Polestar 1 ‑ 600hp subscription‑only Swedish super‑coupe revealed
This is Polestar 1, the much-anticipated first car from Volvo’s new electric performance brand. It is unveiled today (17 October) with 600 horsepower, handsome coupe looks, a big electric range… and Tesla firmly in its sights.
This is the shock of the new, Volvo style, in all sorts of ways as Polestar graduates from performance offshoot to a standalone company with a mission to redefine not only electric performance but also aspects of buying and running an electric car.
You won’t be seeing this car in any Volvo showroom. You will arrange a test drive and order it online, then run it on a subscription service. Polestar 1, like a forthcoming Polestar 2 hatchback and Polestar 3 SUV, will be made in China in a new purpose-built half-billion-pound assembly plant.
But first the car…and it’s a looker as you would expect of a company with a car designer, Thomas Ingenlath, as its chief executive officer. You know at once it’s a Volvo – despite the absence of Volvo badges – even though there’s no parallel model in the Volvo range. Its inspiration comes from the Volvo Concept Coupe of 2012 – as designed by Ingenlath.
The 2+2 coupe offers a gimmick-free, three-box coupe shape with plenty of Volvo design cues but a sleeker, sportier visual appeal. At the front, there’s a traditional Volvo-type grille but the rear end has a distinctive look all its own. Underneath is a Volvo S90 platform but with chunks chopped out of the wheelbase and rear overhang in order to achieve the sportier proportions. Half of the car’s structure is bespoke to this model, says Polestar. Overall length is 4,500mm, so overall it is shorter than a BMW 3 Series. The body is all carbon-fibre.
Like Tesla, Polestar is committed to fully electric battery-powered cars…apart from this first one. This is a hybrid, combining a 215bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels with twin electric motors at the back. Polestar says combined output is 592bhp with 737b ft of torque, so performance – no figures thus far – should not be lacking, especially since there is a clever new torque vectoring system at the back to keep everything in line. In the battery-powered mode, the car can cover up to 93 miles which Polestar says is the longest full electric range of any hybrid car on the market.
With its sexy looks and promise of stonking performance Polestar 1 will act as a hero model for the all-electric Polestars to come. Polestar – which began as a race team before hotting-up Volvo V60s – is adamant its first model will be a true driver’s car, with star billing going to a new system of Öhlins continuously controlled electronic dampers. Braking is courtesy of Akebono six-piston callipers while weight distribution comes in at of 48:52 front: rear.
The firm says it will make a maximum of 500 Polestar 1s a year, available to order now but for delivery from mid-2019, soon after the new plant in Chengdu, China, being built with Volvo parent Geely, is completed.
With such a spec, and that carbon body, the number 1s (couldn’t they have thought of a better name?) are sure to be premium priced, much more so than the bigger volume, more mainstream Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 models that are due to follow it from 2019. And the price of the first Polestar is? That’s another thing we do not yet know, but Polestar says the cars will only be available via a subscription service.
This is said to be a zero-deposit deal over two or three years with everything incorporated into one monthly payment. Features include pick-up and delivery servicing and the ability to swap cars for alternatives – so take an XC90 for your hols for, example.
The cars will be serviced at selected Volvo dealers but Polestar drivers never need darken their doors, with all issues being dealt with online. There will be no Polestar dealers – and no Polestar cars in the corner of a Volvo showroom – but there will be Polestar retail ‘spaces’.
“Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet,” says Thomas Ingenlath. “It’s a beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it – a great start for our new Polestar brand.