Volvo S60 Polestar Performance Concept unveiled
Offering a tantalizing look at what could be lurking around the next fast corner, Volvo's official motorsport and performance-tuning partner used a racing event in downtown Gothenberg this past weekend to take the wraps off of a new purpose-built one-off that showcases the true enthusiast potential lying within the automaker's mid-size sedan. Fitted with a seriously upgraded version of the S60's turbocharged T6 inline-6 that churns out a heady 508 horsepower and comprehensively recast running gear, the Volvo S60 Polestar Performance Concept takes dead aim at cars like the Audi RS4, BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.
Polestar has partnered with Volvo since 1996 and successfully designed and prepped five different models for various forms of racing during that time as well as worked its go-fast magic on a number of production models. According to Polestar Marketing Director Hans Bååth, this fully street-legal Performance Concept is a direct spinoff of the organization's latest track warrior that's also based - albeit very loosely -- on the current S60. Unlike that pure competition offering which competes in the Swedish TTA Racing Elite League, Polestar wanted this exercise to maintain "a comfortable Volvo driving experience" in addition to its seriously expanded overall dynamic envelope.
To boost the pony count of the S60 R's 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 by nearly 60 percent and to raise its peak torque from 354 to 424 lb-ft, Polestar performed extensive modifications to the cylinder head and combustion chamber configuration while revising the intake and exhaust systems, installing beefier connecting rods and fitting a bigger Garrett turbo unit and intercooler. Backed by a modified 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission that sends power to all four wheels via a revised Haldex Gen IV all-wheel drive system that incorporates an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, this ultra-strong six can send the 3616-pound S60 Polestar Performance Concept from 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds and on to a maximum velocity of 186 mph.
Like all other Polestar-developed street cars, the S60 Performance Concept also boasts numerous chassis upgrades to ensure all of the extra power on tap can be put to best use. In this case, the list includes various structural reinforcements, a modified front subframe and engine mounts, Polestar-tuned electric power steering, stiffer springs and suspension bushings, revised front/rear control arm and premium Öhlins 3-way performance shock absorbers.
Car-to-earth contact on the S60 Performance Concept is optimized by the presence of super-sticky 265/30 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires on lightweight 19-inch Polestar alloy wheels while stopping power has been bolstered by upsized Polestar/Brembo disc brakes that feature supplemental cooling ducts up front. To help lower its center of gravity and increased stability, the ride height has been dropped by 1.2 inches while the front and rear track dimensions were expanded by 0.8 inch and 1.6 inches, respectively. Time in Volvo's wind tunnel also led to some additional aero tweaking that includes a lower front splitter and larger rear spoiler to diminish high-speed lift, a functional rear diffuser and bigger fender flares that widen the car's front/rear bodywork by 0.8 inch.
The cabin of the S60 Performance Concept gets its own performance-oriented makeover that starts with a set of deeply bolstered Polestar sport buckets. A lower center console improves positioning of the shift lever while grippy Alcantara is used to cover all "functional areas" on the seats, steering wheel, and shift knob.
Although the S60 Performance Concept was created for a single private party, Polestar admits that "a small series of Polestar modified S60s may be built pending market response." Whether that happens and how close any come to this particular example remains to be seen. However, Christian Dahl, founder and CEO of Polestar, is clearly prepared to explore that potential to the fullest. "The S60 Performance Concept is a car developed with our own preferences in mind which, we from experience know, are shared by a group of active drivers. Polestar's heart and soul is motorsport and our main focus is to deliver the absolute best results for Volvo on the track. But over the years we have also seen a significant increase in demand for Volvo performance cars and parts and naturally we want to respond to this."