Back in the olden days Polestar was Volvo’s in-house tuning arm, the same way BMW has M Division or Mercedes-Benz has AMG. Polestar would take regular Volvos like the S60 and V60 and breathe on them, adding more power, a sportier interior, and often a coat of shocking blue paint.
In fact, a Polestar S60 even held a production car record at the Nürburgring until Porsche and then Alfa Romeo came along and beat it. But that was the old Polestar. In 2017, Volvo revealed it had bigger plans for the name.
Now, Polestar is a brand of its own, one that will specialize in electrified performance vehicles. We saw the first of these, the Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid, when it was revealed in 2017. That car will be a carbon fiber-bodied coupé with 600hp (447kW) that will only be made in small numbers. For the rest of us, there’s the Polestar 2, which was unveiled on Wednesday morning. It’s a mid-sized, five-door fastback sedan, built using Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture which also underpins the XC40 crossover.
The specs are rather impressive. There’s an electric motor at each axle providing the car with a combined 300kW (408hp) and 660Nm (487lb-ft), supplied by a 78kWh battery pack. That should be sufficient for about 275 miles of range on the EPA cycle when tested or 500km on the new but less-accurate European WLTP test. The interior shots reveal that the Swedes have lost none of their touch when it comes to interior design, although the all-black interior is a little somber.
Volvo has also been rather forward-looking when it comes to providing its customers with new digital services, and the Polestar 2 will use the group’s new Android-based infotainment platform. It says it is also “setting up strategic collaborations to give Polestar 2 owners easy and hassle-free access to the world’s largest public charging networks.”
Production starts next year in Polestar’s new factory in Chengdu, China, although it is already accepting preorders from the launch markets (the US, Canada, China, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK). Here in the US, a fully loaded launch edition will set you back $63,000, although that’s before you take into account the $7,500 IRS tax credit or any local incentives. But European pricing gives us a clue as to the cost of a non-launch edition, as the pricing range for German cars will be €39,900-€59,900. Subscription pricing will be revealed at a later date.
If the past few years of watching Volvo’s renaissance under Geely teaches us anything, it’s that we should take this seriously.