Polestar's first ever performance car packs a serious punch aimed at Mercedes-AMG and BMW M.
Today marks the start of an important new era for Polestar. After breaking up with Volvo as a performance division, Polestar is now an independent automaker producing low-volume, high-performance cars to become the Swedish equivalent to Mercedes-AMG and BMW's M division. To mark the switch to a standalone brand, Polestar has revealed its first ever performance car following a puzzling teaser campaign at a launch event in Shanghai with the Polestar 1, a sleek grand tourer coupe with a hybrid powertrain packing 600 horsepower.
The Polestar 1 shares a lot of its DNA with Volvo. It's built on the same Scalable Product Architecture underpinning the XC90, the new XC60, and the new generation of Volvo's 60- and 90-series cars, and also utilizes the same Drive-E twin-engine powertrain as T8 Volvo variants. Styling-wise, the Polestar 1 sports a sleek shape that looks a lot like the stunning Volvo Concept Coupe shown back in 2012 – and that's no bad thing. Having said that, Polestar says that only half of the sports coupe's parts are sourced by Volvo. Power is provided by a plug-in hybrid powertrain that uses a four-cylinder Drive-E engine carried over from current Volvo cars, and two electric motors that drive the rear wheels.
Combined, the two electric motors produce a power output of 218 hp, resulting in a total output of 600 hp and 737 lb-ft of torque. On pure electric power, the Polestar 1 can run for 90 miles, which is the longest full electric range of any current hybrid car. "We consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine," said Polestar's CEO Thomas Ingenlath. "All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today's technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupe that's likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys."
Production of the Polestar 1 will begin in 2019 limited to 500 units per year. Both the Polestar 1 and all future models will be sold through an all-inclusive online subscription service similar to the Care By Volvo scheme. Fees haven't been confirmed, but the subscription will be available as two or three-year contracts with monthly payments that includes pick-up, delivery, and servicing at selected Volvo dealerships. Traditional dealerships will still be available, however, as Polestar will be opening a small number of Polestar Space dealers in early 2019, but they won't be connected to current Volvo dealers.
Later down the line, Polestar will introduce two fully electric models to complement the Polestar 1. Starting production in late 2019, the Polestar 2 will be positioned as a mid-sized fully-electric car to rival the Tesla Model 3 and will be sold in higher volumes than the Polestar 1. Polestar is also targeting the SUV segment with the Polestar 3 which is currently in the final design phase, an all-electric SUV that will sit between the Polestar 1 and 2 in terms of volume and pricing.