Test Drive: 2017 Volvo V60 T6 Polestar

Test Drive: 2017 Volvo V60 T6 Polestar
Hang on to your hat! (Photos: Jack Kazmierski)

How do you turn a vehicle that’s designed with safety and comfort in mind into something that will quicken your pulse, stroke your ego, and bring you within a hair of losing your license? In a word, Polestar!

While the “standard” Volvo V60 is a very nice vehicle, when Volvo gives it the Polestar treatment, this otherwise luxurious and family-friendly wagon dons a completely new persona. It’s as though Polestar gives it a concentrated dose of testosterone, turning what used to be a well-groomed gentleman of a vehicle into an aggressive athlete with an angry growl… literally.

That angry growl is produced by a 2.5-inch Polestar stainless full flow exhaust system with 3.5-inch tailpipes. It lets you know that your V60 is now pumped and primed for any challenge. The 2.0L turbocharged & supercharged engine is ready to unleash the 367 hp and 347 lb. ft. of torque it has at the ready, and all four wheels (thanks to a BorgWarner four-wheel drive system) are ready to bite into the pavement. Stopping power comes from a complete set of Brembo brakes – 6-piston 14.6-inch front ventilated, and 11.6-inch rear ventilated.

Split personality

Actually, the V60 Polestar isn’t always this angry. In fact, the driver can decide whether to unleash all the potent fury of this Swedish muscle car, or to drive it in a more civilized manner. It’s just a matter of flipping a switch – one moment you’re taking the kids to school in Drive Mode, the next you’re conquering the open road in Polestar’s Sport Mode.

And that switch is instantly noticeable as the exhaust gives out a deeper and sharper growl, the steering becomes a bit more responsive, and the powertrain digs a bit deeper to maximize available power and torque.

We made the mistake of pushing the V60 in Sport Mode during a very late spring snowfall, only to have the rear end lose grip in a turn. Wisely we decided to go back to Drive Mode, and instantly the V60 was happy to supply maximum grip for the long road home.

And that’s what makes the Polestar version of the V60 such a treat. It’s a vehicle with two separate personalities, each of which provides what you need, when you need it.

The Polestar look

While the real story of the V60 Polestar is the engine and the performance, we have to comment of the look of this vehicle. Painted in what might best be described as “Polestar Blue,” the capabilities of this vehicle are instantly recognizable for those in the know. The average consumer, on the other hand, will simply think that this is just another pretty Volvo, never fully appreciating what lurks underneath the hood.

Inside, however, it’s a completely different story. The Polestar version of the V60 gets a makeover, complete with charcoal nubuck/perforated leather upholstery, a Polestar gearshift lever (for the standard 8-speed auto tranny),  and Polestar floor mats with accent piping.

You can’t help but feel like you’re in the cockpit of something special when you sit down in the driver’s seat. Not only are the materials and colours distinct, but the seats are engineered to hug occupants and to keep everyone in place in tight turns and on twisty roads.

With an MSRP of $69,000, the V60 Polestar comes equipped with all the amenities and safety systems you’d expect in a Volvo. But then again, the average Polestar shopper isn’t focused on the creature comforts in life. Rather, he wants something that sets his Volvo apart from the pack and makes his heart beat a bit faster. And if that’s the case, this performer is likely to exceed expectations.

A bit of a wolf in sheepskin scenario, the V60 Polestar looks like any other Volvo, to the untrained eye.
The V60 gets a complete makeover, complete with charcoal nubuck/perforated leather upholstery.
The cockpit of the V60 Polestar.
The Polestar gearshift lever controls the standard 8-speed auto transmission.
The Polestar version of the V60 comes with all the features and creature comforts one would expect in a Volvo.
Simple and sporty, the instrument cluster displays all vital data at a glance.
This little emblem tells the driver that this is going to be a fun ride.

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