By on August 16, 2018

2017 Volvo V90 T6 Inscription - Image: Volvo

If only all automakers had what Volvo’s offering. Starting this month, buyers wishing for more of a sports car experience from their all-wheel drive, non-hybrid Volvo can hack some more attitude into it. On Wednesday, the Swedish automaker announced the availability of new software developed by its Polestar performance division that should do the trick.

Job One for this software? Send more torque to the rear wheels.

Clearly, Volvo’s heard cries from owners wishing for less tug and more shove. Hybrid owners already enjoy rear-biased AWD, Volvo said, as the electric motors powering those rear hoops deliver more twist. Gas and diesel models are another story.

Available on 90, 60, and XC40 series Volvos, the Polestar-derived software upgrade only applies to 2019 model year cars. Sorry, 2018 owners, you’ll just have to toss that car a little harder to break the rear end loose. For applicable owners, the newfound dynamics won’t be a constant. Volvo claims the software only activates when a driver engages Dynamic mode, or when the stability control’s turned off. Only then does the car’s brain know the owner wants to play.

It’s not just the amount of torque sent rearward. The upgrade promises “sharper throttle response, faster off-throttle response, quicker gear changes, optimised gearshift points and in-corner gear holding, as well as increased engine output.”

Naturally, there’s a big caveat: Volvo hasn’t said whether North American owners can join the tail-happy party.

[Image: Volvo Cars]

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18 Comments on “Push It: Volvo’s Got a Solution for Owners Wanting a Livelier Rear End...”


  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    If I’m not mistaken, a number of AWD cars have a rear-wheel power bias, including BMW’s X-Drive and Mercedes.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      the difference is those vehicles have I think longitudinally mounted engines. The Volvo is transverse mounted for various reasons. Transverse engine cars aren’t known for being good for sending stout motivation to the rear wheels.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        …and Volvo’s still won’t. Unless there’s some huge changes to the drivetrain that I’m not aware of, Volvos with mechanical AWD can only lock the center diff. So physically all Volvos can do at maximum is 50/50 torque bias front/rear. And that’s in a car with a very front-heavy structure and a chassis set up for understeer, so how much does this really even do…

        Or you just buy a proper rear-wheel-drive -based car, one that’s been designed and constructed in the correct manner from the start.

        • 0 avatar
          baconator

          I agree with your take here. These new Volvos have beautiful interiors, but after driving one that my friend bought, they seem to me like $35k cars pretending to be $65k cars. The E-Class, by contrast, is a car that acts better the harder you push it.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Next to nobody is buying a luxury car to push on the track. If they were, the Lexus ES and Audi A4/A6 wouldn’t be outselling several RWD counterparts. Nor would the bulk of those RWD counterparts be sold in non-sport trim.

            My bigger gripe with this system is they have the electric and gas wheels backwards. Electric driven wheels should be up front to max out regenerative braking; gas driven wheels should be out back for max power.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    Wow! Is that a nice car – I love it – it is a station wagon and not a pathetic CUV/SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Agreed. Maybe it’s because I grew up in New England and went to prep school, but to me this is the pinnacle of “made it” – even more than the Merc. E-class station wagon, which I love but which is a bit gauche at this stage with its undulating waves of wood grain. The Volvo looks like what you’d have waiting for you at the dock when you bring in the Hinckley.

  • avatar
    srh

    That is a great looking wagon, regardless of whether it’s a pusher, a puller, or a pushmi-pullyu.

  • avatar

    Useless complication. Will create more problems than solve. Weight distribution in FWD car is not good enough for RWD, unless they put battery somewhere in the rear. Who needs RWD Volvo anyway? There are so many much better authentic options on the market if you need RWD.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Doesn’t every Volvo station wagon driver want to look like Steve Kinser riding the cushion at Eldora?

  • avatar
    Asdf

    Volvo is a CHINESE automaker, not Swedish.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      I actually know a guy who lives in China who bought a Volvo after the change of ownership and Volvo plants opened there. He insisted on one assembled in Sweden because he lives in Beijing and didn’t trust the Chinese units’ air filtration system.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?

      You post the same thing constantly, and it’s still not accurate.

      • 0 avatar
        Asdf

        It’s the writers at TTAC who post the same lie over and over, and yet you have the audacity to complain about ME merely pointing this out? I can only assume that you too have a vested interest in perpetuating the same lie – or perhaps you’re just stupid enough to shoot the messenger.

        • 0 avatar
          Garrett

          I’m totally an agent of the Chinese government, intent on fooling the people of the Internet into believing that Volvo is Swedish.

          How did you figure it out?

          Now, to be serious: cui bono? Seriously, answer that. Explain why this ruse is happening, and who benefits, and what the insidious end game is.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’ve never been much of a fan of Volvo’s design until the most recent 90. That’s a nice looking big wagon, just too bad it doesn’t have a 3rd row. Actually want.

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