New Polestar 1 prototype assessment

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As a launch car for a brand new model, the Polestar 1 is kind of the assertion: concept-car appears, a 599bhp hybrid powertrain, carbon-fibre bodywork, four-wheel drive and a price ticket of £139,000.

In reality, the brand new 2+2 coupe is the primary and solely car from Volvo’s offshoot to function a combustion engine (a four-cylinder turbo and supercharged unit with 304bhp). From the following mannequin – the Polestar 2 hatchback – all the model’s automobiles will likely be purely electrical.

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The primary deliveries of the Polestar 1 (left-hand drive solely) aren’t due till the ultimate quarter of 2019. However we’ve been allowed a fast spin in a verification-prototype car on damp Swedish roads, in addition to round Volvo’s take a look at monitor in Hällered.

On the surface, the automotive sticks carefully to the unique appears of Volvo’s Idea Coupe, revealed in 2013. There’s muscle over the rear arches, though the entrance nonetheless carries the Volvo look. Inside is the place the Polestar struggles most to flee its connections; the steering wheel is similar as an XC40 SUV’s, aside from the badge, and the portrait infotainment system is acquainted as nicely. So are the heating and air flow controls.

Nonetheless, there are neat touches that may assist the Polestar stand out. The sturdy-looking connectors for the automotive’s electrical methods should not simply seen, however actively showcased behind a display screen within the boot – celebrating the powertrain as a substitute of masking it.

And the Ohlins dampers will be manually adjusted by clicking small dials at both aspect of the bonnet and above the rear wheels. It’s too fiddly a course of to carry out recurrently, however it should enable clients to regulate the stiffness of their particular person car by way of 9 separate phases.

Our automotive was in roughly the center of the damper parameters, in what Polestar will advocate as ‘Sport’ settings to patrons. However even on the usual 21-inch wheels, the coupe – which is predicated on Volvo’s bigger SPA platform – feels fairly assured and cozy as we escape Gothenburg visitors to search out some empty nation roads.

This can be a 2.Three-tonne automotive – a 34kWh battery greater than blunts the burden financial savings made by the carbon-fibre bodywork. However the powertrain has, in principle, sufficient shove to take it from Zero-62mph in a whisker over 4 seconds. That’s as a result of the engine is assisted not solely by an built-in starter-generator (67bhp), but in addition by two electrical motors on the rear that add an extra 228bhp. The full system output is 599bhp, together with a whopping 1,000Nm of torque.

Soaking-wet circumstances imply we’re unable to check the claimed standing-start determine, besides, the powertrain feels greater than snug with the 1’s mass. It stops wanting delivering the stomach-churning shove you get in a Tesla Mannequin S, however torque vectoring by way of the rear axle permits us to push exhausting on the drenched take a look at monitor, with aggressive inputs bringing elevated velocity moderately than understeer.

If something, it’s the 1’s assured nature that impresses most; it disguises its bulk nicely as you throw it round, resisting physique roll and responding neatly to steering that’s brief on really feel however reassuringly exact. The brake modulation – all the time a giant problem for a hybrid – is properly resolved, too.

Even on pockmarked again roads, there doesn’t look like an enormous trade-off for this agility. There’s a little bit of tyre roar from these wheels and a firmness at decrease speeds, however in the primary, the general experience is snug sufficient for a mid-sized GT automotive.

There’s little noise – not solely when in ‘Pure’ electric-only mode, underneath which the automotive can run for as much as 80-odd miles and maintain tempo with motorway visitors – but in addition within the settings that decision on the engine. In case you favour a throaty soundtrack over the potential for pure-EV miles, then save your self £10ok and purchase an Aston Martin Vantage or Mercedes-AMG S 63.