Polestar-Enhanced Volvo XC60 to Make 421 hp
Company Will Soon Be Standalone Brand Within Swedish Automaker
UPDATEVolvo will indeed offer the 2018 XC60 with Polestar optimization, according to a Polestar representative. Pricing is still a question mark, but we can expect the speedy Swede before the end of the year, a few months after the regular XC60 is released.
Polestar revealed some specifications of the division’s enhanced 2018 Volvo XC60, showing off what is the company’s most potent powertrain combination. Within a few years, however, Polestar will become a standalone brand, producing high-performance electric and hybrid vehicles for Volvo. Till then, we’ll enjoy the muscled-up XC60.
Like the Polestar-enhanced XC90, the XC60’s T8 powertrain has been tweaked to produce 421 hp, making Volvo’s SUVs the most powerful vehicles the company has ever produced. Polestar achieved such superlatives by massaging the T8’s 2.0L turbo/supercharged engine and electric motors, although the company didn’t reveal specifics. We assume some added boost and powertrain management changes were on the menu. In the XC90, Polestar’s optimization produces more than 500 lb-ft of torque, although neither Volvo or its performance arm confirmed the XC60’s twist.
In addition, the gearbox has been retuned for snappier performance. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the XC60 T8’s powertrain sends motive force to the front wheels via the gasoline engine and a compact electric generator, while the rear wheels spin thanks to electric power only. This driveshaft-less, through-the-road AWD design is shared with the regular XC60 T8, but it’s possible that the Polestar version will amp up the rear electric motor’s individual-wheel performance for added stability while cornering and braking by adding extra torque to the outside rear wheel.
Polestar said that added midrange power was a priority for the XC60 T8, aiding passing maneuvers and improving seat-of-the-pants performance in a variety of traffic conditions. Although the standard XC60 T8’s 400 hp and 472 lb-ft are nothing to sneeze at, improved midrange response and higher overall power numbers should turn the smallish luxury SUV into an absolute rocket.
Another key goal was preserving the XC60 T8 Polestar’s impressive low emissions and fuel efficiency. As with the regular T8, the XC60 can drive up to 25 miles on electric-only power, and both Volvo and Polestar expect the optimized version to keep the same fuel efficiency as the lesser model. The company quotes an efficiency rating of 2.1L/100 km, which converts to more than 100 mpg; we presume that number is based on electric-only driving in the city, measured using the European Union’s ultra-optimistic testing procedures. Real-world mileage should match that of the larger Volvo XC90 T8, at 53 mpg-equivalent with a fully charged battery.
We’re still not sure if the Polestar-optimized Volvo XC60 is on its way to the U.S., and we have emails out to both Volvo and Polestar for confirmation. If the high-po Swede does indeed emigrate to our shores, expect it in the first quarter of 2018, with a price of about $3,000 above an equivalent T8 model. For the record, Polestar also offers optimization for Volvo’s T5 and T6 powertrains, as well as its global-market–only D5 and D4 diesel engines, but we doubt any of those lesser Polestar powerplants will come to the U.S.