2020 Polestar 1 overview: A bizarre flex and a moot level

2020 Polestar 1 overview: A bizarre flex and a moot level

So contemporary and so trendy, you’d by no means know it is a seven-year-old design.

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The most effective factor concerning the 2020 Polestar 1 is the way in which it appears. It is the 2013 Volvo Idea Coupe come to life with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. However regardless of being the primary automobile to launch underneath the standalone Polestar model, it by no means lays the groundwork for any of the corporate’s future fashions. Actually, the Polestar 1 is only a rolling billboard for a carmaker most individuals have by no means heard of — and a stunning one, at that.


  • Completely beautiful design
  • 60 miles of electrical vary
  • Stable efficiency {hardware}
  • Comfy and trendy inside

Do not Like

  • Sensus infotainment tech is buggy
  • Barely any cargo house
  • $155,000 beginning value is costlier than different luxurious/sports activities vehicles

Design with endurance

If you are going to resurrect a 7-year-old idea automobile for a manufacturing mannequin, you’d higher make it a superb one. So it is a testomony to the 2013 Idea Coupe’s design that, all these years later, it nonetheless appears each bit as beautiful.

The physique panels are freed from frivolous sculpting, and I really like the extensive hips and brief overhangs. Nearly all of these physique panels are created from carbon fiber, too, which Polestar says accounts for some 500 kilos of weight financial savings in contrast with conventional metal building. Even so, that is no featherweight: The Polestar 1 ideas the scales at practically 5,200 kilos, which is about the identical as a properly geared up Ford F-150.

There’s simply sufficient exterior panache to let you realize the Polestar 1 is one thing a bit extra particular your common Volvo. However open the door and, effectively, that sort of goes away. There’s nothing flawed with the 1’s inside, under no circumstances. The supplies are implausible, every part matches collectively completely and there are just a few attractive particulars like actual steel trim and that huge, crystal shift knob. It is simply that none of that is totally different from what you get in every other new Volvo. Fortunately, Polestar’s forthcoming fashions will put a better emphasis on distinctive inside design with sustainable supplies. Take a look at the superb cabin of the new Polestar Principle idea, for instance.

This cabin could also be acquainted, however once more, that does not make it unhealthy. The entrance chairs are ridiculously comfy and supportive, the steering wheel has a fantastic thickness and is wrapped in comfortable leather-based. Hardly any wind or street noise permeates the cabin and the electrochromic roof permits as a lot or as little gentle as you want. There’s even somewhat Polestar emblem projected onto the glass. Neat.

Yep, it is all Volvo inside.

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One draw back to notice: For a automobile this huge, there’s hardly any trunk house. Two of the Polestar’s three batteries — which have a complete capability of 32 kilowatt-hours — are stacked behind the rear seats, which means they eat into the cargo house. Sure, it is extraordinarily cool that there is a plexiglass window so you’ll be able to see the Polestar’s electrical {hardware}, however when it is time to head to the airport, I am amazed that my Rollaboard suitcase and backpack simply barely squeeze in there.

Acquainted cabin means acquainted tech

The excellent news concerning the Polestar 1 utilizing Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system is that, having used it a bunch of occasions now, I am just about a professional. The unhealthy information, after all, is that each one the issues I do not like about Sensus come alongside, too.

You progress via the assorted pages and menus sort of such as you would on an iPad. However whereas this design is nice for a pill you’d use at dwelling on the sofa, it is totally different for an interface supposed for use whereas driving. A number of the icons are small, the settings menu requires a downward swipe from the very prime of the display and, regardless of quite a few processor updates over time, Sensus continues to be fairly laggy while you first wake it up.

There’s nonetheless so much to reward, although — there isn’t any denying the 9-inch, portrait-style touchscreen is visually spectacular. I like the way in which Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are built-in into the Sensus expertise, too. Somewhat than taking on the entire show, the smartphone-mirroring tech is housed in one of many 4 fundamental panels on the house display, and solely totally opens while you ask it to. This makes it so much simpler to toggle between the apps in your telephone and the apps in your automobile.

That is one other space the place the 1 would not preview what’ll are available Polestar’s future vehicles, fortunately. Starting with the Polestar 2, the model’s vehicles will transfer to new Google Android-powered software program that appears to be a lot, a lot better.

I really like that Polestar provides you a view of the 1’s electrical {hardware}. I simply want all of it did not come on the expense of cargo house.

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Numerous energy… a few of the time

Arguably essentially the most fascinating factor concerning the 1 is its powertrain, although once more, this plug-in hybrid setup will not be utilized in any future Polestar. Very similar to Volvo’s T8 Twin-Engine vehicles, there is a 2.0-liter I4 up entrance, which is each supercharged and turbocharged, mated to an built-in starter-generator motor and an eight-speed automated transmission that drives the entrance axle. By itself, this a part of the powertrain produces 326 horsepower and 321 pound-feet of torque.

The place the Polestar differs from a typical T8 Volvo is on the rear. There is a pair of 85-kilowatt electrical motors, making a complete of 232 hp and 354 lb-ft. This part of the powertrain solely sends thrust to the rear wheels, and it could possibly torque-vector backward and forward, too, for improved dealing with.

All of this provides as much as a complete system output of 619 hp and 738 lb-ft, however you are solely getting that quantity when you have sufficient juice within the battery and you are driving the Polestar 1 in its Energy mode. Which is one thing you must do as usually as you’ll be able to, as a result of that is the place the automobile actually shines. Acceleration is energetic, with this heavy coupe hitting 60 mph in just below four seconds. And since many of the torque is coming from an electrical motor, it is accessible at a second’s discover.

In Energy mode, the Polestar 1 has through-the-road all-wheel drive — all 4 wheels are being pushed on the similar time by two separate propulsion methods. There’s so much taking place suddenly, however I like how seamlessly all of it works collectively. You by no means really feel anybody a part of the powertrain carrying the brunt of the load. There’s only a ton of energy, on a regular basis, and loads of grip because it’s shuffled between the 4 contact patches.

You can even put the Polestar into an electric-only rear-wheel-drive setting, however this sounds extra thrilling on paper than it does in actuality. I really like the thought of a rear-drive EV, however bear in mind, you are solely getting 232 hp and 354 lb-ft right here, and that deficit is basically noticeable in a automobile this heavy. This is not the drive mode you will wish to use whereas caning it within the canyons. As an alternative, I discover this EV setting works finest for operating errands or driving within the metropolis — the occasions once I respect the smoothness (and calmness) of an electrical powertrain. Do not bury your proper foot on a regular basis and you may see about 60 miles of EV vary. The Polestar 1 is provided to deal with 50-kilowatt DC fast-charging, too, the place you’ll be able to replenish the battery in underneath an hour. (On a extra frequent Stage 2 setup, this may take a few hours.)

The 2 secret weapons within the Polestar 1’s drive modes are its Maintain and Cost settings, that are activated by buttons on the settings panel while you right-swipe the Sensus touchscreen. They work as marketed: Maintain will hold the battery at its present state of cost and rely solely on the two.0-liter engine for energy, which is completely tremendous for lengthy stretches of freeway driving the place this front-wheel-drive setup is extra environment friendly. Cost mode is nice right here, too, nevertheless it additionally makes use of the engine’s energy to place some electrons again into the battery.

Mentioned one other manner, I can depart my home with a full battery in Maintain mode and have the complete EV energy accessible once I stand up to my canyon take a look at roads. Or, extra realistically, I can choose Cost mode on the fly once I do not bear in mind to activate Maintain, and attempt to acquire again a few of the electrons I misplaced due to my forgetfulness.

By itself, this 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged I4 produces 326 hp and 321 lb-ft of torque.

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When it’s time to hustle, the Polestar 1 is a good performer. In contrast with different Volvo T8 fashions, the Polestar has an additional carbon-fiber brace behind its chassis for elevated rigidity, and the adjustable Ohlins coilover suspension is properly arrange from the get-go. All of this retains the Polestar taut and surprisingly nimble via corners, doing so much to masks the sheer measurement of this coupe. The geeky gearhead in me likes that the coilovers are manually adjustable by way of knobs underneath the hood — you’ll be able to enhance or lower the stiffness by as a lot as 20% — however I believe most house owners would fairly change this form of factor by way of a button someplace on the middle console.

The Akebono aluminum brakes are robust, however like different hybrid Volvos, stopping is usually jerky, particularly at low speeds. I might additionally actually like extra steering suggestions. The Polestar modifications course shortly, and there isn’t any understeer to talk of, nevertheless it’s all simply so numb and lifeless in my fingers. This additionally makes it tougher to get a way of how a lot grip the tires have, although this is not precisely a automobile that begs to be pushed tougher.

As an alternative, the Polestar 1 is at its finest going lengthy distances on the freeway or breaking necks because it causes double-takes within the metropolis. Plus, it is bought all the identical trendy driver-assistance tech as Volvo’s different high-end fashions, together with adaptive cruise management, lane-keeping help, blind-spot monitoring — the works. All informed, the Polestar 1 is a implausible grand tourer.

Yeah, it is fairly. However $155,000 is some huge cash.

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However who’s it for?

I just like the Polestar 1. It is fast, it is cozy and it appears rattling good in my driveway. However I do not know why you’d purchase one, particularly contemplating its $155,000 price ticket.

My colleague Antuan Goodwin says it finest: The Polestar 1 is “form of caught between an eco rock and a efficiency arduous place.” EV-minded customers will probably be bummed this automobile is not totally electrical — particularly when $155,000 buys any Tesla you need, or perhaps a Porsche Taycan. Alternatively, as a sports activities automobile, the Audi R8, BMW M8, Mercedes-AMG GT and Porsche 911 will all run circles across the Polestar. Heck, though the 1 is a stunning GT, judged on that sole criterion alone, the Mercedes-Benz S560 Coupe, BMW M850i Coupe or Lexus LC 500 are lovelier to pilot over the lengthy haul. All three are cheaper, too.

However here is the factor: None of this issues. Polestar will solely construct 1,500 of those coupes for the whole world, and the corporate is not utilizing the 1 as a basis for its future merchandise. The totally electrical Polestar 2 is a much more vital product for this up-and-coming carmaker, and albeit, that is the one I am actually enthusiastic about — even when it is not as handsome.

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