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Volvo S90 and V90 Will Predictably Get Hybrid Performance Polestar Versions

It seems like only yesterday the new Volvo S90 luxury sedan was launched, and if you check the dates, you’ll see that’s exactly what happened. It looks like the Swedish brand finally has a very good fighting chance against the Audis A6, the BMWs 5-Series, the Mercedes-Benzes E-Class, and even the Jaguars XF.
Volvo S90 16 photos
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But even before the S90 launched, Volvo registered its best ever sales month in November, and even though the nicely-aging XC60 continues to sell quite well in Europe, the growth can be mostly put down to the new XC90’s success.

The S90 sedan (and the V90 wagon that should be launched early next year) shares the same modular platform as Volvo’s latest SUV - the so-called SPA or Scalable Platform Architecture - which means we should have a pretty good idea as to what to expect from its dynamic performances.

A Polestar version of Volvo’s new flagship sedan, however, poses a completely different proposition. Currently, the most powerful XC90 model is the T8 Twin Engine hybrid version that generates 408 hp. That should prove more than enough for the company’s new sedan, but that’s only if you ignore the competition.

When Volvo acquired the Polestar tuning division this summer, it said the move should be interpreted as a clear message to all the performance divisions of the German manufacturers. That means the Polestar badge would go against RS, M or AMG models. These cars use powerful V8 engines and are not ashamed of it. Volvo, on the other hand, is making a very powerful statement out of its green credentials, and to tackle these sports sedans (and wagons), it would need more than its self-imposed four-cylinder engines only policy.

Quite predictably, it will go hybrid. With the German competition currently hovering around the 560 hp mark, the new Volvo S90 Polestar could be happy to fall a little short of that, but make up for it with lower weight and increased agility. Håkan Samuelsson, the current Volvo CEO, confirmed while talking to British media outlet Autocar that “You could have a high-performance variant [of the S90] without leaving the brand. You could still have a nice car with smart design and functionality, but what’s wrong with a little performance? Right now we have the S60 and V60 as Polestar variants, and we believe in the [Polestar] brand - that’s why we bought it. So now we’re looking at using it more on performance cars within the family.

Volvo R&D chief Peter Mertens takes things even further, casually dropping Tesla in the discussion: “Polestar will still be sophisticated performance; it’s not just a case of doing a ‘boy racer’ by dropping a big engine in there. Hybrid power is the direction that Polestar will go in. In a way, Tesla has legitimized electric performance, although Polestar will be more sophisticated again. We want to be able to offer high performance without regrets.

What all this boils down to is that Volvo will definitely make an S90 Polestar, that it will be fast, that it will rely heavily on hybrid technology for it, and that it won’t lose any of its luxury traits along the way. Good luck trying to spot even a glimmer of bad news in that string of attributes.

 
 
 
 
 

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