Test Drive: Volvo's S60 Polestar - Braveheart Viking
Volvo -- the Swedish carmakers, known for being the flag-bearer of safety technology, also has a side we Indians aren't quite familiar with. Their wild side; the Polestar side
Volvo -- the Swedish carmakers, known for being the flag-bearer of safety technology, also has a side we Indians aren't quite familiar with. Their wild side; the Polestar side. The Swedes come up with unique cars that are capable of surprising the inner child and bring a massive grin on anybody's face. This time, on their 90th Anniversary, they have launched a sedan with qualities that are often not associated with Volvo. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the S60 Polestar.
As we walked towards the pits, the sight of a Rebel Blue, the trademark Polestar shade, S60 Polestar was simply amazing. But, what really caught our eyes, in terms of styling, was the Polestar branding on the S60. Little blue monograms placed at strategic places added a lot more excitement to the overall appearance of the car. The brushed-finish 20-inch wheels with über cool design and huge 371-mm Brembo rotors with six-piston silver callipers, again with Polestar branding, assured that the beast resting under the bonnet was to be taken seriously.
The front splitter and the rear spoiler and diffuser produce 33 kilos of downforce at 250 km/h with the front splitter adding another 21 kilos to help make the car stick to the tarmac like glue.
On the inside, the cabin resembles the standard S60. However, new road-going bucket-seats with better leather upholstery, new steering wheel leather trim, blue stitching and, most of all, a carbon-fibre centre console justify the Polestar badges all around the car.
Without further ado, we headed to the pit-lane exit, and off we went. The first thing that thrilled us was the way the 2.0-litre, four-pot, turbo and super-charged Drive-E engine responded when we nailed the throttle. It behaved like a well tamed beast that can have a standard four-cylinder engine for breakfast and still be hungry. After all, 367 PS and 470 Nm of torque from a puny production-spec four-cylinder motor are more than ample for any sane human being. The genius minds at Polestar were able to attain these numbers because they played around with the engine in more ways than one. They also tuned the eight-speed Geartronic automatic gearbox for faster shift timings and precision control in corners. The S60 Polestar also gets a BorgWarner all-wheel-drive system, which was further tuned by Polestar engineers for optimal calibration and torque distribution. This car is also 20 kilos lighter than the previous-generation. These changes have dramatically altered the way the S60 feels in the engine department.
The Polestar branding placed at strategic places looks more appealing. Pics/Volvo India
The power and torque delivery is as smooth as butter and, at the same time, it is also quite rapid. We came to a halt at the pit-lane exit, hit the brake with the left foot and nailed the throttle with the right foot and the revs went up to optimal thanks to the launch control. As we approached the 50-metre mark, we lifted our right foot off the throttle and hit the brakes, and as soon as we did that, the Brembo system reminded us that we had to be a little less aggressive on the pedal for the car slowed down more than it needed to. This shows that the braking performance is more than adequate.
As we turned right, looking at the apex, the S60 Polestar too was headed in the same direction with no signs of understeer or loss of grip. The suspension, made by Ohlins and further tuned by Polestar engineers, performed exceptionally well on the bumpy Kari track. In the chicane on the back end of the track, we were hitting the kerbs and despite that the suspension took everything in its stride to keep the car on the right line. The suspension features springs that are 80 per cent and stabilisers are 15 per cent stiffer as compared to the standard car. However, one can easily adjust the stiffness further to get the right setup for one's preferred driving style. The S60 Polestar we drove was set towards a slightly soft setup for the bumpy track and, honestly, we think this worked quite well as there was enough leverage for the suspension to work in the best way possible.
Throughout our 20 minutes on the track, never did we feel frightened by the power or the handling of the car, except when the brakes were applied automatically as we got too close to the instructor's car on lap one. This was when we experienced the S60 Polestar's radar-based safety system. Incidentally, this is the second car from Volvo India to feature this system.
After about six odd laps, we were left with a really happy feeling. The S60 Polestar is a car that ably commingles performance with safety, build quality, ride quality, handling, and top-notch equipment. There is the whole array of Volvo safety systems, including the radar-based safety features, that comes as standard. The car has space for five adults, a big boot for the weekend's worth of luggage and all the gadgetry one can ask from a luxury sedan.
Now, here is the shocker: despite being priced at Rs 52.5 lakh (ex-Delhi), which makes it a bargain performance sedan with high practicality. Although if you want one, hurry, because the S60 Polestar will be limited to just 30 units for the Indian market.
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