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Polestar uprates impending Volvo S60 T8. Image by Volvo.

Polestar uprates impending Volvo S60 T8
Volvo hasnt launched S60 T8 PHEV yet, but already Polestar has an upgrade package for it.
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What's all this about?

Volvo's Polestar division has had a very eventful life, given it is kinda, sorta, technically only three years old.

In what way?

Well, having been Volvo's race-prep team for a while, the Swedish car company bought the outfit whole in 2015 and then immediately declared that Polestar would become its M Division, its AMG, its Audi Sport. To that end, first we had the bonkers V60 Polestar, a super-rare, six-pot Volvo in vivid Rebel Blue that sounded outrageously good. Then, seeing the way the environmental tide was turning, the company had to downsize its hot-rod models, swapping out the 3.0-litre engine for a turbocharged 2.0-litre four. It was still mighty quick, though, as its Nordschleife time proved. And then things started getting weird.


Sorry, we probably should have said 'wired'. Volvo, as a company, suddenly placed all its emphasis on green cars and electrification; meaning there was no place for profligate, high-power and thirsty fast road cars. The mighty T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrids began appearing, using the 2.0-litre super- and turbocharged four-cylinder Drive-E engine and electric augmentation to deliver 400hp, 640Nm and the sort of saintly running figures you'd think only possible if these Volvos were some kind of land yachts, harnessing nothing but the wind for forward momentum.

I think you're getting dragged off course. The nub of the matter?

Oh, yes. Sorry. Anyway, having briefly been a purveyor of modding upgrades for regular Volvo models, the Swedish carmaker then decided Polestar should become its 'electric performance brand', leading to the creation of the mesmerising Polestar 1 sports car. And now this.

And what is the 'this' to which you refer?

It's called the S60 T8 Twin Engine Polestar Engineered.

Hold on, the new S60 isn't out yet... is it?

No, not quite. Volvo will launch its midsized four-door saloon, the sibling to the utterly gorgeous V60, in a week's time at the inauguration of its new facility in Charleston, South Carolina. That factory will be the sole production site for the S60 worldwide, making this the first Volvo to be built in America.

Right, but what has Polestar got to do with this?

Well, the S60 T8 Twin Engine Polestar Engineered has been breathed upon by Polestar. It gets big, lightweight and open-design alloys, which show off the gold-painted, Brembo monobloc brake callipers (plus high-temperature-resistant pads), black chrome exhaust pipes, Polestar emblems on the exterior, golden seatbelts (very cool!), hlins dual-flow shock absorbers in the multilink suspension and a strut brace too (both these details shared with the Polestar 1), and a tweak to the ECU that turns the standard, yet-to-be-released S60 T8's 400hp and 640Nm numbers up to 415hp and 670Nm. These software upgrades are said to improve fuel consumption, the Volvo's performance in full EV mode and the refinement of the shift patterns for the automatic eight-speed gearbox. Not only that, but the Polestar Engineered package will be available on the other 60-series T8 models, namely the aforementioned V60 and the equally lovely XC60 SUV. Which leads us onto a final bit of weirdness.

Sigh... What now?

Well... er... Polestar has already DONE an upgraded XC60 T8. With, um, 421hp. So this doesn't look like much of a step on.

You're rather confused by Polestar, aren't you?

We'll say.

Matt Robinson - 13 Jun 2018

Earlier articles featuring 2018 Volvo S60

2018-06-25: Volvos US-built S60 revealed

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