With Polestar, Volvo has developed a premium electric brand together with its mother Geely. Their first child prosaically goes by the name Polestar 1. In contrast, the optics and drive are all the more emotional. How we got to know.
Test: Polestar 1
"What kind of thing is that?" You could hardly get more attention than with a Polestar 1 on the road, even with a McLaren or Ferrari. Time and again people spoke to us about the rare Swedes, for example when we had just parked the plug-in hybrid. There are two main reasons for the great interest: Firstly, hardly anyone can assign the logo on the bonnet to a brand, although the star itself has been introduced by Mercedes for what seems like eternal times - in this case, of course, it is a matter of course around the polar star that gives the brand its name. On the other hand, the coupé looks simply bewitchingly beautiful.
The flat silhouette, the wide radiator grille, the belt line and the dome roof - each of which is nothing special in today's automobile construction - combine in the first model from the Volvo subsidiary to create an exceptional visual delight. Which, however, left people somewhat baffled. From Citroen to Maserati, the tips of car experts unfolded. Perhaps the interested audience should have looked into the narrow interior, because almost everything reminds of the mother Volvo.
At least one more “Oh” escapes the mouths of the curious when they have answered their questions about performance and price: 609 hp, 1.000 Nm of torque, 4,2 seconds from zero to 250, top speed of 155.000 km / h and a fixed price of XNUMX euros.
A real sports car, this Polestar 1. At least if you look at the dates and prices. However, this happens in a rather unusual way, because this Polarstern is a plug-in hybrid. A 2,0-liter four-cylinder with turbocharger and compressor is used, which alone produces 227 kW / 309 hp. There are also two electric motors on the rear axle, each with 85 kW / 116 hp, a third one works, integrated in the crankshaft, as a starter generator. It also surprises with unusual numbers: 50 kW / 68 PS and 161 Nm are enough for much more than just starting the engine. The starter generator must rather get the petrol engine up to speed before it is switched on, otherwise it would probably have real problems given the powerful electric motors. But this is how the engine quartet appears pronounced and surprisingly smooth for a first work.
So that we do not misunderstand: Despite this performance data, the Polestar 1 is of course not a real sports car. With an empty weight of 2.350 kilos, it is simply too heavy. Although the engines, in conjunction with the fast, but not super-fast eight-speed automatic, have no problem getting the car up to speed, but the supreme discipline of a sports car are curves and turns and not acceleration or top speed.
And this is exactly where the weight has a negative impact. The first Polestar is reluctant to turn into the bend and has to be pointed out to the driver's request via readjustment. The kilos also push the vehicle to the outside, although the road holding is favorable due to the low center of gravity. Out of the curve things are going well again. Thanks to the electric motors, the Polestar accelerates almost seamlessly and vehemently. Conversely, the brakes also grab a lot and are also easy to dose, albeit ultimately a little synthetic. The set-up of the chassis is, let's say positive, reasonably sporty, at least crisp. In other words: driving comfort in the narrower sense can only be expected on well-maintained asphalt.
Of course, you have to concede that the Polestar was conceived less as a sports car than as a sporty coupe. And it is just a plug-in, which means: Not only the engine power is the focus here, but also the batteries and what they give. And with an official range of 125 kilometers from the 34,5 kilowatt-hour, two-part battery pack, that's a lot. Almost all plug-in hybrids only manage half today. The vehicle can charge with alternating current (AC) up to 11 kW and with direct current (DC) up to 50 kW, AC charging at home (at 16 amps) takes three hours, DC charging is given as "less than an hour" . What, the first e-car drivers will confirm, are of course theoretical values that can only be achieved under optimal conditions.
Nevertheless, the size of the battery makes the Polestar 1 much more suitable for everyday use in terms of electrical range than a common plug-in model - 100 kilometers are always included if you do not constantly exhaust the performance of the drive train, because after all you can do it in purely electrical mode on the highway up to 160 km / h. If you do that, it's not just an end to e-driving, it also becomes really expensive. Because if the petrol engine, which is already very potent in itself, but also rather small in volume for this power level, has to work alone, double-digit consumption values are quickly achieved.
But fuel prices are probably the same for people who look for a vehicle like this 155.000 euros. Why is the Polestar 1 so expensive? Not only do the large batteries cost, the body, which is partly made of carbon, is not exactly cheap to produce. In addition, the first independent model of the brand, before that Polestar was only responsible for tightening common Volvo models, is also anything but a volume model: a maximum of 1.500 units are to be built over three years, so large economies of scale are not expected.
The Polestar 1 is more of a kind of brand ambassador, should create awareness and image and pave the way for further models. For example, for the Polestar 2, which comes onto the market in summer and will complete the model range as a mid-range SUV with pure electric drive and a maximum of 408 hp and a range of 500 kilometers at prices from around 40.000 to 60.000 euros. All other models of the new brand, which are then probably called Polestar 3, 4 etc., are then between the two extremes in terms of price and performance.
How successful this concept will be cannot be answered seriously today. However, the Polestar 1 definitely fulfilled its role as a brand ambassador, at least in our test period. Because the curious drivers and passers-by will surely have a lasting memory.
Polestar 1 - Specifications:
Two-door, four-seat Gran Turismo of the upper class; Length: 4,59 meters, width: 1,96 meters (width with outside mirrors: 2,02 meters), height: 1,35 meters, wheelbase: 2,74 meters, trunk volume: 143 liters
Four-engine plug-in hybrid; 2,0-liter four-cylinder with turbocharger and compressor; 227 kW / 309 hp, maximum torque: 435 Nm at 2.600 - 4.200 rpm, eight-speed automatic, drive on the front axle; two electric motors, each with 85 kW / 116 hp and 240 Nm each, driven on the rear axle; an electric starter generator integrated into the crankshaft, 50 kW / 68 PS, maximum torque: 161 Nm; combined performance data: 448 kW / 609 PS, 1.000 Nm; 0-100 km / h: 4,2 s, Vmax: 250 km / h, standard consumption: 0,7 liters / 100 kilometers, CO2 emissions: 15 g / km, power consumption: 25,5 kWh / 100 kilometers, electrical range according to WLTP standard: 125 kilometers, emissions standard: Euro 6d-temp, efficiency class: A +, test consumption: 32 kWH / 100 kilometers + 10,4 liters of gasoline in pure combustion mode
Price: € 155.000
Polestar 1 - short description:
Why: bewitching design, powerful drive, confident acceleration, for a PHV relatively high electrical range
Why not: high price, little space for luggage and rear passengers, uncomfortable undercarriage - and he doesn't love tight corners
What else: a BMW i8