For most of its existence, Polestar was a Swedish Volvo tuner, much like Alpina is to BMW. This was until recently, as Polestar is now Volvo’s official performance division. With cars like the S60 Polestar and V60 Polestar having recently been released, Volvo now has cars that can actually compete with some of the best from Germany. But will this Volvo V60 Polestar be able to keep up with one of Germany’s best wagons, the Alpina D3 Biturbo Touring?
Well, Fifth Gear has taken both cars to the track to find out which is best. In one corner is the brand new Alpina D3 Biturbo Touring in white with black wheels and tinted windows and it looks absolutely superb. It’s menacing and classy in the best possible way. This is one of the coolest looking wagons on the market by far. The Alpina D3 Biturbo comes with an Alpina-tuned version of BMW’s 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 diesel engine that develops just 350 hp but a monstrous 516 lb-ft of torque. So if you ever need to tow a cruise ship back to port, you know which vehicle to buy. The D3 Biturbo is capable of 0-60 mph in around 4.6 seconds, which is quick for a diesel and not far off the claimed time of the BMW M760Li that has a twin-turbo V12.
In the other corner is Volvo’s latest V60 Polestar and it’s very blue. It is actually a very good looking car, as Volvo has always made good looking wagons. The V60, based on the S60 sedan, is no exception and is a very sharp looking wagon. The color is also superb, something that Polestar uses exclusively. The V60 Polestar uses a turbocharged 3.0 liter I6 engine that develops 345 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, so clearly not as twisty as the Alpina. The Polestar also only has a six-speed automatic transmission, compared to the Alpina’s excellent ZF eight-speed auto, so its shifts are a touch slower.
So this is looking pretty bad for the Volvo, as it has less hp and a lot less torque, while also having a worse gearbox. However, the Volvo does have a Haldex-based all-wheel drive system, where as the Alpina is only rear-wheel drive. While the latter is more fun, the former might be better for putting down its torque while the Alpina’s 516 lb-ft might struggle to find traction out of only two wheels. So which is actually the better car?
Around the track in this Fifth Gear video, both cars seem very entertaining in their own ways. The Alpina is the typical modern BMW, giving way to a bit of initial understeer followed by some on-throttle oversteer, so it’s the more fun car of the two to drive hard. The Volvo, with its all-wheel drive system, tends to push a bit in corners initially, but then finds traction and just clings on. While driving around, it seems genuinely difficult to figure out which will be faster around the track, as both are good and bad in different ways, but both seem very fast.
In the end, the Volvo V60 Polestar actually was faster by about three tenths of a second than the Alpina. It’s strange, because the Alpina seemed poised to win the whole time, as it’s lighter, way more powerful and less inclined to push and understeer. But, in the end, I guess the Volvo’s all-wheel drive and rev-happier engine allowed it to get through the track just a bit faster than the Alpina.