Volvo has always been about safety, but if you made the erroneous assumption that they don’t care a lick about driving excitement, then you don’t know about their partnership with Polestar. Polestar was created back in 1996 purely to run Volvo motorsports, developing high-performance Volvo cars for both track and street. This year, that Swedish performance mindset continues: Polestar has taken a small allotment of 750 V60 wagons and S60 sedans and made them better, stronger, and faster for worldwide consumption. This represents but a fraction of other performance arms of premier auto manufacturers, mind you, considering that BMW’s last-generation M3 Coupe saw 40,000 models produced globally. Besides, North America is only slated to get 120 Polestar-tuned Volvos.
We headed to sunny California to toss around a handful of the S60s and V60s with potent 350 horsepower T6 engines, boosted from the S60/V60 T6 R-Design AWD versions’ already eager 325 horsepower motors. Tasty aero work was also added in the form of a front splitter, rear spoiler and rear diffuser, as well as a sinister black grille (which looks even better on the Rebel Blue paint scheme than on the Black Sapphire), 20-inch wheels, stiffer bushings and spring mounts. But it’s not harsh by any stretch, toeing the line between handling and comfort thanks to a special set of dampers created with Öhlins. Perhaps what’s even more attractive is the fact that these Polestar-kissed cars attain the same mpg numbers, emission standards, and crash test ratings as the commoner brethren on which they’re based. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it, too?
The rarity of these special wagons and sedans — far rarer than the performance-tuned German cars from BMW, Mercedes and Audi — gives them a coveted quality that upstages even the Teutons. On the track, they’re both fierce and composed, and we got to see what makes these cars so special. If you happen to see one on the street, pay respect, because you might not see the likes of them again anytime soon. And don’t expect to pull one into your own garage; they’ve already sold out.