first drive

2014 Volvo V60 Polestar review

Only 125 Volvo V60 Polestars are coming to the UK. Should you hand over £49,755 for one or buy a cheaper Audi S4 Avant or BMW 335i Touring?...

2014 Volvo V60 Polestar review
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Rory White
13 May 2014 15:37

The Volvo V60 Polestar is the first model from the Swedish motorsport tuning firm to go on sale in the UK. 

It gets a 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 345bhp, which cuts the sprint from 0-62mph to just 5.0 seconds, while a Polestar-fettled six-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel-drive system are standard. The V60's brakes and suspension have also been upgraded to cope with the huge boost in performance. 

Only 125 V60 Polestars will be available in the UK. Those impressive performance figures put it up against premium fast estates such as the Audi S4 Avant and BMW 335i Touring, so how does it shape up?

What’s the 2014 Volvo V60 Polestar like to drive?

Ferocious. Maximum pulling power arrives low down in the rev range, so the V60 tears aggressively through the scenery in almost any gear. Polestar hasn't held back on the noise either: the straight-six screams its way to the redline - it's especially vocal above 4000rpm.

Slowing down is almost as fun as speeding up, because the upgraded Brembo brakes feel hugely powerful, scrubbing off speed effortlessly while feeling reassuring and full of bite at the pedal. 

Its automatic gearbox also feels sharper, changing gears more swiftly than in the standard V60, although there's sometimes a delay when changing down multiple gears quickly. 

The steering isn't as quick or quite as sharp as a BMW 3 Series', but it's precise enough, and the V60's four-wheel-drive system provides impressive traction. However, when really pushed, the V60's body control doesn't quite match that of its best German rivals.

Don't expect a particularly relaxing ride, either, because although the V60 manages to stop potholes crashing into the cabin, its standard 20-inch wheels and stiffer suspension set-up will jostle passengers around over bumpy roads and uneven, patchy surfaces.

Knock the gearlever back into Normal mode, though, and at a cruise the V60 Polestar's engine settles down and there's very little wind or road noise to spoil a long journey. This surprising long-distance cruising ability is especially welcome considering the level of performance on offer.

What’s the 2014 Volvo V60 Polestar like inside?

Racier than you'll find on most Volvos. There's a unique sports steering wheel, firm sports seats featuring nubuck leather trim with bright blue stitching, a carbonfibre-effect dash inlay and aluminium pedals. 

Otherwise it's business as usual. Front passengers have plenty of head-, leg- and shoulder room, and the driver has a wide range of electric adjustment to find the perfect position.

Visibility forwards for the driver is good, but the rear view is obscured by the V60's small rear screen and thick pillars. These block your view when joining the motorway and when parking.

The dashboard isn't up to the standard of Audi or BMW in terms of sheer quality, but it still features soft-touch plastics, well damped switches and a solid build. That said, there are a few too many buttons crammed onto the centre console, which can make using the media system fiddlier than it needs to be. 

The rear seats accommodate two adults or three children comfortably, and their backrests split 40/20/40 and fold perfectly flat. The boot isn't so impressive, with just 430 litres of quite shallow space.

The only decision to make is which of the four possible paint colours looks best, because the V60 Polestar comes loaded with standard equipment. The long list includes Bluetooth, sat-nav, heated, leather, electric seats, climate control and a powerful Harman Kardon sound system.

Should I buy one?

You'll need to be quick, but Polestar has succeeded in making the V60 a genuinely fast, fun to drive estate. Its well equipped, too, and It's small numbers should mean it holds its value reasonably well.

For those with one eye on the competition, though, its hard to ignore the V60's list price. 

At £49,755, it's £10,135 more than an Audi S4 Avant and £8655 more than an automatic, rear-wheel-drive BMW 335i M Sport Touring. Both have larger boots, and there's enough of a margin in both cases to add some very desirable options and still have plenty of cash left over. 

If all-wheel drive is a must, we'd recommend spending a little more on BMW's 335d xDrive M Sport Touring. There's less drama from its six-cylinder diesel engine, but it's still close to £7000 cheaper, just as quick, even better to drive and far more frugal. 

What Car? says…


Audi S4 Avant

BMW 335i Touring M Sport

Volvo V60 Polestar

Engine size 3.0-litre turbo petrol

Price from £49,755

Power 345bhp

Torque 369lb ft

0-62mph 5.0sec

Top speed 155mph

Fuel economy 27.7mpg

CO2 237g/km