Polestar XC90 PHEV Is Fastest Volvo Ever

If you are a Volvo enthusiast, you have probably heard of Polestar. That’s the independent tuning operation that has been upgrading the performance of Volvo sedans for years. It does for Volvos what AMG does for Mercedes Benz. Like AMG, it has now been purchased outright by the manufacturer and brought on board as the in-house performance division.

Volvo XC90 T8 Polestar

Performance tweaks used to involve two things. On the engine side, more displacement, more aggressive camshafts and modifications to the intake and exhaust tracts added power. Upgrades to springs, shocks, and roll bars improved cornering ability.

But what happens when cars start being powered by electrons instead of gasoline molecules? Polestar has now taken on the digital world and found ways to make Volvo’s latest offerings more powerful while using the same basic powertrain.

The most recent example is the Volvo XC 90 T8 plug-in hybrid. It starts out with a gasoline/electric powertrain that features 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. Those are pretty stout numbers for such a large sport utility vehicle.

But Polestar has managed to fiddle with the software enough to extract a maximum of 421 horsepower and 501 lb-ft of torque. With those numbers, the Polestar edition of the XC90 T8 is now officially the most powerful production car ever offered by Volvo. It scoots to 62 mph in just 5.5 seconds.

All that power demands upgraded handling. The Polestar package includes a new gearshift hold feature that keeps the car in a given gear while cornering. That prevents shifting mid-corner from upsetting the balance of the car during aggressive maneuvers.

Look for Polestar to work its magic on other Volvo plug-in hybrid models in the near future. That may include 600 horsepower versions of the S90 and V90 with powertrains based around an upgraded 2.0 liter four cylinder engine, according to Volvo R&D chief Peter Mertens.

The Polestar upgrade for the XC90 T8 will be available for order beginning in October.

Source: Green Car Reports  Photo credit: Volvo

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.