We’ve known for a while that Volvo planned to spin off their performance division, Polestar, making it a separate brand with a stand-alone vehicle. Until now, nobody really knew what to expect from the new kid on the block. Now we can take a good look at the Polestar 1, and their first model is impressive on several levels.
This coupe rides on the same platform as the Volvo S90, but you wouldn’t know that at first glance. Glimmers of Volvo styling exist, but the muscular yet refined looks of the Polestar 1 will surely turn heads. In fact, the side profile strongly resembles an American muscle car, while the fascias are good enough for any black-tie event. Naturally, the overall aesthetic inside and out is purely Scandinavian. That means clean lines, simplicity, and an air of sophistication. The car is a 2+2, and looks quite comfortable to sit in.
Some were expecting this new model to be a pure electric vehicle given Volvo’s stated commitment to electrification. The plan has been to make Polestar a performance brand that pushes the boundaries of electrification. For now, however, the Polestar 1 is only a plug-in hybrid. The setup includes a Volvo E-Drive 2.0-liter engine, plus an electric motor on each of the axles. That’s good for a combined 600 horsepower and neck-snapping 737 pound-feet of torque. Polestar hasn’t bragged about acceleration times yet, but they must be impressive.
Of course, the Polestar 1 also helps save on gas. As you drive around town, a 90-mile pure electric range means you likely will see the gas station occasionally. Even when compared to the range of some EVs, that’s an impressive figure. No other plug-in hybrid on the market comes even close to that range. It shows Polestar is serious about creating quality electrified cars, instead of just following the status quo.
When you’re in motion, the Öhlins continuously controlled electronic suspension promises solid handling and comfort. The car has a carbon fiber body that sheds weight and boosts torsional rigidity by 45 percent. Polestar says the carbon fiber body also lowers the center of gravity, which we all know translates into better cornering performance. If that’s not enough, a unique double electric rear axles setup accommodates torque vectoring. Perhaps this will be the electrified car you take to autocross.
All production of the Polestar 1 will take place in China. Honestly, this is one reason why Volvo might have given up Polestar: it differentiates the brand from its Scandinavian roots and makes it clear that it’s a division of Geely in China. The carmaker is building the Polestar Production Center in Chengdu, China and anticipates it will be ready next summer.
For now, there will be no way to buy the Polestar 1. Instead, they will all be part of a subscription service from Polestar. Similar to leasing, you just pay a monthly fee, but without an upfront deposit. You can sign up for two or three years at a time. What’s different is that your payment covers everything associated with the car, including insurance. You also won’t go to a dealership and order one. Instead, Polestar will do all transactions online. There are just 500 models available in the first year.
Polestar has two more vehicles in the works: an SUV and a sedan. Both will be fully-electric, with the Polestar 1 paving the way.