Gothenburg, Sweden - Car company marketing mavens like to toss around the term ‘exclusivity’ as if it was a performance component or a paint colour you could add to a standard model, but the petrolheads at Volvo’s Polestar performance division understand what it’s all about.
They’re building a combined total of 1500 of the 2018 S60 and V60 Polestar - complete with a new carbon-fibre aero kit that increases downforce by 30 percent - for the whole world. What that means for us is that South Africa will be getting 23 2018-spec S60 Polestar sedans and exactly one (count them, one) V60 Polestar station wagon. Now that’s exclusivity.
The new kit has been developed by Polestar and Cyan Racing from its World Touring Car Championship campaign, and from last year’s assault on the Nurburgring, which resulted in a new lap record for for a street legal four-door sedan around the infamous Nordschleife.
It includes a new front splitter, side sills and a rear spoiler extension, for improved grip and high-speed stability for when the driving gods grant you an empty stretch of twisty road - but also for precision steering when an evasive manoeuvre is needed on the freeway.
Cosmetic updates include new 20 inch diamond-cut rims in high-gloss black, carbon-fibre door mirror housings, and a new metallic blue paint colour, as well as new upholstery with blue contrast stitching and Polestar embroidering.
But that’s really not what these cars are all about: more than 250 of the standard S60’s components have been upgraded or replaced to deliver serious sports-car performance in a practical family car. Most important among these are the adjustable Ohlins shock absorbers and six-piston Brembo brake callipers on 371mm ventilated discs.
They also have a strut brace with carbon-fibre reinforcement, 80 percent stiffer springs and stiffer top suspension mountings all round, upgraded steering, Michelin Pilot Super Sport 245/35 radials with cavity damping.
What hasn’t changed however, is their two-litre petrol four with turbo and supercharger, delivering 270kW at 6000 revs and 470Nm from 3100-5100rpm, thanks to special conrods and camshaft, high-capacity fuel pump and air filter and and special stainless-steel active exhaust system with dual 80mm tailpipes.
It drives via a specially calibrated eight-speed paddle-shift transmission and BorgWarner all-wheel drive, to launch either of the new ‘60-series Polestars off the line to 100km/h in 4.7s, to 200km/h in 17.2s and on to an electronically limited 250km/h flat out.
The 2018 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar will be released in South Africa in the last quarter of 2017; prices have yet to be confirmed.