Electric performance brands are all the rage in 2023. Taking a name often associated with sportiness and loud noises, and then releasing a pure EV under said moniker is how some manufacturers think they can pass off silent running to us enthusiasts. Think the Ford Mustang Mach-E, new Abarth 500e and the Dodge Charger Daytona EV concept. Love or loathe them, it’s a trend that doesn’t show signs of waning anytime soon. Mostly because it’s working.
Arguably, that’s all thanks to Volvo and Polestar. The Swedish performance arm started life as a race team before turning its attention to tuning up Volvo saloons and estates in the late 2000s. It developed some uncharacteristically barmy Swede machines in its short stint as Volvo’s sports division, but (somewhat predictably) it was never able to establish itself as one of the greats in a market dominated by the Germans. So when Volvo set its sights on releasing an electric division with a sporty twist, using the Polestar name as the basis for the brand must’ve seemed like a no-brainer.
Just like its EVs – and epitomised by the Polester 2 BST 270 we drove recently – the company’s combustion cars were put together with a meticulous level of detail. Take this V60 Polestar, for example. It’s had expensive Ohlins dampers fitted, increasing the spring rate by a staggering 80 per cent while lowering the car by 3mm in the process. Uprated bushings and top mounts stiffened things up further, with six-piston Brembo brake callipers up front to help bring the performance saloon to a stop. That’s about as close as you’ll get to a modern-day equivalent to the 850R estate that tore up the BTCC field in the 1990s.
The initial batch of V60s by Polestar came with straight-six power – specifically, a 3.0-litre unit nabbed from the standard T6. It has, of course, been heavily modified, with a new turbocharger, upgraded intercooler, tweaked ECU and freer flowing exhaust bringing power up to 350hp and 369lb ft of torque. All of that gets channelled across both axles via a six-speed automatic gearbox, resulting in a 0-62mph time of five seconds dead. Fast, if not Earth-shattering, as a package the V60 Polestar was comfortably the most focused car to come from Volvo in quite some time.
Admittedly, it was always going to be a niche offering. Its German rivals were either faster in a straight line, better in the corners or more lavish inside. And at £50,000 it wasn’t exactly the cheaper alternative, either. Perhaps that’s why production was capped at just 750 units, of which only 125 were built for the UK. A facelifted model arrived in 2017, swapping the likeable V6 for a more powerful (yet not so likeable) 2.0-litre four-pot turbo engine. That version will be lighter on your wallet in the long run, but it wasn’t anywhere near as special as the 3.0-litre unit in the original car.
While it may have been a tough sell when new, the V60 Polestar is a far more tempting used proposition. Prices have naturally taken a tumble ten years after its release, making it an appealing alternative to the equivalent (if much more powerful) RS4 and C63 wagon. This 65,000-mile car is up for £21,059, which is about on par with other German performance cars but it’ll likely give you less grief if something goes wrong. This one also has the added benefit of looking like an undercover police car, so expect traffic to move out of your way like Moses parting the Red Sea.
SPECIFICATION | VOLVO V60 POLESTAR
Engine: 2,953cc straight-six, turbocharged
Transmission: six-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],250rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],000rpm
MPG: 27.7 (NEDC)
Year registered: 2015
Recorded mileage: 65,000
Price new: £49,775
Yours for: £21,059
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