Volvo just unveiled its new flagship saloon Volvo S90 at the Volvo Design Centre in Gothenburg in Sweden and even before its public debut happens, its Polestar variant has already been confirmed. According to a report from Autocar, Volvo will make high performance Polestar variants of the Volvo S90 and Volvo V90. The Volvo V90 will be the estate version of the Volvo S90, also debuting in 2016.
The Volvo S90’s rivals BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Jaguar XF already have their respective high performance variants, namely BMW M5, Mercedes-AMG E 63 and Jaguar XFR. Similarly, the Volvo V90’s rivals Audi A6 Avant, Mercedes E-Class Estate and Jaguar XF Sportbrake also have their respective high performance variants, namely Audi RS 6 Avant, Mercedes-AMG E 63 Estate and Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake.
Volvo Cars President and CEO Hakan Samuelsson told the British publication that the company must follow its rivals. “You could have a high-performance variant (of the Volvo S90) without leaving the brand,” he said. “You could still have a nice car with smart design and functionality, but what’s wrong with a little performance?”, he added.
“Right now we have the S60 and V60 as Polestar variants, and we believe in the (Polestar) brand – that’s why we bought it. So now we’re looking at using it more on performance cars within the family.”
Mr. Samuelsson also threw a hint that the future Polestar variants, including the Volvo S90 Polestar and Volvo V90 Polestar, could be hybrid. “How we bring the brand to market is open, but one way we are definitely looking at is for Polestar to focus on electrification,” he said.
The Swedish automaker’s strong interest in electrification of Polestar variants was further expressed by its Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Peter Mertens. He said: “Polestar will still be sophisticated performance; it’s not just a case of doing a ‘boy racer’ by dropping a big engine in there. Hybrid power is the direction that Polestar will go in. In a way, Tesla has legitimised electric performance, although Polestar will be more sophisticated again. We want to be able to offer high performance without regrets.”
Nick Connor, Managing Director at Volvo Car UK, also seems to find electrified power interesting and suitable for the high performance Polestar variants. “Polestar optimising the T8 (Twin Engine plug-in) hybrid powertrain would be very interesting,” he said.
“That (upgraded T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain) would present a very interesting technical solution, with the ultimate power being combined with an environmental powertrain. Look at what Tesla have done with things like Ludicrous mode. The Tesla Model S isn’t a performance car, but by adding in elements of performance they have got people talking about it as if it is.”
With the top-ranking officials of the company being so interested in and positive about suitability of the T8 Twin-Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain for the high performance Polestar variants, the Volvo S90 Polestar and Volvo V90 Polestar can be expected to be offered exclusively with that powertrain. Both can be expected to hit the markets in 2017.