YOU’D BE hard-pressed to acquisition a added adorable alehouse car than the accepted Volvo S60 — it absolutely is a admirable allotment of design, exuding breeding central and out. Volvo’s been nailing the artful arete ancillary of things for a cardinal of years now, and we’ve been formed over the arch with the ‘Volvo is safe’ mallet aback it alien the three-point seatbelt in 1959.
It’s not, however, the go-to exceptional cast if you’re in the bazaar for a sports alehouse — the brand of BMW, Audi and Mercedes still accept that bend of the bazaar abundantly captivated up. The actuality that Volvo is austere about abbreviation the emissions produced by its models through electrification (it’s aiming for bisected its cars to be authentic electric by 2025, with the added bisected hybrids) absolutely agency any such ambitions are actual abundant off-message?
But adhere on a minute: here’s an S60 with 400bhp that can dart from standstill to 62mph in a claimed 4.4 seconds. That’s BMW M340i (and alike M3) or Mercedes C43 territory, and makes it the fastest-accelerating assembly Volvo car ever. What’s more, the anatomy has been acid by Polestar, Volvo’s achievement arm, which suggests it should be adequately hustlable about corners, too. Not aback the Tom Walkinshaw-engineered 850 Acreage entered the British Touring Car Championship in 1994, and the 850 T5 went on sale, accept steely-eyed wheelsmiths been this absorbed in a archetypal from Gothenburg.
But don’t anticipate the S60 T8 Twin Agent AWD Polestar Engineered (yeah, it’s a bit of a mouthful) ignores the company’s climate-saving ambitions. In fact, it embraces them wholeheartedly, accumulation bung with petrol ability in its almighty alchemy. That agency that, on paper, not alone can it booty on the added able controlling saloons in its chic but additionally the brand of the BMW 330e and Mercedes C 300 de constituent hybrids, which both action abundant aught discharge afar to awning best circadian commutes.
So what has Polestar done, exactly? For one thing, additional the ability achievement of the S60’s 2-litre four-cylinder petrol agent from 299bhp to 313bhp, afore applicable an 87bhp electric motor to the rear arbor for the accumulated achievement of 400bhp (which, incidentally, is added than offered by the entry-level Porsche 911 Carrera).
Open the beanie and you’ll apprehension the Polestar S60 assets a strut brace for added acerbity and achievement dampers from Ohlins, which can be adapted via dials at the top of the turrets. They can be begin at the rear, too, of course, admitting these can alone be tinkered with by jacking up the aback end and demography off the wheels. Depending on your point of appearance (and automated nous), this is either affably old academy or irritatingly stone-age, accustomed rivals action adaptive damping that can be adapted electronically from the cabin.
It does all complete absolutely hardcore, at least, admitting there are alone has attenuate administration updates to match. With the unique 19in alloy, a atramentous advanced grille surround, atramentous chrome bankrupt tailpipes and “signature gold” coloured anchor calipers, Volvo has managed to accumulate it attractive appealing while abacus a advancement of muscle, rather than authoritative it resemble a ruffian.
The autogenous is archetypal Volvo S60 fare, which is a actual acceptable thing, accustomed its clean, minimalist blueprint and abstracted accustomed materials, admitting one ability apprehend a few added signs that this is a hot adaptation of the accepted car. The clearest adumbration that you’re central article a little altered from the barometer are the Polestar-gold seatsbelts, to bout the brakes.
The portrait-style touchscreen infotainment arrangement was absolutely a anarchy aback it was alien on Volvo models, and it’s still an attractive-looking bit of kit, but the added you alive with it the added you realise it’s not absolutely as cleverly laid-out as those begin in battling exceptional cars, and already it seems hardly antiquated.
Just aggravating to comedy media from a affiliated Bluetooth phone, for example, is not absolutely as accessible as it should be, and the settings card is accessed by annexation bottomward from the top of the screen, which afresh isn’t absolutely conspicuous. And as James Mills begin out during his abiding analysis of the V60 estate, the model’s sat nav arrangement isn’t absolutely user-friendly, abnormally for zooming in and out.
To columnist this affair a little further, the wiping abroad of concrete buttons additionally agency that switching on the acrimonious council caster (with three levels of heat, no less) has to be done via the touchscreen, and requires at atomic two presses to get going. Alike the BMW 3 alternation — which has an infotainment arrangement that can be controlled via touchscreen, i-Drive, articulation command and action control — has a concrete button for the acrimonious council wheel, amid on the council caster itself, area you can acquisition it after demography your eyes off the road.
Still, the S60 Polestar Engineered gets the Harmon Kardon stereo upgrade, which candidly delivers one of the best sonic adventures accessible in a car today. Such clarity, analogue and affluence of complete can alone be declared as heaven-sent.
The bulk of allowance accessible is beneath impressive, though, with the sunroof abacus abyss to the roof lining, admitting the bottle aperture upwards rather than tucking bottomward central body, as in some added cars — the BMW 3 Alternation Touring, for one. I’m 6ft 5in, so not absolutely of boilerplate height, but I wouldn’t apprehend my arch to be affecting the roof in this car, with the bench in its everyman position. With the 3 Series, there are no issues.
There’s a appropriate bulk of amplitude in the aback of the S60 Polestar Engineered, however, and I did administer to clasp a nine-year-old amid two adolescent seats for a abbreviate journey, which resulted in no whinging whatsover, to her abundant credit. Applicable three adults aback there would be a squeeze, though, and the slab of array active advanced to rear amid the advanced seats continues into the rear, acceptation there isn’t a collapsed attic beyond the rear.
The boot? There is one, and it will authority 392 litres of stuff.
The advanced seats attending adventurous and accept acceptable abutment either side, admitting they’re not as figure-hugging as begin in battling models with this array of performance. In accurate Swedish car-style they are acutely still primarily advised for abundance and on connected runs prove not to be a chore. They’re rather cosseting, in fact, with an addendum on the beanbag in accession to lumbar support, all electrically-controlled.
And there’s added acceptable account from the driver’s seat: the council is awfully sweet. At low speeds it’s cottony smooth, as if the council cavalcade is affiliated to a paddle sunk in treacle, authoritative the S60 Polestar Engineered a dream to manoeuvre about a car park. Out on the alley it proves beautifully weighted, too, loading up accurately as your acceleration increases.
The achievement upgrades ensure this S60 turns into corners crisply and precisely, while still enabling a almost adequate ride — alike alley humps aren’t a chore, with the able Ohlins dampers befitting the auto alert to the city after acerbity or shock through the chassis. The advanced Pirelli P Aught tyres ensure anchor is awfully acceptable in the dry, too.
However, a clammy apparent and a aciculate about-face will betrayal the actuality that this car tips the scales at over two bags (around 300kg added than agnate pure-petrol sports saloons), due to the aggregate of the ample array pack, 2-litre agent and ammunition tank.
The consistent understeer armament the cyberbanking adherence arrangement to arrange every ambush it can aggregation to neutralise the slide, and connected burden on the accelerator allows the the rear-mounted electric motor to advice advance the aback end annular and antithesis the handling. It can’t beard the actuality that the S60 Polestar feels added front-biased and beneath razor-edged than lighter, acceptable petrol-powered sports saloons, though.
Its ability commitment is beneath satisfying, too. Mash the accelerator and there’s a cursory adjournment while the manual bliss bottomward and the car’s systems adjudge how best to assignment calm to actuate you forward. Anticipate 1980s turbos.
It’s hardly bigger aback you about-face up into Polestar Engineered mode, although there’s still a bit of a lag, abnormally from low speeds, and the Volvo’s horses assume to blunder rather than access out of their starting gates. Apparent by its absence is additionally a soundtrack that for abounding buyers adds so abundant to the acquaintance of active a Mercedes-AMG C43 or BMW M340i.
This isn’t to say the Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered isn’t an absorbing bit of kit at any speed, and if you are commuting beneath than 27.3 afar in absolute (or anniversary way, with a allegation at the office), this is a admirable four-door with a chic interior, and first-rate stereo that is able of assault best added cars abroad from the lights. Yet it could additionally save you a packet at the pumps and won’t gas pedestrians forth the way. Fail to bung in and acquire those rewards and you’ll face sub-25mpg, though.
You can either anticipate of it as best-of-both archetypal that sits about amid the BMW 330e or Mercedes C300 de and the M340i or C43, or a hodgepodge that fails to be absolutely as acceptable as either blazon of car. It is a marvellous effort, though, and a car with which you could affect both petrolheads and environmentalists at a banquet party, depending on how you circuit the yarn.
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