Volvo’s recently refocused performance brand, Polestar, has revealed its first new car, the Polestar 1.

Billed as a 2+2 Grand Tourer Coupe, the Polestar 1 is based on the same Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) as the Volvo S90, although Polestar engineers claim 50% is bespoke to the new model.

Compared to the S90, the Polestar 1 features a 320mm shorter wheelbase and is well over half a metre shorter overall, with 200mm of that have been taken from behind the rear wheels.

Power comes from a double electric motor set-up connected via planetary gears driving the rear wheels that, by itself, offers up 218hp and an electric-only range of around 93 miles (150 km).

It’s joined by a familiar 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine driving the front wheels, for a combined output of 600hp and 1000Nm of torque.

Polestar think of the new model primarily as a range-extended electric car, but go on to claim it boasts the longest electric-only range of any hybrid car.

Recognising that future Polestar models will be electric-only, the company’s CEO, Thomas Ingenlath, described the Polestar 1 as a bridge between technologies, a necessary step on a journey towards full electrification.

With the Polestar name long having been associated with competitive motorsport, the Polestar 1 is said to offer the most engaging driving experience of any Volvo Group product.

The car features a new Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension system developed by Ohlins – the first time the technology has been used on a road car.

The system monitors driver inputs and road conditions, making adjustments to individual suspension dampers in just two milliseconds.

New Akebono 6-piston brake calipers with 400mm discs also feature.

Copious use of carbon fibre in major body parts has allowed Polestar to reduce overall weight (by 230kg in the body alone), increase torsional stiffness, and lower the centre of gravity.  Indeed, Polestar claims a 48:52 front-to-rear weight distribution for the new car.

Exciting as all of this sounds, there are a couple of flies in Polestar’s ointment.

Firstly, production – scheduled to start in a new Chinese facility in mid-2019 – will be limited to just 500 units, all of which will be left-hand-drive.

Secondly, the car will only be available to buy online via subscription.

Similar to Volvo’s Care package, customers pay a flat monthly fee that, as well as the purchase, takes care of all maintenance, insurance, plus a number of concierge services.

For example, customers can arrange to temporarily swap their car for a larger Volvo, perhaps for a family holiday.

Subscriptions are fixed for either two or three years, after which the car is returned (or collected).

Although a number of Polestar Spaces will be created (the first of which is expected to open in Q1 2019), the company anticipates most interaction to be electronic, with Volvo’s Phone-as-Key technology playing a large part in this.

Following in late 2019 will be the Polestar 2, a fully-electric mid-sized vehicle to compete with the Tesla Model 3, while a Polestar 3 SUV is currently in the final stages of design.

Although no pricing or performance information has been given, Polestar is accepting ‘expressions of interest.’

Alex Kefford

Editor

Freelance journalist, ex-offroad driving instructor and long distance road-tripper. If you have any questions about this piece, feel free to hit me up on Twitter.