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2020 Polestar 1, a star is born

From the February 2020 issue of Car and Driving.

New electric vehicle brands are springing up faster than the marijuana stores in Los Angeles. Over the next few years, Aspark, Bollinger, Byton, Faraday, Lordstown, and perhaps a few others we can’t remember promised to do great things. Specifically, build realistic cars that can be bought and driven. And while we’re learning and forgetting all these new names — thanks a lot, short-term memory loss — we’re grateful to be familiar with at least one: Polestar.

Polestar, formerly Volvo’s performance sub-brand, is now leading the shift to electric vehicle production. Volvo’s owner, the Chinese automaker Geely, is responsible for this, and 1 is Polestar’s first appropriately named product. Already have, we have too only 2 . power, a tall convertible four-door hatchback with a range of 275 miles. Two-door 1 isn’t an EV, but it establishes this branch as a tool for building beautiful objects.

Michael SimariVehicle and Driver

1’s design is based on Volvo Concept Coupe from a few years ago. Wide, relatively low and sleek with the right long roof proportions that made coupes so popular in the 70s and 80s, the 1 was elegant and attracted long, envious glances without resorting to weariness. excess vents, creases, chrome or flares. To reduce weight, the bodywork is made entirely of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Polestar claims that without its lightweight construction, its two-plus two-seat coupe would weigh about 500 pounds more. Even so, number 1 is heavy. At 5184 pounds, that’s 744 pounds heavier than a fully optional Kia Telluride.

Beneath that carbon fiber bodywork is the steel structure of Volvo’s SPA platform with a major modification. To increase structural strength, the 1 has a carbon fiber rack under the rear seats that connects the floor and trunk. But the SPA pieces are not what gives it weight.

This mass is largely due to the 34.0 kWh battery pack running along the vehicle’s axle and between the rear wheels. Open the trunk and you’ll see what looks like a battery in an aquarium. It takes up most of the room there, leaving just four cubic feet of storage space. However, the lithium-ion package offers an estimated 60 miles of electric range and leverages two 114hp electric motors to power the rear end. Spinning the front wheels is Volvo’s ubiquitous turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter inline-four. All it takes is that it makes 326 horsepower, but there’s also a 71-horsepower generator connected to it that accelerates and wakes up the engine when it turns off at the stop light.

Michael SimariVehicle and Driver

HIGHS: Power at the ready, seems expensive.

Taken together, the whole combination offers all-wheel drive, making 619 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, while helping you appreciate the suppleness of the leather seats by push you into them hard. Pinning the go pedal to the carpet unleashes all the available power, resulting in a run time of 3.7 seconds to 60. In Hybrid mode, the main power source is electricity and the Polestar is rear-wheel drive. Run low battery or reduce throttle and engine join the party. The electric motors ensure that there’s instant thrust at all times, but the four-cylinder is just as powerful and ready to go, as long as it’s running.

Overtaking acceleration is excellent. A time from 30 to 50 mph is a near-instant 1.9 seconds. Switch from Hybrid to Power mode and the petrol engine will hum, anticipating action. But humming isn’t the same as singing, and a car that looks this good, delivers this high in performance, and costs so much money – $156,500 to be exact – deserves something more melodious than voice. gravel of the 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine.

Michael SimariVehicle and Driver

Faced with a mountain road like the suspension roads above Los Angeles, the Polestar embodies the effortless grace of a lighter vehicle. It doesn’t take much effort to turn the steering wheel, which gives the impression of agility and lightness. The wide Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer tires work hard for grip despite the weight of the bike, and the hand-adjustable Öhlins dampers do their best to round out and minimize jarring impact of coarse collisions. We can’t imagine owners of a six-figure coupe clicking on their own dampers to try to fine-tune the ride, but the possibility is there.

The 114hp rear engines each drive an individual wheel, meaning differential thrust can be applied across the axle to create a torque vectoring effect that helps the car spin in corners. Maybe it’s the torque vectoring at play, or perhaps it’s the rear weight offset (thanks to the battery), but when you push the limit, the tails start to appear. Rounding the slide with stability control in Sport mode left the Polestar in a manageable drift, delivering a reverberation of 17 years old in a snowy parking lot. At first we thought the rear’s reaction was due to the sand on the skis left by the wind, but the rear was still there on a canyon road with stability control fully operational. It’s not jittery and it’s not much because of that steady control, but the driver lacks unconditional trust.

Anton WattsVehicle and Driver

In a less frenetic state, the 1 performs as well as any Aston Martin, and it’s more comfortable than its direct competitors Acura NSX and BMW i8. However, we wish the glass roof had some shade. While the Swedish sun may be fine, those of us who live below the 45th parallel will cook. The Polestar’s ride is smooth, the seats are comfortable, and if it were electric only, there wouldn’t be much noise beyond the hum of the tyres. The dashboard, steering wheel and infotainment system have been pulled right out of the Volvo S60. The carbon fiber trim and unique gauges are the obvious differentiators, but the Volvo flavor is still strong throughout the cabin.

LOW: So much money for a four-banger, nasty gearshifters, how much does it weigh?

Carefully stitched leather covers the interior, giving the 1 an Aston Martin-like atmosphere. It feels as if you’re sitting in a wallet that you can’t afford. The crystal gearshift lever is also a nice touch, but you’ll have to touch it a lot as reversing or steering requires you to move the lever twice in the proper direction. Knock it back again while driving and 1 will send more juice to the battery when you lift the accelerator. Unlike in Tesla, you have to constantly use the brake pedal even when you remember to pull back the gear lever to increase resilience. The oversized Akebono brake hardware helps this heavy and fast vehicle slow down without a hint of drama. There’s a detectable transition when the friction brake takes over from the regen, but it’s not enough to spoil your mood.

Michael SimariVehicle and Driver

We can’t imagine buying a Polestar 1 for fuel economy, but it’s certainly possible. You’ll only have to limit yourself to fully extracting the power and maintaining the battery’s charge. In our hands it returns 21 MPGe. If that doesn’t sound like much of a fuss, you’re skipping out on 619 hp, which is something we certainly didn’t do. We dialed all 619 horses at every opportunity.

Speaking of numbers, the number 1 is certainly still a rare sight. Only 500 are produced each year, about 150 of which will go to a few Volvo dealers. Even the display floor NSX and i8 will be more common than the 1. And if it’s a sports car you’re after, those two will be more fun to drive and better than the Polestar, although they lack the comfort and ease of use of pcs 1. Mixed Lexus LC500h matches the practicality and style of the 1 and gets you a V-6 for about $50,000 less, but its small battery can’t run it like an EV for any distance. any meaning. Despite the hefty price tag, Polestar had no trouble finding 150 American customers for this car. Of course, we’d love to have a few more cylinders for the money, but we realize that the No. 1 is a branding beauty. Judging by that, we’d say it was a success.

THE VERDICT: Part 1 succeeds as a branding exercise that helps Polestar become an automaker focused on design and electrification.



2020 Polestar 1
Vehicle type: front- and mid-engine, front-engine, all-wheel drive, 2 + 2 passenger, 2-door coupe

Basis / As Tested: $156,500 / $156,500
Optional: none

turbocharged, supercharged and cooled DOHC 16-valve, 2.0-liter inline-4, 326 hp, 384 lb-ft + 1 front AC and 2 mid AC motors, 71 hp and 119 lb-ft ft (front), 114 hp and 177 lb-ft (centre, each), (combined output: 619 hp, 738 lb-ft; 29.0 kWh lithium-ion battery pack; built-in charger 6 ,6 kW)
Transmission, F/R: 8-speed automatic/2-speed direct-drive

Suspension, F / R: manual / multi-link
Brakes, F/R: Cross-drill disc, 15.7-inch vents / Cross-drill disc, 15.4-inch vents
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4
F: 275/30R-21 98W VOL
R: 295/40R-21 102W VOL

Wheelbase: 107.9 in
Length: 180.5 in
Width: 77.1 in
Height: 53.2 in
Passenger weight: 72 ft3
Cargo weight: 4 ft3
Weight restraint: 5184 lb

60 mph: 3.7 seconds
100 mph: 8.2 seconds
1/4-Mile: 11.9 seconds @ 121 mph
130 mph: 14.4 seconds
150 mph: 21.7 seconds
The results above are ignored Release 1 ft in 0.3 seconds.
Start rolling, 5–60 mph: 4.1 seconds
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 1.9 seconds
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.3 seconds
Top speed (mfr claim): 155 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 162 ft
Roadholding, Skidpad 300 ft: 0.95 g

Observation: 21 mpg

Combined / City / Highway: 26/22/31 mpg
Combined Gasoline + Electric: 58 MPGe
EV range: 52 miles


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