2017 Volvo S60 Polestar is the quickest production Volvo ever made, but it lacks soul.
We’re big fans of Volvo’s Polestar models here at Motoring Guru. We like how they blend Volvo’s traditional values of safety, comfort and very logical Swedish design with Polestar’s racing know-how. The end result is usually some very pretty, comfortable and seriously quick performance cars.
Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar models of old were powered by Volvo’s excellent 3.0 litre six-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled petrol engine that developed 257kW @ 5700rpm and delivered 500Nm across a broad 3000-4750rpm powerband. That grunt was fed to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. And it was loud. Very loud. Mash the throttle into the thick carpet, and watch the digital tacho needle swing past 4,000rpm. The flap in the bi-modal exhaust would open and the S60/V60 Polestar would let out a dirty and guttural growl. It was smile inducing, intoxicating and addictive and so very un-Volvo-like. It was brilliant.
To listen how the previous model sounded, click here.
Volvo and Polestar have had to re-think their game plan for the 2017 S60 and V60 Polestar models. Volvo’s four-cylinder only engine strategy means that that lusty 3.0 litre six is dead. Their replacement is Volvo’s new twin-charged 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine. There’s a supercharger that acts at lower revs when the exhaust gasses aren’t flowing through the engine fast enough. Once the revs increase, the turbo kicks into action. The idea behind the system is optimum acceleration without lag. Maximum power for the new engine is 270kW @ 6000rpm and 470Nm @ 3100-5100rpm.
The engine is now mated to an eight-speed automatic that sends power to all four wheels. The 0-100km/h dash is now dismissed in 4.7 seconds – the V60 does it in 4.8 – a full two tenths quicker than the old car. We reveled in the new engine’s eagerness and there truly is no engine lag; posted speed limits approach far more quickly than you’d expect.
That eight-speed auto is slick and climbs through the ratios rapidly and effortlessly, making the most of that high tech engine. Whilst the 2017 Volvo S60 Polestar is undoubtedly quicker and more intelligent than its predecessors, it’s not perfect. One of the biggest flaws is the stop/start system. It’s simply too eager to engage and it can take a little too long for the engine to restart once you’re ready to move off once again. The second drawback to the 2017 Volvo S60 Polestar is the noise, or lack thereof. Outside there’s a deep burble at idle, but inside it just sounds like a generic four-cylinder engine. And some supercharger whine aside it just seems that Polestar engineers could’ve put more effort into the exhaust note.
However, whilst the engine may be too quiet and lack a little charisma and have an annoying start/stop system, it is very, very efficient. Volvo quotes an official combined fuel consumption figure of 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres. We averaged 9.5 litres. A little off the official figure, but still damn impressive for a car packing this much power and performance.
Another upside to the new drivetrain is reduced weight, and therefore improved handling. The new 2017 Volvo S60 Polestar with its lower weight and Polestar-fettled electric steering turns in more quickly, confidently and communicatively. Its poise and balance makes it a joy to drive.
Driveline aside, not a lot has changed with the 2017 Volvo S60 Polestar. It rides on prettier 20 inch wheels and there’s Lane Keep Assist, but that’s about it. The interior remains unchanged apart from some different buttons on the steering wheel. The interior is worth a mention, as while it still exudes iconic Swedish design, excellent fit and finish and comfort, it is starting to feel dated, especially as the infotainment screen doesn’t offer touch functionality and has to be controlled via various knobs on the centre stack. This can be tricky on the move, but at least the voice control is capable.
The seats are still sublime, as is the Harmon/Kardon sound system.
The subject of the slightly dated interior brings us to the price. The 2017 Volvo S60 Polestar is $89,702 plus on road costs and options. And while the car is very impressive, it just feels hard to justify nearly $90k worth, especially with an all-new third generation Volvo S60 waiting in the pipeline.
What We Like:
- New found fuel-efficiency
Not So Much:
- Engine is too quiet and lacks any sort of real aural character
- Annoying start/stop system
- Interior is starting to feel fiddly and dated
- Too expensive
Sale or No Sale
Yes, we would buy the 2017 Volvo S60 Polestar, but only if it was cheaper