Volvo S60 T6 Polestar review

* Performance pack for range-topping Volvo S60 T6 * 0-62mph in 5.5secs (est), 155mph top speed * On sale now for 38,050...

Volvo S60 T6 Polestar review

The Volvo S60 T6 Polestar is the fastest version of the Swedish firm's compact executive saloon.

It has the same 3.0-litre petrol engine as the regular T6, but the addition of a Polestar performance pack boosts the six-cylinder unit from 300bhp to 324bhp.

The pack costs 660, and it's available on both the T6 and the D5 diesel. What's more, because it's an official Volvo upgrade, it doesn't affect the car's warranty. Average economy stays at 28.5mpg, while CO2 emissions remain at 231g/km.

What's the Volvo S60 T6 Polestar like to drive?
Quick, without being thrilling.

Whether you're nailing it off the mark or building speed on the move, any pressure on the throttle pedal results in a serious surge in forward motion. The 0-62mph dash is around 5.5 seconds, and the top speed is limited to 155mph.

If anything, the car is too responsive. The sharp throttle response, combined with a six-speed automatic gearbox that always favours lower gears, means that the Polestar is hard to drive smoothly at low speeds. The gearbox does have a manual override, but that's not really the point when you're crawling through town. The lack of a paddleshift option might disappoint some buyers as well.

Still, the engine sounds good, with a turbine-like whoosh as the revs build, which changes to a bellow as you approach the redline. The noise dies away as you reach cruising speeds, and always stays smooth.

Unfortunately, cruising still isn't a strong point. Our test car came in R-Design trim, which brings lowered and stiffened suspension for a sportier feel. This makes the ride unsettled on the motorway and harsh at low speeds.

The fettled suspension does mean strong body control, though, so the car stays impressively flat in bends. There's lots of grip, too and the standard four-wheel drive system means traction is never an issue. However, the Polestar feels like a big, heavy car, and it doesn't change direction as well as its best German rivals because the steering is slow.

The vagueness of the R-Design's revised steering doesn't help inspire you with confidence, either, and when you're going slower, it feels heavy and reluctant to move off the straight ahead.

What's the Volvo S60 T6 Polestar like inside?
The R-Design gets leather sports seats that have firmer bolstering than you find in other S60s. They're extremely comfortable and supportive, and the wide range of adjustment makes it easy to find the right driving position.

You get a clear view all around the car, and the cabin has a plush, high-quality feel. However, while the dash looks classy and stylish, the controls for the radio and media functions are confusing.

The boot is also disappointingly small at 339 litres, and the sculpted rear bench seat means three people won't be able to sit comfortably. At least there's plenty of head- and legroom, so life in the back is pretty rosy for two.

Should I buy one?
The T6 Polestar is fast, good-looking and impressively equipped, plus it has all the safety kit we've come to expect from a modern Volvo.

However, it's also pretty expensive to buy at 38,050, and it'll cost you a lot to run. Crucially, the T6 Polestar doesn't provide the thrilling driving manners that would justify the cost, and it's much harder to live with than lesser S60s. There are plenty of other sporty executive cars that offer you more fun for less money.

Read the full Volvo S60 review >>

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Mark Pearson