This is interesting. Former Volvo racing team and road car tuner Polestar has resurfaced for the first time since being bought and brought in house. They spent a week or so gradually uncovering teaser images of what looked like an S90 rear end. “What’s the point of teasing me with something that I’ve already seen?” I thought and scrolled right past it.
Tracks, Stopped In
This morning though, we now have this, the new – not a Volvo – Polestar 1. It looks exactly like the 2013 S90 Coupé Concept, which is great. Volvo coupés are always super cool and they haven’t done one for a long time. There’s something E46 M3 meets Mustang about the side profile in all the right ways.
I can’t resolve the front grille without the Volvo sash, it just looks unfinished. Like the badge was forgotten, there’s nothing filling that massive void. The Polestar insignia is on the leading edge of the bonnet but there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of a nod to history. Possibly retain the sash and swap in an over-sized Polestar like the concept car?
Small gripes aside, this thing should be pretty sweet. That S90 that’s spent extra time in the sauna styling is fully realised in Koenigsegg counseled carbon fibre. The S90 interior is a very nice place to be and it looks like that mostly carries over with an added dose of sporty aluminium instead of raw-finish wood.
Motivation comes from an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain. There’s no mention of what the engine actually is other than it has one. Total system output is 600hp and 1000Nm. Which should be reasonably handy. No mention is made of 0-100 performance. Just that the pure electric range will be more than 150km. Right. For a ‘true drivers car’ there sure aren’t many driving specifications. I’d take it to mean ‘not as quick as a Tesla‘.
With nothing else to go on, one must assume that the power unit is a development of the T8 setup from the XC90 and S90. Which is a transverse petrol turbo 4 on the front axle and electric drive on the rear axle. Polestar say that the rear end has two motors for torque vectoring. OK, things are starting to look up. The active suspension is a new development by Öhlins and is continuously controlled electronically.
So it looks mostly pretty good and sounds like it might even be a cracking drive. Volvo, sorry, Polestar are taking expressions of interest right away, however you can’t buy one.
The ownership proposition is a very interesting one, in that you never really own the car. You subscribe to your Polestar as a service. There is still an ordering and configuration element, which is done via an app, then you subscribe to the car by paying a monthly fee. The subscriptions are managed over 2 or 3 year terms and at the end you hand it back to Polestar who then refurbish and re-lease the car. At face value, it looks quite similar to the way many existing ‘guaranteed future value’ finance systems work, just with less flexible terms. This does, however roll in your insurance and servicing costs.
It also gives you the ability to call on another Volvo or Polestar vehicle if need be. Taking the fam’ to the snow? Whip out the app and dial up an XC90 for the weekend. Handy in theory, however BMW offered a similar system to early i3 and i8 adopters. Here in Australia, it was discontinued because nobody actually used it.
It’s not a Swedish-Chinese Tesla. We Promise.
Volvo, erm, Polestar also intend to open up some shops-that-aren’t-shops around the world in the same vein as Tesla so prospective subscribers can check things out before they place their order. In their words, ‘customers still like to physically engage with the brand’. They won’t be in existing Volvo showrooms and in true startup/marketing buzz friendly style will be called ‘Polestar Spaces’.
So soon you’ll be able to jump on the internet or go on down to your local not-a-showroom Polestar Space and check out the new not-a-Volvo S90 (C90?) coupé which you can’t buy. What a time to be alive.