The word “fast” was never one I would have thought to use to describe a station wagon—that is, until I got behind the wheel of the 2017 Volvo Polestar V60 for an Arizona desert drive from Sedona to Phoenix.
As the performance wing of Volvo, Polestar has been merrily racing cars in Europe for 20 years. Now, a small number of road cars are receiving the Polestar treatment, and the V60 is one of them (a S60 sedan is another). Only 1,500 Polestar cars will be made worldwide for 2017, with about 200 destined for the USA. With this kind of low production volume, both vehicles are likely to become collectibles.
At first blush the Polestar V60 looks pretty much like the standard version that has been in the Volvo line-up for many years. But what distinguishes the models is Polestar’s hue—what the Swedes call a “rebel blue” color—and a very discreet badge on the front grille. Only true car cognoscenti will know what they’re seeing.
Under the hood, Polestar added a bigger turbocharger and a new supercharger, vastly improving the performance of the wagon’s four-cylinder engine. Now rated at 367 horsepower, the wagon zips from zero to 60 miles per hour in very quick 4.5 seconds. There is also a new gearbox, software upgrades, and other internal performance tweaks, many of which contribute to the model’s shedding of 44 pounds overall. And unlike the posh “Scandinavian spa” look of the new Volvo 90 series, the Polestar V60 interior is old-school Swedish sensible.
The car handles very well, like you’d expect from a track-capable car. There’s also a sport plus mode that’s perfect for putting the Polestar’s racing influences to the test. To get there, I have to turn off the electronic stability control, shift sideways into sport mode, shift forward, and then double click on the “minus” paddle shifter. A little light on the instrument display winks to let me know the car’s ready to take off. It’s all very stealthy, until I hit 95 miles per hour, speeding like a blue comet. $61,600; volvocars.com.