What is it?
You might wonder what ‘Polestar’ really stands for these days.
Admittedly, it’s not obvious. On one hand, Polestar is a stand-alone subsidiary brand of Volvo – one currently readying itself to release the 600bhp 500-off Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid, with its three electric motors and an exterior design that seems to combine elements of art deco and Bauhaus, only remixed from the future. We’ve driven the prototypes and they are phenomenally desirable, as you would well expect for the £140,000 asking price.
You can ignore that Polestar, though, because on the other hand, there’s ‘Polestar Engineered’. This is a trim level that made its debut last year as an even more serious take on the range-topping T8 Twin Engine version of the US-built S60 saloon – and it's now available on the V60 estate and the XC60 crossover. ‘Trim level’ is putting it lightly, in truth. Software tweaks might liberate only 20bhp or so from the 380bhp plug-in hybrid powertrain (transverse 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo for the front axle, with an independent electric motor for the rear), but there are more appreciable changes elsewhere.
The brakes, recognisable by grooved discs and deep-gold calipers, are from Brembo on the S60 and V60 models and Akebono (which also supplied those for the McLaren P1) on the XC60, the largest Polestar Engineered model available so far. There’s also now an aluminium strut brace in the engine bay, to stiffen the nose and hone the steering response, and the Aisin eight-speed automatic gearbox has been tweaked for quicker upshifts.