The Original S60 Polestar Concept Was Wilder Than You Remember

When you look at a car like the Polestar 1, it’s easy to look at the numbers and be impressed. 600HP and 1000 Nm of torque would impress just about anybody, after all, so it’s understandable. As impressive as the big coupe is, though, it’s important to remember that it’s only the first production car to wear the Polestar badge. It’s not the only car to wear the Polestar badge, and it wasn’t the craziest. That was this 2012 S60 Polestar Concept– and it was wilder than you remember.

People like numbers, so I’ll start with a number: 0. As in, “zero”. That’s the total number of 500+ HP, turbocharged, all-wheel drive, six-cylinder engined sedans you’ll find with a manual transmission that are not the Volvo S60 Polestar.

That was a pretty cool number, no? I’ll give you another one: 1. As in, “one”. That’s the number of 508 HP, turbocharged, all-wheel drive, six-cylinder Volvo S60s Polestar originally intended to produce– and even that was at a price of more than $300,000 (US).

Here’s another number you may like: 1:40.8. As in, “One minute, forty-point-eight seconds”. That’s how long it took Motor Trend drivers to drive the S60 Polestar Concept around Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca, California. That time is significant, because it’s not only faster than the 640 HP Dodge/SRT Viper and 638 HP Corvette ZR1, but was also faster than any production car tested by the magazine up to that point. It was quicker than a Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca (1:41.1), Porsche Cayman R (1:41.6), Lotus Evora S (1:42.5), and even “the Ultimate Driving Machine”, a BMW M3 (1:43.0).

One last number to leave you with before I check out: 4. As in, “one, two, three, four”. The original S60 Polestar would rocket to 100 kilometers per hour (62 MPH) in less than four seconds. That was– and is!– a solid, supercar performance. The fact that said performance was delivered by a not-quite-Rebel Blue sedan is still something that should leave you shaking your head.

Oh, yeah. Did I forget to mention that the car that is arguably the most responsible for making Rebel Blue Volvos a thing isn’t actually painted Rebel Blue? “The difference is actually quite big,” Polestar’s North American sales manager Andreas Naeslund said, in an interview with Wired, referring to the S60 Concept’s paint when looking at the R-Design sedan. “Rebel Blue” is almost imperceptibly darker than this particular shade of Cyan. As Wired’s Basem Wasef points out, “that really says more about the Swedes than any cultural guidebook will tell you.”

This thing is awesome. Check out Volvo’s official press release for the concept, below, then let me know what you think of the original S60 Polestar super-sedan in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


    2012 Volvo S60 Polestar Concept

    With the glamour and bright lights that symbolize the City of Angels, what better place for the global auto show debut of the Volvo S60 Polestar Concept than the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show? After all, the 508-horsepower beast, built by Volvo’s official performance partner, Polestar, is arguably the most glamorous and lightning-quick Volvo concept car ever made.

    “This is Polestar’s interpretation of the Volvo S60,” says Christian Dahl, founder and CEO of Polestar. “It’s a car developed with our own preferences in mind — although we know they are also shared by active drivers.”

    Make no mistake, it is an exotic in its own right — but with refinement and precise handling. All of this technology results in a more intense, real-life Volvo driving experience.

    “We approached this project by looking at the production Volvo S60 as a platform for a potential race car — and the culmination of that data went into the design of the S60 Polestar Concept,” explained Jan Andersson, chief engineer at Polestar.

    The S60 Polestar Concept delivers the genuine Volvo driving experience with a high level of power and handling. The turbocharged, inline six-cylinder engine has been tuned to deliver a considerable increase in power and torque. The 508 horsepower and 575Nm of torque seem to dwarf the numbers associated with the horsepower and torque found in the T6 engine of the production car: 304 horsepower and 440Nm of torque.

    The combination of a lowered, widened and reinforced chassis, a tuned Haldex all-wheel-drive system, and Öhlins suspension makes the car uniquely suitable for both high-performance driving and long-distance traveling. According to Volvo Polestar driver Robert Dahlgren, “It is, by far, the most impressive street Volvo I’ve ever driven. But I must also say that the genuine Volvo feeling is still there.”


    Brief Technical Overview: Polestar S60 Concept

    • Volvo T6 inline six
    • 0-100 kmh (62 mph) = 3.9 seconds
    • Top speed more than 300 kmh (more than 186 mph)
    • 508 hp @ 6500rpm
    • 575Nm (424 lb.-feet) @ 5500rpm
    • Max rpm: 7100
    • Modified cylinder head and combustion chambers
    • Modified inlet manifold and air intake
    • Garret 3171 turbo
    • Ferrita 3.5″ stainless steel exhaust system


Sources | Images: Wired, Motor Trend, Volvo Cars.

I've been in and around the car industry for over twenty years. Sometimes racing, sometimes selling, sometimes fixing- sometimes, even just washing!- but Cars and Trucks and Things That Go are what I'm all about.