Polestar 1 preview
A glorious new car, serving as a figurehead and brand-building exercise for a fledgling yet innovative electric carmaker. Polestar is the arm of Swedish brand Volvo that will make high-end pure electric vehicles, with the Polestar 2 already confirmed for 2020. However, it has allowed itself to make one plug-in hybrid vehicle called the Polestar 1 and this will most likely be the most expensive, high-performance machine Polestar will ever make.
What will its rivals be?
It's difficult to pin down direct competitors to the Polestar 1, which looks like a very posh Volvo coupe but which has a price tag approaching the €200,000 mark. The 1 is positioned as a grand tourer (GT), which immediately puts it up against arguably the best car of that type in the shape of the Bentley Continental GT. But it must also see off the BMW 8 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and maybe even the impending Ferrari Roma, while the sporting aspects of its make up pit it against the Porsche 911, the Mercedes-AMG GT and the Audi R8. Perhaps its closest rivals in terms of technical make-up are the out-and-out hybrid supercar from Honda, the NSX, and the car that popularised high-performance, 2+2 PHEVs: the BMW i8.
Any tech info?
The Polestar 1 uses a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine driving the front axle, a Crank-Integrated Starter Generator (C-ISG) for torque infill ahead of the eight-speed gearbox, and then twin 85kW electric motors on the rear axle, leading to a four-wheel-drive set-up. The combined power and torque from all of these forms of propulsion stands at 609hp and a mighty 1,000Nm, leading to a 0-100km/h time of 4.2 seconds and a 250km/h limited top speed. Its bodywork is made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) to keep weight down, it has high-spec Öhlins Dual-Flow Valve dampers (which are only manually adjustable, not by button in the cabin) and the brakes are from Akebono, the same company that made the brakes for no less a car than the McLaren P1.
What will the range be like?
Thanks to a two-part, 34kWh lithium-ion battery pack (some of it lies longitudinally beneath the transmission tunnel, while the rest is stuffed into the boot area), the Polestar 1 can go up to 125km (WLTP) on a single charge. That, claims its maker, is a figure in excess of anything any other production PHEV has served up before it. Polestar will also sell the left-hand-drive-only 1 in a limited run of 1,500 units for the global market, with all the equipment fitted to the car standard specification. The only cost option will be matte-effect paintwork, while customers can choose from two interior colours and three finishes for the 21-inch alloy wheels.
They’re high, but the Polestar 1 is not really designed to set the sales charts alight – rather, it has been built to show just what Polestar is capable of and therefore pave the way for more customer interest in more affordable, real-world products like the Polestar 2.