The Polestar 1: A Repurposed Volvo Concept from 2013
Basking in the disappointmentby Robert Moore, on
It hasn’t been a month since Polestar quit being a performance tuner for Volvo and branched off as its own “performance car company.” Now, this is good news for a number of reasons, with the most important being that the company can make its own cars, completely independent of anything Volvo is offering. But, that’s also where the problem arises, as the companies first stand-alone car is expensive and lazy, at best. Word that Polestar was on its own filled me joy. Just thinking about what Polestar, without limitations, could do with its new-found independence was enough to give any self-respecting man a stiffy. Yet, three weeks later and Polestar gives us the biggest disappointment since Michael Jordan’s second comeback.
Of course, auto show season is on the horizon, so I can understand the want to rush the first model out the door in time for SEMA or even the L.A. Auto Show, but this thing is pretty much a two-door Volvo S90. In fact, it’s almost like Volvo was planning a two-door S90, decided to scrap the idea, and the polestar engineer in the next studio over dug through the trash and found the disc with the AutoCAD file on it. Oh, wait… they did…..Volvo called it the 2013 Volvo Concept Coupe…
So, what did Polestar do to make this car their own? Well, let’s go take a look.
The Old Switcheroo
This is a Volvo S90 with the rear doors cut off and excessive fender gaps.
The other night I was sitting around looking at the Polestar and thought to myself, “This is a Volvo S90 with the rear doors cut off and excessive fender gaps. I mean, after all, it really does look like that right? Take a look:
Well, then I started browsing our Volvo page here on TopSpeed.com and as I was scrolling what did I find? The freaking Polestar 1 with a Volvo grille on it. Wait.. did I really just see that? Well, yes I did – I even asked my wife to make sure she didn’t try to kill me by poisoning dinner (it was really good, by the way) and she verified that I wasn’t hallucinating. So, let me point out to all of you just how lazy the Polestar 1 really is – you’ve seen it before, and it hasn’t changed the slightest bit:
The disappointment is unbearable, and you can bet that Volvo and Polestar were both hoping that we would all forget about the concept from four years ago
The disappointment is unbearable, and you can bet that Volvo and Polestar were both hoping that we would all forget about the concept from four years ago. Well, sorry guys, but the cat is out of the bag. You seriously took a four-year-old concept, slapped a new grille on it and called it the Polestar 1. That’s lazier than BMW and Audi are every time they “facelift” one of their vehicles. Maybe the interior offers something different?
Original is Not the Word You’re Looking for
It’s an S90 interior with a Polestar logo on the steering wheel hub and a chrome shifter handle
Ok, so now that I’ve called Polestar out for the exterior, I thought maybe the interior would look different. Well, no – it really doesn’t. It’s an S90 interior with a Polestar logo on the steering wheel hub and a chrome shifter handle. The rest of the interior is identical to the S90, all the way down to the infotainment display, dash design, center console, and even the HVAC controls. And, keep in mind, the Concept from 2013 sported a similar cabin and was the basis for the design used on the S90. It’s like they just walked into the office, dropped a bunch of concept blueprints into a bin and picked one to go with for Polestar’s first car. Note: the S90 has wood trim, the Polestar 1 has carbon fiber
Under the Hood
Polestar 1 will hit 93 mph on electric power.
Here’s where the Polestar 1 does differ from anything that Volvo has, and that’s because it has 600 horsepower under the hood. It also claims that it can deliver as much as 738 pound-feet of torque. How it does so is still under wraps, but it’s safe to assume that Polestar went with the T9 Plug-in hybrid setup from Volvo. It probably tuned the 2.0-liter to deliver as much horsepower and torque as reliably possible while dumping in a bigger battery pack and some high-performance motors. No performance numbers are available to go by, but we do know the Polestar 1 will hit 93 mph on electric power. But, it’s the price point and acquisition process that really gets me…
Bend Over and Take it Up the Tailpipe
On this side of the pond, that converts to between $154,000 and $178,000
Okay, so Polestar takes an old concept, rebrands it, and calls it the “1,” so, how much are you expected to pay for this “new” sports coupe? Well, nobody knows for sure outside of Polestar, yet. But, word has it that the price will be around €130,000 to €150,000. On this side of the pond, that converts to between $154,000 and $178,000 – Ouch. So, we can’t really compare that cost the Concept that was displayed in 2013 by Volvo, but we can compare it to the S90 sedan – you know; since it is pretty much an S90 with a section cut out of the middle.
So, the Volvo S90 starts out at $48,100 and while the Inscription trim comes in at $58,600. So, we’re talking about a difference of $100,000. When you consider the S90 with the T8 – likely what you’ll find in the Polestar 1 with high-performance motors – comes with 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque, the Polestar one delivers just 200 ponies and 266 pound-feet more. That breaks down to a cost of $500 per pony. Let me say that again: $500 per pony! and to top that off, you get less interior room and an exterior that looks almost identical to the S90.
Polestar 1 is going to be sold under a subscription service only, which is basically Volvo’s “Care by Volvo” program
But, that’s not all, as apparently, you may not even get to really own the Polestar 1. Word around the campfire is that the Polestar 1 is going to be sold under a subscription service only, which is basically Volvo’s “Care by Volvo” program – pretty much an extensive leasing service, if you will. You can read all the details about it in Kirby’s news memo, but let me just point out what it really means. Basically, the Polestar 1 will be given to you on a subscription that you’ll probably have to turn back end at the end of a certain period. Polestar will cover most of the basic costs for your regular monthly payment, but the chances are that you won’t be allowed to do anything to the car as far as modification or customization. On top of that, you’re going to shell out six figures for a car you don’t even really own – and a car that is nothing more than a rebadged concept from 2013 that Volvo shit canned because it was too afraid to build and sell a true-to-life coupe.
Sorry, Volvo and Polestar. I like you both as a brand, but you have just maxed out my bullshit-o-meter and moved to the top of my lazy-bastards list. This is just uncalled for and lazy, and everyone who wears a tie while working for either of these companies should be ashamed. In fact, somebody should be fired — $100,000 price hike on a four-year-old design because it offers 2 doors and 200 extra ponies over an S90…. Oh, and because it wears a Polestar badge instead of a Volvo badge??? What did you spend on R&D? $.45 and a BIC pen? You’re officially worse than BMW overcharging the Chinese for those lazy, special edition cars that feature special paint and new wheel designs.
Read our full review on the 2018 Polestar 1.
Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo S90.
Read our full review on the 2013 Volvo Concept Coupe.