Big Plans for Volvo’s Polestar Performance Arm, Including Hybrids and a Possible Hot XC90

Volvo XC90 R-Design 1 photo
Photo: Volvo
This year, Volvo purchased the tuning division (as opposed to the racing one) of its long lasting blue partner Polestar. At the time, the move was described as the Swedes’ way of competing with the likes of AMG, RS and M models. Now, the short-term plans are being revealed, and they sound... interesting.
The first step Polestar is going to take involves bosting the performance of Volvo’s new four-cylinder two-liter turbo engine. This unit will aim to replace the larger, turbocharged straight-six gasoline engine Volvo cars are currently using, and to do that, it needs to be just as powerful while considerably smaller and lighter.

And so it will be. Polestar will be using both a turbocharger (for higher rpms) and a supercharger (for more torque down low), similar to the multi-award winning Volkswagen TFSI/TSI engines introduced back in 2005. This new engine is expected to develop at least 350 hp and should find its way under the hood of many current (XC90) and future Volvo models together with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Speaking to Autocar, Niels Möller, Polestar COO (Chief Operating Officer), said, “With the new engine, weight will be reduced and power will increase, but there will be nearly half the CO2 emissions. We believe in the future performance cars must cope with environmental developments.

He went on adding that “If I don’t see a business case on each and every model, I will not do it. Right now, we are taking the full range of Volvo’s portfolio and thinking about how we could position a Polestar version.

One of the models being considered is the latest model launched by Volvo, the XC90 SUV. While this is far from an actual confirmation on Möller’s part, it does mean that a sportier version of the highly acclaimed luxury off-roader is still in contention. However, Polestar would have a lot of work to do if it’s to turn the XC90 into a BMW X5 M or Mercedes-AMG GLE63 rival.

But the fact that Polestar is restricted to using a four-cylinder two-liter engine shouldn’t be that much of an impediment since hybrid technology is still on the table. After all, look at what BMW did with a 1.5-liter engine in a sports car, albeit light, and we’re talking about the i8.

There are definitely interesting things coming from Sweden in the next few years, and Volvo could prove to be the outsider that was so badly needed to spice things up a little in the German-dominated premium segment.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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