Volvo Unleashes The Angry Smurf | S60 T6 Polestar

MyDrive | Volvo Car Australia – Volvo Unleashes The Angry Smurf – S60 T6 Polestar
Written by Adam Tonkin | Images by Dean Hales

MyDrive | Volvo Cars Australia – Like any company, it takes a great deal of guts and determination [including a great deal of money] to design a concept [in this case a vehicle] that will entice buyers towards one brand over another.

When a car manufacturer finds a niche market they tend to stick to what they are good at, exploiting all avenues to maximise sales and profit. Although to create something fresh and creative, stepping outside the comfort zone is required. The final product will quite clearly show the have’s or have not’s of your design team’s skillset.

This is where Volvo enters the fray by living on the ragged edge of design and function. Volvo’s new and improved blueprint started some years ago with smooth lines that draws the eye in and past the fancy gadgets that has organisations like ANCAP [Australian National Car Assessment Program] doing five star safety jumps.
[Yes pun intended!].

For decades Volvo has produced safe generic designs that somewhat resemble a loaf of bread, built for passage and not beauty. The company today has changed its mindset and now produces fun, vibrant designs that are classy, sophisticated and influential.

Any true Volvo enthusiast will remember the Volvo V70R, an all-wheel drive turbo charged estate that delivered power like it was on a sugar rush.

You may also remember the popularity that surrounded the V70R; it was so popular in fact that the Federal Police in Canberra had to have one in their fleet. Sadly this did not end well, with some young constable on the 10th of May 1999, thinking it looked better on its roof than on all four wheels.

To take on the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the performance saloon category, Volvo have gone about producing a sporty and powerful four door saloon with the assistance of their racing partner, Polestar Racing.

Using the luxurious S60 R-Design as the base, Polestar has turned this sedate package into a fire breathing angry Smurf which is now known as the Volvo S60 T6 Polestar.

Considering Volvo’s potent vehicles of years gone past, it has now taken the expertise of both companies to produce one powerful and dynamic Volvo and notably the most expensive to ever enter Australia’s fortified boarders.

Exterior Styling
If you are a car spotter, you’ll see the Polestar Blue S60 Polestar far off in the distance, although for most it will be a difficult task. Polestar Blue is the hero colour of the range and if nothing else, it makes the Polestar edition stand out from the black and white versions.

The exterior design has smooth flowing curves that have also been adopted by the other siblings in the Volvo fleet.

Under the Polestar’s lowered suspension is a set of uniquely designed 19” mesh styled rims, a deep chin front spoiler, a ducktail rear boot lid spoiler and two rustic steel exhausts jutting out of the rear to round off the edgy yet understated S60 Polestar exterior.

Suspension and Brakes
The Polestar is lowered thanks to an aggressive yet tuneable suspension set up by Ohlins. Even for a complete novice, the suspension can be quickly altered to transform the ride and handling from race track hard to suburban street soft.

The hard suspension setting is too firm for the daily commute but on a road that requires a sportier edge, this setting highlights the true racing heritage of the car.

Brakes feel strong and ample within the city limits however they don’t stand up to several hard stops in a row, providing long pedal travel that is quite spongy until brake temperatures return to their normal range.

Interior Styling
The interior has been pulled straight from the stylish S60 R-Design; it even states this on the front leather seats. The neutral driving position is set to appease all drivers although the seats could do with extra lumber and bolster support with Alcantara trim to minimise sliding on the all leather seats.

The rest of the interior is finished off with leather, chrome and classic plastic that has a smooth finish that is easy on the eye and easy to clean as well.

The dash and steering wheel functionality is straight forward and intuitive while the vehicle information screens, Bluetooth and satellite navigation systems are truly fuss free.

The stereo system is one of the best out there although if you’re bored, turn it off and listen to the soundtrack from the steel exhausts.

The most puzzling feature on the S60 Polestar is way Volvo have arranged the spare tyre. With zero space under the rear boot floor, the spare ‘Space Saver’ tyre is literally strapped down in the middle of the boot floor. It takes up a monumental amount of room however; consider leaving it out on your next trip away and you may very well find yourself walking home!

For an extra 40K over the asking price of the Volvo S60 R-Design, the interior is one area that Volvo and Polestar should have upgraded to a sportier spec considering this is the engine room that everyone sees.

Safety Systems
Well let’s be honest here, it’s a Volvo after all. They are the innovators when it comes to keeping passengers and pedestrians safe and alive.

Engine and Transmission
The engine provides ample power and push off the line thanks to Volvo’s all-wheel drive traction and In-Line 3.0 litre turbo.

The S60 Polestar handles city driving comfortably although it is reassuring to know that there is plenty of mid-range thrust power available with a tickle of the right foot.

Fuel economy around town is reasonable however a heavy right foot will ensure your local BP fuel station knows you well.

The six speed automatic gear box has been beefed up to handle the extra power although it can be frustrating to feel the gearbox continually hunt for the right gear in city traffic.

Downshifting through the gearbox performs seamlessly as long as the computer is in charge. Add your influence to the gearshifts and you will be met with a wall of resistance regardless how you ask.

Vehicle Details

Year, Make, ModelAustralian Pricing 2014 | Volvo S60 T6 Polestar           A$109,950 (MSRP)
EngineFuel Type 3.0 Litre In-Line 6 CylinderPetrol 98 RON
Kilowatts 257 kW
Horsepower 349 HP
Maximum Torque 500 NM
Fuel Consumption 10.2 Litres per 100 KMSAs tested by MyDrive
0 – 100 / 60 4.9 Seconds (Manufacturers Claim)
Gearbox Drive 6 Speed Auto Transmission(6 Speed Manual OS Only)All-Wheel Drive
Fuel Tank Size 67.5 Litres

 

Key Competitors
• BMW M3
• Audi RS4
• Lexus IS-F
• Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
For the first roll of the Polestar dice, the S60 stacks up nicely against this lot even though on paper it is down on power and performance. On price and options alone though, the S60 Polestar is streets ahead.

Vehicle Will Suit?
If you like European styling and impressive performance without the 150K price tag PLUS options, the S60 Polestar may be the car for you.

Final Thought
The Volvo S60 T6 Polestar is very much Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the noise from the steel exhaust is intoxicating brash and loud yet it can be on its best behaviour and as quite as church mouse.

The Polestar can be driven daily on that laborious route to work however be driven with passion and gusto through our ‘sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains’…, I’m sure you get the picture.

It would be a tough task to justify to the extra 40K for the Polestar edition over the standard S60 to cheese and kisses [wife] or the bank manager […wife] because realistically the extra money is spent under the hood and not in the cabin.

Once driven though, the angry Smurf emphasises where the extra dollars have been spent, wisely or not. To help the situation, sporter seats and a few extra Polestar highlights inside the cabin wouldn’t have gone unnoticed.

With only a handful of the 50 Polestar variants allocated to Australia still available, Volvo Car Australia’s Managing Director Matt Braid must be impressed with the take up of their stable leader thanks to the features and the incoming V8 Supercars team, Volvo Polestar Racing.

For details on the Volvo range of cars in Australia including options and specifications, click > www.volvo.com.au
For details on the Volvo Polestar Racing V8 Supercars team, click > www.volvopolestarracing.com.au

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