• 2018 Polestar 1
  • Very similar to the Volvo S90
  • Classic GT car shape
  • Cabin layout taken from the Volvo S90
  • 2+2 seating arrangement
  • High-end materials throughout
  • Hybrid powertrain makes 600 horsepower
  • 738 pound-feet of torque
  • Up to 93 miles in EV mode
  • Uses the Volvo Scaleable Platform Architecture
  • Carbon fiber body cuts weight
  • Electronic suspension is from Ohlins
  • Available via “subscription”
  • Owning one will be about $100K

The performance division takes its first solo footsteps

Originally named Flash Engineering and rebranded in 2005, Polestar is Volvo’s go-to when it comes to performance applications. Now, however, Polestar has broken away from the mothership, seeking its own destiny as a “standalone electric performance brand.” The Polestar 1 is the company’s first effort in that role, promising huge hybrid power, stylish GT car looks, a classy interior, and even a new take on modern car ownership models. It’s an ambitious undertaking and, if successful, it will undoubtedly shake things up across the industry. However, the question remains – will Polestar have what it takes to fend for itself?

Continue reading to learn more about the Polestar 1.

Exterior

- * Sleek, refined styling details
- * Very similar to the Volvo S90
- * Classic GT car shape

2018 Polestar 1 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 738892
Very similar to the Volvo S90
It’s low and sleek and wide, a contoured, smoothed-out slab of elegant aggression with timeless grand tourer proportions

Right off the bat, we’re loving the look of the Polestar 1. It’s low and sleek and wide, a contoured, smoothed-out slab of elegant aggression with timeless grand tourer proportions that would look at home at the top of the segment.

“But wait,” you’re probably saying, “this is too nice to be a real production vehicle. This is just a concept, right? Will the real thing really look this good?”

While not necessarily a slam-dunk “yes,” our answer is that we’re hopeful not much will change by the time the 1 starts rolling off the assembly line. As evidence, we’d like to point to the design seen on the latest Volvo S90 sedan –

left right

Seen side-by-side, the design similarities are obvious. The front end in particular shows a remarkable resemblance between the two cars, with those narrow, forward-pointing headlight housings, which get divided into a bottom and upper portion thanks to a single horizontal graphic. The grilles are also identical in shape, down to the vertical slats and black insert. However, the Polestar distinguishes itself thanks to a reshaped lower bumper sporting larger intakes and more dramatic aero blades.

Moving to the flanks, we find the Polestar 1 beefs up its silhouette with a more aggressive roofline and plumped-up fender flares. This is particularly true in the rear, where the wheels seem to hang off the back of the car with an assertive demeanor. Speaking of the rollers, the Polestar 1 comes equipped with large wheels that fill the plus-sized fenders with purpose, nearly scraping its low-profile tires against the underside of the vehicle. Punctuating the smooth look of the two-door profile is a single lower character line, while the side-view mirrors look like carryovers from the S90. All told, the side-view looks more Aston Martin than it does Volvo – and that’s a very, very good thing.

2018 Polestar 1 Exterior
- image 738881
All told, the side-view looks more Aston Martin than it does Volvo – and that’s a very, very good thing.

Moving to the rear, we once again find the S90’s influence show its face, in particular thanks to the C-shaped taillight housings. The trunk is rectangular, sharpening the look with crisp edges and a short overhang. The rear glass also appears to stretch up and into the roof, which should offer occupants a great deal of ambient lighting and result in an airy, open feel for those camped out on the rear bench. Lower black inserts connote addition sportiness with a diffuser-look element.

It’s an extremely clean, almost anti-septic design approach, but we think it works great in an application like this.

It’s an extremely clean, almost anti-septic design approach, but we think it works great in an application like this. We’re also digging the lack of badges, which would undoubtedly end up cluttering the overall look.

Details beyond the general aesthetics are a bit hazy at this point, but Polestar did mention that the body is made from carbon fiber, which should cut into the car’s curb weight significantly. Furthermore, we’d expect LED lighting elements front to back, plus adaptive high-/low-beam headlights in the nose.

Interior

- * Cabin layout taken from the Volvo S90
- * 2+2 seating arrangement
- * High-end materials throughout

2018 Polestar 1 Interior
- image 738877
Cabin layout taken from the Volvo S90
You still get lots of polished metal trim, added as surrounds for the dash, vertical air vents, and character lines

Inside the cabin, the Polestar 1 once again draws heavily from the Volvo S90, this time around as a direct carryover. Even the steering wheel is identical. Check it out –

left right

Can you spot the differences? We sure can’t.

But again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We adore the S90’s cabin, and it wouldn’t make sense for polestar to mess with something so good just for the sake of being different.

You still get lots of polished metal trim, added as surrounds for the dash, vertical air vents, and character lines. A tall digital screen was placed in the center stack, while the various controls are angled towards the driver. Soft touch materials are added to the central tunnel, with cutouts added to provide space for the shifter and various drive settings. The seats appear to be covered in sumptuous leather upholstery, and we’d also expect heating and ventilation functions. The instrumentation behind the steering wheel includes additional digital readouts.

Carbon fiber is a prominent trim material of choice. Yeah, it’s a bit cheesy, but it work in a high-end performer like this.

Carbon fiber also seems to be a prominent trim material of choice, seen lying across the dash in wide swaths of tasty weave. Yeah, it’s a bit cheesy, but it work in a high-end performer like this.

Also, Polestar says the 1 uses a 2+2 interior, which means you can sneak in some smaller folks behind you if desired.

Finally, considering Volvo’s dedication to the latest and greatest assistance technology, we’d expect the same kind of gear in the Polestar 1 as well. Adaptive cruise control, speed sign recognition, automatic braking, and similar tech should come as standard.

Drivetrain

- * Hybrid powertrain makes 600 horsepower
- * 738 pound-feet of torque
- * Up to 93 miles in EV mode

2018 Polestar 1 Drivetrain
- image 738876
Hybrid powertrain makes 600 horsepower
Polestar did say peak output comes to a heady 600 horsepower and 1,000 Nm (738 pound-feet) of torque

This is where the performance company really starts to make its break from Volvo. Creating the go in the Polestar 1 is a hybrid electric-gasoline powertrain, and although we don’t know exactly what’s burning the dyno juice, Polestar did say peak output comes to a heady 600 horsepower and 1,000 Nm (738 pound-feet) of torque.

That’s a lot, and we’re excited to see Polestar getting so ambitious with its first stand-alone model. Indeed, if all goes according to plan, it certainly bodes well for the future of the company.

Polestar says the 1 can go as far as 150 km (93 miles) on electric power alone.

What’s more, Polestar says the 1 can go as far as 150 km (93 miles) on electric power alone, a figure the company claims as the longest of any hybrid currently on the market. That’s right – speed and economy. What a lovely combination, no?

If we were to speculate, we’d guess Polestar is tuning a twin-charged (supercharged and turbocharged) inline 2.0-liter four-cylinder (basically the T8 Plug-In Hybrid powerplant you see offered in numerous Volvo vehicles) for even more power, while throwing in a beefed-up lithium-ion battery pack under the floor and a set of high-end electric motors to boot. What’s more, we’d also expect a variety of driving modes to make the most of the available power sources, including both a sport mode and an eco mode.

Chassis And Handling

- * Uses the Volvo Scalable Platform Architecture
- * Carbon fiber body cuts weight
- * Electronic suspension is from Ohlins

2018 Polestar 1 Drivetrain
- image 738897
738 pound-feet of torque
Under the skin of the Polestar 1, you’ll find (surprise, surprise) the Volvo Scalable Platform Architecture, or SPA platform

Under the skin of the Polestar 1, you’ll find (surprise, surprise) the Volvo Scalable Platform Architecture, or SPA platform. Introduced in 2014, these are the same bones used to create the modern Volvo XC90 SUV, XC60 crossover, and of course, the S90 sedan and V90 wagon.

That said, Polestar asserts that about half of the 1’s chassis is new. Details on what that means are still forthcoming, but we’re gonna guess it has something to do with more rigidity and sportiness, as well as greater accommodation for larger battery packs. Indeed, Polestar is quick to point out that the carbon fiber body components help to up torsional rigidity by as much as 45 percent.

Polestar asserts that about half of the 1’s chassis is new. The carbon fiber body components help to up torsional rigidity by as much as 45 percent.

All of that should help the car not only soak up road aberrations and smooth out the ride, but also make it more entertaining to dive in the corners as well. To complement this, the Polestar 1 uses two electric motors at the rear axle, thus creating an advanced torque vectoring system for even sharper handling.

Further apex hunting is assisted by the upgraded suspension system, which uses a new electronic, continuously variable set-up from Ohlins.

All promising stuff, no doubt. But will it be enough to tackle the heavy-hitters of the segment?

Prices

- * Available via “subscription”
- * Owning one will be about $100K

2018 Polestar 1 Exterior
- image 738888

Polestar is scheduling production of its first standalone vehicle for sometime mid-2019. The new GT car will get built in Polestar’s new production center in China, which is currently under construction and will be completed some time next year.

Now, here’s where things start to get a little weird. Polestar says it wants to shake up the traditional car ownership experience with the 1, starting with the way you order the thing. All interested buyers can log said interest via the Internet, either through an app or online portal. What’s more, rather than owning the car outright, you’ll be able to essentially rent it via a two- to three-year “subscription.” This includes no deposit, and simple monthly payments. The subscription will also toss in delivery services, and the chance to rent alternative vehicles in the Volvo and Polestar lineups.

Rather than owning the car outright, you’ll be able to essentially rent it via a two- to three-year “subscription” and monthly payments.

Of course, you’ll probably wanna try it out beforehand, so Polestar says it’s opening a network of “Polestar Spaces” across the globe to do exactly that. These will be separate from Volvo dealers – again, something that’s very ambitious for the newly christened standalone Polestar. Additionally, the 1 will use a “Phone-As-Key” feature wherein owners can share their car with someone else if desired.

Order books for the Polestar 1 are open now. Official pricing for the monthly subscription are not yet announced, but if you’re more interested in just buying one outright, we hear a figure around $100,000 might make sense.

Competition

Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid High Resolution
- image 687806

Sportiness and efficiency, eh? Porsche already has you covered with its electrified Panamera. Dubbed the 4 E-Hybrid, this battery-assisted wagon/sedan/hatchback thing arrives on the scene with the traditional Stuttgart styling, including oval headlights and a 911-like front end. With four doors and four seats onboard, there’s plenty of room to stretch out, while materials and amenities are all top-notch. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.9-liter V-6 making 330 horsepower, while the electric motor makes 136 horses. Put ‘em together, and you’ll get as much as 462 horsepower, plus an even-more-impressive 516 pound-feet of torque. Just 4.4 seconds is needed to hit 60 mph, while top speed looks like 172 mph. Pricing starts at just under $100,000.

Read our full review on the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.

Lexus LC 500H

2017 Lexus LC 500h High Resolution Exterior
- image 665597

Based on the hot-to-trot Lexus LC 500, the 500H builds on its ICE-only sibling’s sexy good looks by adding two electric motors and an additional automatic transmission (two transmissions total). The result is less of the wind-up-and-go feel you get from a normal CVT, plus plenty of power as well. Inside, the 500H is dripping with luxury, while the 0-to-60 mph sprint is done in less than five seconds thanks to 354 horsepower at the rear axle. Burning the gasoline is a 3.5-liter V-6, while top speed is pegged at 155 mph.

Read our full review on the Lexus LC 500H.

Conclusion

2018 Polestar 1 Exterior
- image 738873
Up to 93 miles in EV mode

Normally, something like the Polestar 1 would have our BS detectors ringing like crazy. The details on this are few and far between, while the claims that are getting thrown around are so ambitious, they border on the unbelievable. 600 hybrid horsepower, 738 pound-feet of torque, and nearly 100 miles of all-electric range? New ownership models? Gorgeous styling and high-end luxury? All made in a new factory and coming from a new standalone brand?

If you were typing out the word “vaporware” in the comments section right at this moment, we wouldn’t blame you.

That said, we think Polestar has what it needs to pull this off. Sure, it’s broken away from Volvo, but it’s obvious how close the 1 is to existing products from the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker. Just look at the cabin for evidence of that.

We think Polestar has what it needs to pull this off.

So yeah, it’s ambitious, but with Volvo at its back, we think Polestar certainly has the right stuff to make it work.

The company says it’s already got three models in the works, with all future offerings slated to get fully electrified drivetrains (the Polestar 1 will the only hybrid in the lineup). These include the mid-size Polestar 2 scheduled for later in 2019, framed as the first BEV from the Volvo Car Group and expected to reach high-production numbers compared to the Polestar 1 (think Tesla Model 3 fighter). The follow-up will be the Polestar 3, an SUV that promises to “create a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics.”

Sounds good to us. Now we just gotta wait to see the Polestar 1 hit the streets.

  • Leave it
    • Big promises, but can Polestar deliver?
    • Very similar to existing Volvo products in numerous ways
    • Plenty of stuff could go wrong between now and full production status
    • Smells like vaporware

References

Volvo S90 Sedan

2017 Volvo S90 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 658241

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo S90.

Volvo XC90

2016 Volvo XC90 High Resolution Exterior
- image 565977

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo XC90.

Volvo XC60

2018 Volvo XC60 High Resolution Exterior
- image 708314

Read our full review on the 2018 Volvo XC60.

Volvo V90 wagon

2017 Volvo V90 High Resolution Exterior
- image 666469

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo V90.

Press release

Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s performance brand, has today revealed its future as a new standalone electric performance brand. Polestar confirmed plans for its first three models, a new purpose-built production facility in China and a customer-focussed route to market that will set a new industry benchmark for performance vehicles.

Polestar also unveiled the 600hp Polestar 1, the company’s first car, which is set to roll off the production line in mid-2019. Polestar’s technology and product offering benefits from synergies and economies of scale enabled by the Volvo Car Group, helping Polestar to accelerate design, development and production processes at a fraction of the time it takes other new entrants.

Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar said; “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it - a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand."

The Polestar 1 will form a halo for the future Polestar brand. The Polestar 1 is a two-door, 2+2 seat Grand Tourer Coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain. An electric car supported by an internal combustion engine, it has a range of 150kms on pure electric power alone - the longest full electric range of any hybrid car on the market. Its output of 600hp and 1000Nm of torque places the car firmly in the performance car segment.

The Polestar 1 is based upon Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) but approximately 50% is new and bespoke, created by Polestar’s engineers. To reinforce its dynamic driving characteristics, Polestar 1 benefits from a host of new technologies, all aimed at making it a true driver’s car. Polestar 1 is the world’s first car to be fitted with the all-new class-leading Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) advanced chassis technology. A carbon fibre body reduces bodyweight and improves torsional stiffness by 45%, as well as lowering the cars’ centre of gravity. Additionally, Polestar 1 uses a double electric rear axle which enables torque vectoring. This supports the driver with precise acceleration on each wheel to keep the maximum road grip and maintain speed while cornering.

The Polestar 1 will be built in the state-of-the-art, purpose-built Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu, China. Currently under construction, it is due for completion in mid-2018.

Polestar will also move away from today’s traditional ownership model. Cars will be ordered 100% online and offered on a two or three year subscription basis. The zero-deposit, all-inclusive subscription will also add features such as pick-up and delivery servicing and the ability to rent alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar range, all incorporated into one monthly payment.

The flat rate subscription means that having a Polestar car becomes a hassle free experience for the customer. This is facilitated by Phone-As-Key technology. It allows the owner to share a virtual key with a third party, and also enables access to a host of other on-demand features. This concierge service ensures that the customer only needs to focus on the enjoyment of driving.

All future cars from Polestar will have a fully electric powertrain. Polestar 2 will start production later in 2019 and will be the first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) from the Volvo Car Group. It will be a mid-sized BEV, joining the competition around the Tesla Model 3, and with consequently higher volumes than Polestar 1. The initial phase of the Polestar product roll out will then be completed by the subsequent arrival of a larger SUV-style BEV, the Polestar 3, which will create a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics.

The ordering and configuration of Polestar cars will be conducted online via a Polestar app or online portal. However, Polestar also recognises that customers still want to physically engage with the brand so Polestar will open a network of Polestar Spaces around the world. This is where future Polestar customers can interact with products and the brand. Polestar Spaces will be standalone facilities and not within existing Volvo retailer showrooms.

The order books for the new Polestar 1 open on 17 October 2017, with Polestar able to take expressions of interest from prospective customers immediately.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: