BMW has its M Division, Mercedes has AMG and Audi Sport is Ingolstadt’s performance division. These are the famous performance subdivisions that have been making some of the best performance cars in the world for a very long time. One performance subdivision that isn’t as well known is Polestar, which has been making tuned variants of Volvos for some time now, though far more under the radar. However, the Swedes have announced that Polestar will soon be developing its own cars, based on Volvos. The first of which is the Polestar 1 and, on paper at least, it’s very impressive. Should BMW be worried?
Firstly, the Polestar 1 looks very good. It’s based on the Volvo S90, which is already a good looking sedan, but Polestar chopped 12.6 inches off of the overall wheelbase and 7.9 inches from the rear overhang, now making it a coupe. It shows that Volvo’s new design language will work well on coupes, as this is a very handsome looking two-door sports car. It has muscular rear haunches and a C-pillar that’s almost reminiscent of the first-gen Audi A5. It’s also small, as it’s about four inches shorter than a BMW 4 Series Coupe. So it’s the right size. Much of the body panels are apparently made from carbon fiber, according to Polestar. That should make it very light but also very expensive.
While it’s radically changed from the S90 on the outside, it’s basically identical on the inside. Though, that’s no bad thing, as the S90’s cabin is quite lovely. Still, though, with this being Polestar’s first standalone car, it should have made more of an attempt to spruce up the cabin a bit.
Powering the Polestar 1 will be a very impressive plug-in hybrid powertrain. So under the hood will be a 2.0 liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine that will power the front wheels. The rear wheels will be powered by two electric motors and battery pack, giving it full-time torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. Total system power output is said to be 600 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque, which is mighty.
It is said to be able to drive under pure EV power alone, making it rear-wheel drive during that time, and should be able to get about 93 miles of EV range. The Polestar 1 should also handle well, as it will get adaptive Öhlins dampers and Akebono, six-piston ceramic brakes. So it should handle and stop as well as it accelerates.
While this is a very expensive and low-volume car that won’t go on sale until 2019, it does point toward an interesting future for Polestar. It will be the first in a series of upcoming vehicles from the Swedish brand, with the Polestar 2 and 3 on the way, the latter of which will be an SUV. It’s also said that all future Polestar vehicles will be fully electric, with no petrol engines.
All Polestar vehicles will be very low volume and it’s not going to be an immediate player in a segment dominated by Germans. However, this seems like a very impressive hybrid coupe and, more importantly, a very impressive first attempt at a standalone vehicle for Polestar. Should BMW fear the Swedish tuner in the future? Probably not but the Polestar 1 certainly shows us that BMW should at least keep an eye on it.