The 2020 Polestar 1 Review

The 2020 Polestar 1 is just Virtually Brilliant that started as Volvo’s Concept Coupé with model inspiration from the Volvo P1800, styled by German car designer Thomas Ingenlath, who previously worked in lead design positions at Audi, Volkswagen, and Škoda.

The Polestar 1 was unveiled on October 17, 2017, at the Shanghai Auto Show, making its world premiere and first public appearance a divine invention or inspiration.

The Polestar 1

The Polestar 1 is a 2-door hybrid sports car created by Polestar, performance company and brand of Volvo Cars, and is the first car produced by the company since becoming an independent car manufacturer in June 2017.

The Polestar 1 is the True Electric Performance Hybrid and the only The only hybrid Polestar

The Polestar 1 is a brand new offering, but it’s not the vision of a fly-by-night startup. It’s got a heritage of safety and performance stemming from its affiliation with Volvo. It’s exquisitely finished and offers real GT cruising ability along with impressive acceleration.

The Polestar 1 is built on the Volvo Scalable Product Architecture platform and is powered by a hybrid powertrain, using a front-mounted engine and two electric motors at the rear. The Polestar 1 is powered by a hybrid powertrain, using a twin-charged 2.0 liter in-line four-cylinder gasoline motor from the Volvo XC90 T8 to power the front wheels, with an additional two electric motors powering the rear wheels.

Amongst the petrol engine and batteries, an Integrated Starter Generator is also equipped to the Volvo Scalable Product Architecture platform, acting as a starter motor and torque fill during gear changes. Polestar states overall power output comes in at 600 hp with 1000 Nm of torque. Each electric motor produces 116 hp, while the Integrated Starter Generator produces an additional 68 hp, for a total of 300 hp

Engine and Transmission

There is only one way of doing things at Polestar for the time being, and it involves making use of hybrid power. In future, electric power will be the only means of propulsion. For now, though, the Volvo-sourced 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged is present alongside a trio of electric power plants for a total output of 600 hp and 737 lb-ft of torque. What makes the Polestar 1 impressive is that it manages all this power and torque in a fluid and smooth manner, with great throttle response minus the neck-snapping instant acceleration that pure electric vehicles usually offer. This vehicle treads the line between GT smoothness and sportscar response with impressive grace. It may have a supercar price tag, but it’s more about style, sustainability, and balance than being either a dedicated cruiser or drag racer. The eight-speed automatic transmission is as excellent as it is in other Volvo products, making smooth shifts and offering quick responses to manual inputs. The integration between electric and gas power is also seamless, and the only gripe one may have is that when the gas engine is running, the sound isn’t particularly charming.

can run on the rear electric motor and integrated starter motor only, and this provides a claimed all-electric range of 93 miles.

  • Engine 2.0-liter Twincharged Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
  • Drivetrain AWD
Power TypeTypePowerTorqueAdditional information
Petrol (gasoline)2.0 liter supercharged and turbocharged in-line four-cylinder300 hp (224 kW; 304 PS)370 N⋅m (273 lb⋅ft)Power sent to front wheels
Electric2 x electric motor232 hp (173 kW; 235 PS)480 N⋅m (354 lb⋅ft)Power sent to rear wheels
ElectricIntegrated starter generator (ISG)68 hp (51 kW; 69 PS)150 N⋅m (111 lb⋅ft)
Electric & petrol (gasoline)All motors combined608 PS (447 kW; 600 hp)1,000 N⋅m (738 lb⋅ft)

Battery & Power

The Polestar 1 has a total battery capacity of 34 kWh and uses Type 1 and Type 2 charging connectors. Under AC power, there is up to 11 kW of onboard charging available. Polestar says it requires about nine hours to fully charge the battery from empty on a standard 110-volt home outlet, or roughly four hours with a 220-to-240-volt wall unit. There is also DC fast charging, which increases the capability to 50 kW and charges the Polestar 1 up to 80% capacity in under an hour.

Brilliant Exterior

The Polestar 1 is an all-new offering, and the brand itself has chosen this vehicle to debut their new direction as a standalone brand. While some details are shared with mainstream Volvo products, a carbon fiber body and an incredible level of performance set this car apart from any other vehicle that this car borrows from. On top of all that technology is a full carbon-fiber body that increases stiffness and reduces weight. All the weight savings serve to offset the massive heft of the battery packs, allowing the Polestar 1 to unleash its considerable power and carve canyons as well as lighter sports cars.

Overall, we’re fond of the 2020 Polestar 1. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and impressive halo car with an unmatched ability to switch between eco-friendly and aggressive thrust for a plug-in hybrid.

Unmatched Interior

Each Polestar 1 comes standard with a huge range of premium features, from luxury to safety, and there are no packages to tack on. Features include a full-leather interior, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED lighting, keyless entry and ignition, and a Bowers & Wilkins audio system paired with an infotainment system that uses a 12.3-inch touchscreen display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is also included.

Polestar 1 Safety

Since this is in no small part a Volvo product, the generous list of safety features should come as no surprise. They include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera, and Volvo’s Pilot Assist, a suite of features that bundles adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and collision mitigation.

Dimensions

Despite being a two-door coupe, the Polestar 1 is large and lengthy, measuring 180.5 inches from nose to tail. The wheelbase measures 107.9 inches while width including the mirrors measures 79.6 inches across. Curb weight, as you’d expect in a vehicle with four different motors and a heavy battery pack, is rated at 5,170 pounds. The Volvo S90 T8, on which the Polestar 1 is based, is considerably lighter at 4,579 lbs. However, that model offers far less performance.

  • Length 180.5 in
  • Wheelbase 108.0 in
  • Height 53.2 in
  • Max Width 76.2 in

Polestar 1 Performance

Polestar 1 is the first model from the brand, but it’s also their halo car. Thus it needs an energetic power plant to match its striking looks. While you won’t get the performance of the console game version, you do get 600 hp and an astonishing 737 lb-ft of torque from a quartet of motors. A pair of electric motors each produces 111 hp which is sent to the rear wheels, while a third electric source – an integrated starter generator – produces 68 hp and works alongside an internal combustion engine to power the front wheels. This 2.0-liter four-cylinder is both turbocharged and supercharged, and together with the electric motor, produces 375 horses. An eight-speed automatic transmission with paddles for manual shifting handles the power, while torque vectoring helps enhance the ability of the all-wheel-drive system. It’s a complex setup, but the results are worthwhile. 0-60 mph is achieved in just 4.2 seconds, while top speed comes at 155 mph – a considerably higher figure than the Volvo S90 T8’s 130.

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Polestar 1 doesn’t feature the adaptive air suspension that is so favored by Volvo and other luxury automakers in this sort of price bracket. Instead, you get high-end Ohlins adjustable dampers, but before you get too excited, it’s worth noting that these must be adjusted manually. This can be done for the front by popping the hood, but the back requires you to jack the car up and get under it – something that those who can afford this type of vehicle are unlikely to do. Nevertheless, countless man-hours have gone into each individual damper setting to ensure that they behave as intended. If you choose to, you can have your dampers set stiff or soft, but throughout the damping range, the ride is reasonably stiff yet comfortable. What this means is that in standard configuration, the Polestar 1 neither rides with the grace of a Bentley or Mercedes S-Class, nor does it have the same kind of rigidity and poise of a Porsche. It’s a fine line, but the Polestar 1 walks it well. Most of the power goes to the front, so this isn’t a power sliding monster, but the individual rear motors on each wheel are capable of full torque vectoring, which means that you can still go into corners far quicker than seems feasible, with understeer only kicking in when you go ridiculously overboard. It’s an interesting sensation, but it’s good. The brakes are also good and are supplied by the same company that developed the stoppers on the McLaren P1 hypercar – Akebono. They respond sharply and become easy to modulate with practice, but that regenerative braking system will confound first-time drivers.

The Swedish firm has kitted out the Polestar 1 with driver-configurable active suspension from specialist Ohlins. This Polestar system can react to changes in the road surface in less than two milliseconds. Large brakes with six-piston calipers from Akebono provide stopping power, while the planetary gearbox driving the rear axle doubles as a torque-vectoring unit.

Polestar 1 Gas Mileage

Polestar claims that this vehicle will achieve a figure of 26 mpg on the EPA’s combined cycle when using both gas and electric propulsion. With a 13.2-gallon gas tank, this equates to an average range of around 343 miles with mixed driving. On electric-only power, the claim is 64 MPGe and an astonishing range of 60 miles, thanks to a 34 kWh battery pack.

On a 110V home charger, you can expect to refill the battery in around nine hours, while a 220-240V socket will cut that down to between three-and-a-half and four hours. With DC fast charging, 80% charge can be reached in as little as an hour.

Polestar 1 Trunk and Cargo Space

While the rest of the car boasts simple and elegant design principles and colors, popping the handsfree and soft-close trunk shows you a gaudy mess of orange wires closed off by a clear case. This is where the batteries lie and it’s a stark contrast to the rest of the vehicle. It also takes up a lot of space, leaving you with just 4.4 cubic feet of volume, enough for a pair of carry-on cases, but not much else.

In the cabin, the rear seats can be used for overflow storage, but other options are relatively limited. The door pockets are long but narrow and the glovebox is shallow, as is the center armrest bin, but at least there’s a tray in the center console for your phone.

Polestar 1 Infotainment

The infotainment system is borrowed directly from Volvo, with a nine-inch Sensus Connect touchscreen display handling output to an excellent Bowers & Wilkins 16-speaker sound system that is all but unparalleled in automobiles. Unfortunately, the infotainment interface itself is not flawless. It works in a tablet-like fashion, which makes it fairly easy to acclimatize to, but some icons can be too small to avoid distraction while driving and it can be laggy on start-up. Fortunately, voice control is included. You also get Bluetooth connectivity, a pair of USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, and navigation with real-time traffic updates.

What’s the Price of the 2020 Polestar 1?

The Polestar 1 is available to order for the princely sum of $155,000, before a $1,500 destination charge. A $2,500 deposit secures your order, and the only charged option is matte paint, at a cost of $5,000. Thus, a fully loaded model starts and ends at $160,000, before additional fees or rebates.

Specifications

BASE PRICE
$156,500

POWERTRAIN
turbocharged, supercharged, and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 326 hp, 321 lb-ft; 3 permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors, front: 71 hp, 119 lb-ft; rear (combined): 232 hp, 354 lb-ft; combined output, 619 hp, 738 lb-ft; 34.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack

TRANSMISSION
8-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 107.9 in
Length: 180.5 in
Width: 77.1 in
Height: 53.2 in
Passenger volume: 72 cu ft
Trunk volume: 4 cu ft
Curb weight (C/D est): 5200 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 3.9 sec
100 mph: 11.7 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.7 sec
Top speed: 155 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined gasoline+electricity: 105 MPGe
EV range: 60 miles

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