Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the Volvo S60 Polestar.
I’m going to tell you straight off that the 2015 Volvo S60 Polestar is one impressive sports-tuned offering; I think my only real issue is going to be the near $100,000 price tag!
First of all some detail and we start under the S60 Polestar bonnet where you will find a very enthusiastic turbo-charged 3.0 litre six-cylinder petrol that produces a healthy 257kW and 500Nm.
Power goes to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
With 20” alloy wheels and 35 series tyres, sports-tuned suspension, six-spot front brake calipers and ultra-sharp steering, the Volvo S60 Polestar is anything but what you think a Volvo might, or should, be.
Acceleration in a straight line is very impressive. With a distinctive straight-six type exhaust note, even in eco-mode the S60 Polestar gets off the line well and provides heaps of power for overtaking. With 500Nm of torque it chews up hills with aplomb.
For the record, the 0-100km/h sprint is covered in 4.9 seconds.
In the bends, well really the Volvo is just ridiculously capable. It never feels fazed and with the power going to the four wheels the grip all-round really brings a smile to your face.
The best bit though is probably the chassis – the S60 Polestar feels bullet-proof and there literally is just no flex in the chassis, the way doors close etc. – it’s as solid and reassuring as a rock!
Just as importantly, the ride is actually much more pleasant and forgiving than what you would expect from a vehicle that handles this well.
Granted, the super low-profile tyres aren’t completely forgiving on poor road surfaces with cracks and potholes and a bit noisy on certain surfaces too, but overall it’s an impressive mix of comfort and sport.
The turning circle though is a bit of a letdown and with that low front spoiler and quite vulnerable looking alloy wheels, a quick U-turn is not often an option!
Fuel consumption is a claimed combined 10.2L/100kms, this appears about right as I averaged just over 11L/100km in a week of predominantly city driving. Given the power and torque delivered by the S60 Polestar I think these figures are respectable.
Inside the cabin, aside from some carbon-fibre and suede, and of course the racing-inspired seats, the Volvo S60 Polestar is as comfortable and luxurious as just about any other Volvo.
Once again, as I found with the Volvo V40 D4, I thought the centre control area was a bit busy and a bit of a distraction. The infotainment system though, in the main, is easy to navigate around and the controls are simple enough.
I thought that perhaps the steering wheel adjustment might have just a little more reach travel, especially in the direction towards the dashboard.
The standard equipment list in the 2015 Volvo S60 Polestar is quite extensive, and includes; sat-nav, reverse camera, DVD player, electric/heated front seats, heated rear seat, push-button ignition and even a heated steering wheel!
The electric sunroof that our test car had is an optional extra that will set you back $2,650.
Safety gear includes lane departure and blind spot warning systems, forward collision alert and a really easy to use distance control cruise control system. The Volvo also scans speed signs and gives you a digital display of the local speed zone on the speedometer, clever.
The glove box and interior storage areas are adequately sized and there’s a handy pouch located on the front of the driver’s seat. Boot space though, despite being reasonably long, is a little disappointing.
At this stage there isn’t an ANCAP safety rating for the Volvo S60 Polestar.
Summing it up; the Volvo S60 Polestar is fast, powerful and handles like a dream.
It also sounds great, delivers an impressive ride and is just about as easy to live with as any Volvo in the 2015 range. It’s also a Volvo that gets plenty of attention out on the roads and you should expect plenty of questions and comments when parking or refuelling!
As good as the Volvo S60 Polestar is I just can’t see the $99,990 starting price as good value. Granted, a lot of that is tax, but it’s still about twice what a Subaru WRX STI will set you back and it’s just as fast (same 0/100km/h time)! The (slightly) smaller and slower Volkswagen Golf GTI also looks like great value at less than half the price.
While it has a good list of standard features that help it in the value stakes, I just don’t see (essentially) six figures here and that is a real shame. In fact it’s that price tag that see’s what would otherwise be a 9/10 car lose a couple of points.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Volvo S60 Polestar
Engine: 3.0 litre turbo-petrol producing 257kW and 500Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Safety: Not tested
Warranty: Three years
Price: From $99,990