The relationship between Polestar and Volvo has evolved over the years, beginning with a partnership in road racing and eventually leading to creating performance versions of certain Volvo production cars such as the C30, the S60 and the V60. Today, as its own electric performance brand within Volvo, Polestar unveiled its first hybrid electric model, aptly named the Polestar 1.
The Polestar 1 looks like a coupe version of Volvo's handsome S90 sedan. It has a 2+2 seating configuration and a body primarily constructed of strong, lightweight carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer bonded to a steel understructure. A fixed panoramic glass roof stretches across the top, affording an expansive view of whatever happens to be above you. The wide rear haunches of the Polestar 1 are slightly squared-off, and when viewed from certain angles, harken back to the Volvo P1800 from the 1960s. An active rear spoiler automatically deploys above 62 mph and retracts flush with the body when speeds drop below 43 mph.
The interior of the Polestar 1 is a traditional mix of tailored leather and carbon-fiber inlays. With the exception of sleek new Polestar logos, everything from the long vertical air vents to the central Sensus touchscreen infotainment system to the shift-by-wire gear selector is a Volvo identifier.
Propulsion for the Polestar 1 comes from a three-motor hybrid electric powertrain similar to the arrangement found in Volvo's line of T8 plug-in hybrid vehicles. There are two electric motors that make 109 horsepower each and drive the rear wheels independently, which also allows for lateral torque-vectoring across the rear axle. An integrated starter generator attached to the gasoline engine is good for another 46 hp. The gasoline engine is the twin-charged 2.0-liter inline-four that Volvo uses across the board in various forms, employing both turbo- and supercharging to generate 336 hp. The sum total of all the moving pieces brings the Polestar 1's all-wheel-drive output to 600 hp and 738 pound-feet of torque.
Three battery stacks, located down the center of the car and behind the rear seats over the rear axle, store 34 kilowatt-hours of energy. Polestar estimates this is sufficient to travel 93 miles on electric propulsion alone. The Polestar 1 rides along on a double-wishbone front and a multilink rear suspension with electronically adaptive dampers by Öhlins and 21-inch wheels and tires spanning 275 millimeters wide in front and 295 mm in back. Large six-piston Akebono front brake calipers ensure the Polestar 1 will scrub off speed as quickly as it can build it.
With plans to produce 500 cars a year beginning in mid-2019 at the company's new production center in Chengdu, China, Polestar will begin accepting refundable preorder deposits of 2,500 euros (about $3,100) beginning March 13, 2018. The Polestar 1 will be available for purchase or on a subscription basis. The subscription model is something a lot of car manufacturers are exploring and promoting as hassle-free car ownership. Benefits include pickup and delivery, insurance and maintenance all built into the monthly cost of the subscription, with no deposit required. The U.S. is one of six international launch markets for the Polestar 1.