them a little credit, all the evidence so far shows that Chinese or Indian ownership is a lot more beneficial than GM/Ford ownership.

          I would have thought this would have occurred to you already, given your screen name.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Saab was always doomed, GM just delayed the inevitable by about 10 years.

          • 0 avatar

            Response to Jim Z;
            Saab died due to the 2008 banking lockup. Most SAABs were leases-when banks stopped lending, SAAB dealers died. One local dealer gave his stat to a local paper…they moved 25-30 units a month. 28 of them were on a lease. No lease=no sale.

            I had two of them, an OG 900T and a 9-3. I’ve mostly happy memories.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            speedlaw,

            It’s not even that complicated. Saab died because GM shut-down the factory and publicly wrote them off. They had their best sales year ever in 2006, again in 2007, and were doing great in early 2008.

            Everyone believed they were dead by the time they re-started production.

            GM then blocked the new owners from re-capitalizing the enterprise, probably because the 9-5 was a very serious threat to the Insigna in Europe (the Insigna was the only model keeping the lights on at Opel).

            Saying they were always doomed is absurd, like saying Audi was doomed in 1992, or Subaru was doomed in 1998. It’s not a morality play, just business. History has shown that Saab’s turbocharged 4 cylinder tech was the way to go, every successful premium brand has copied them since.

  • avatar
    sfvarholy

    Oh. It’s most certainly NOT anything that Audi or BMW or Daimler-Benz would do. Not at all.

    ((rolls eyes))

    Full disclosure: Volvo owner.

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