Test Drive: The New Polestar1
Ian Lamming is shocked by the Polestar1 but in a good way
LIFE is full of surprises and, in this case, all of them good.
As the Polestar1 is reversed off the transporter, I walk to the driver’s door, only to find there is no steering wheel as it is left hand drive – I was not expecting that.
That’s because Polestar1 is one of a limited edition of 1,500 worldwide, so no point sticking the steering wheel on the right for just us Brits.
Open the boot and all the electrical gubbins, resplendent in orange, sits behind see-through Perspex. No real shocker there as Polestar is all-electric – isn’t it?
Well that’s strange then as I can hear an engine ticking over under the bonnet and when I ask I’m told there’s a 2.0 four cylinder fitted with supercharger and turbo – I was not expecting that either.
Turns out Polestar1, undoubtedly a testbed for the new brand, is a plug-in hybrid offering a maximum of 77 miles on EV but more likely to be operated in tandem, with the petrol motor and electric working side by side. Surprise!
The combustion engine drives the front wheels and the two rears each have their own electric motor, so by default Polestar1 is also 4x4.
The more mainstream Polestar2, that we see increasingly on our roads, offers a healthy dollop of power so I’m expecting something around the same, about 400hp. But with Polestar1, like a jack-in-the-box leaping into your face, the performance figures throw a gargantuan 609hp and 1,000Nm of torque into the mix. Now that is a surprise.
That’s enough to give the Polestar1 supercar performance, governed to 155mph, yes, but with a sprint time of just 3.5 seconds – astonishing.
On the road that translates to breath-taking poke, real neck-snapping, G-force inducing acceleration that sets this car apart. Under power it has a nice aural quality as well, not too loud but definitely meaty and reflective of its sporty pretensions.
The 21in alloys on huge 10in and 12in rims, stunning suspension with Dynamic Torque Vectoring, which controls without being too harsh, and gargantuan 400mm drilled and ventilated disc brakes, with leviathan callipers, make Polestar1 a peerless performer too. There is power, sharp dynamics and bags of feels making it a superbly involving drive.
With all that power I would not have expected the Polestar1 to be economical but it is that too – go figure. Mixed motoring sees 30+mpg easily achievable and pootling allows that figure to rise to the 40s.
The bodyshell also offers its own surprises. It may look Polestar straight on but you soon realise that it is so much more. It is just so wide, sculpted and sharp, the carbon fibre shell assembled to the nearest micron. It is eye-catching from all angles and from the back and the oblique is absolutely stunning. It fills the roads and it dominates the view with its immense road presence.
No surprises really with the interior which is pure Polestar2 and recognisable from the Volvos that supplied the inspiration.
That said it has been polished and honed to the nth degree so while the layout is familiar the extra attention to detail isn’t. Carbon fibre is everywhere as is beautiful hand-stitched Nappa leather. The multi-adjustable sports seats are just plain gorgeous and the automatic gearbox lever is actually solid Orrefors crystal. Then there’s the Bowers & Wilkins hi-fi – all 1,400 watts and 16 speakers, including an enormous subwoofer in the back. Choose between studio, stage or concert hall and enjoy.
A price tag of £150,000 is more than a bit of a surprise but largely irrelevant as you can no longer buy Polestar1 brand new – you’ll have to trade on the used market but don’t expect it to be a bargain because this is prestigious, exclusive, collectable.
So what have I learned? Well, to expect the unexpected, especially when Polestar is concerned, and to enjoy the superb ride.
Engine: 2.0 petrol with supercharger and turbo, plus two electric motors
Power: up to 609hp (combined)
Range: up to 77 miles on EV
0-60mph: 3.5 secs
Top speed: up to 155mph
Combined MPG: 30+
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Price: from £150,000.00