Performance and efficiency are combined with desirability
- Volvo offshoot Polestar now a marque in its own right
- First product is a 600hp hybrid coupe based on the S90
- Order book is open now, but deliveries don’t begin until 2019
This is the Polestar 1 – a handsome, hybrid two-door coupe. If you think it looks familiar, then you’re not wrong: that’s because the brand is the new performance subsidiary of Volvo, and its first car is based on the S90 saloon.
It’s an innovative coupe, and not just in the way it has been designed – Polestar will introduce a new ownership concept for its debut model.
A Polestar is born
It’s a great-looking two-door, 2+2 seat Grand Tourer coupe with an Electric Performance Hybrid drivetrain that will drive up to 93 miles on battery power alone. In full-blooded hybrid mode, its 600hp power output is backed up by 1000Nm of torque.
But Chinese parent company Geely says that Polestar is the Volvo Car Group’s performance brand, and will be electric-only as future models come on stream.
There are three new model ranges planned, to be made at an all-new purpose-built production facility in Chengdu, China. Polestar management says that the 1 will ‘set a new industry benchmark for performance vehicles’ when it rolls off the line in 2019.
Polestar 2 will start production later in 2019 and will be a mid-sized battery electric vehicle (BEV), taking aim at the Tesla Model 3 and Jaguar I-Pace. It will be followed by the Polestar 3, a larger SUV-style BEV; both will be aimed at enthusiastic drivers.
What’s under the skin?
The Polestar 1 is based upon Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA), which is also found underpinning the S90 and V90 ranges, as well as the XC60 and XC90 SUVs. But according to Polestar, around half of the 1 is all-new.
It gains an interesting new Ohlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) set-up, while its carbon-fibre body significantly reduces weight compared with the S90 it’s based on.
More importantly, it helps the 1 achieve an improvement in torsional rigidity of 45%. In short, a stiffer body means more predictable cornering. Handling will be further aided by a clever double-electric rear axle, which acts to create torque vectoring, a function that sends more power to the outer wheels when cornering.
And the new ownership model?
You’ll buy your Polestar 1 completely online via the Polestar app or online portal, and it comes on a two- or three-year subscription basis. The zero-deposit, all-inclusive subscription will also add features such as pick-up and delivery for servicing, and the ability to rent alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar range, all incorporated into one monthly payment.
To aid this subscription model, a Polestar 1 comes with Phone-As-Key technology that means the owner can share a virtual key with a third party. So it can be remotely loaned out, while being able to access personalised on-demand features.
The dealership isn’t dead, though, because Polestar says it will open a network of what it calls Polestar Spaces. This is where future Polestar customers can interact with products and the brand. Polestar Spaces will be standalone facilities and not within existing Volvo retailer showrooms.
Orders for the Polestar Coupe 1 opened in October 2017, but remember that production doesn’t begin until 2019 so you’ll have quite a wait before you can get your hands on one.