Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The Polestar 2 has a 78kWh battery that powers two electric motors – one on the front axle and one on the rear – to make it four-wheel drive. Together, those motors produce 402bhp and 487lb ft of torque, which is more than you get in the Long Range version of the Tesla Model 3.
The Model 3 Performance, though, has even more welly. When we tested that car, it hit 0-60mph in a frankly ridiculous time of 3.3sec, but, while the Polestar's official 0-62mph time of 4.7sec is a way off that, it's still mightily quick by any conventional standards. Thrillingly so, in fact.
As with all electric cars, when you press the accelerator, you take off with an immediacy that no petrol or diesel vehicle can match. And this is all the more impressive in the Polestar 2, given that it tips the scales at 2123kg – some 300kg more than the Model 3 weighs, and almost as much as a Range Rover.
What’s more, it’s not just off the line that the Polestar 2 feels rapid. Even at motorway speeds – where the performance of some cheaper electric cars really tails off – there’s plenty of gusto left to make quick work of overtaking.
At the moment, there’s only one Polestar 2 model available. So your only choice is whether to buy one with or without the Performance Pack. This adds special Ohlins dampers that are manually adjustable, which means you can change the suspension settings to suit your needs, but you'll have to ask your dealer to make the changes unless you're handy with a spanner.
With that clever suspension option, the Polestar 2’s weight is well disguised around corners. When you turn in, it feels taught and secure. And while there is more body lean than in a Model 3, it’s controlled and measured.
The same, however, can’t be said for the standard car. Granted, if you drive it in a relaxed manner – as most people surely will – it handles perfectly adequately, but start to pile on the speed and you really feel the body lean over onto the outside wheels, and there’s quite a bit of float over undulations, too. It also doesn’t help that the steering is numb, no matter which of the three weight settings you select. By comparison, a Model 3's steering is far more alert and the car feels more agile and grippy. And if you're a keen driver looking for more than just grip and grunt, the balance and poise of the BMW 3 Series should not be ignored.
Ride comfort is a mixed bag in the Polestar 2. The standard car is smooth and settled at motorway speeds until it encounters a pothole or an expansion joint. Such sharp abrasions elicit a harsh jolt. It is, however, more comfortable more of the time than the Performance Pack car. Indeed, even if you have your Polestar dealer soften off the suspension (we recommend 18 clicks at the front and 20 at the rear – they'll know what that means) it's not exactly soft, so it tends to follow the ups and downs of the road – even the smallest of imperfections – especially at town speeds. A Model 3 is certainly more controlled and comfortable.
The Tesla is more refined, too. You can hear the Polestar 2’s suspension (particularly in the Performance Pack car) clanging away and there’s quite a bit of road roar at motorway speeds. Wind noise is pretty hushed, though, and the motor is quiet and largely free of any whine.
That makes town driving seriously relaxing, aided by the inclusion of a one-pedal driving mode. This means that the Polestar 2’s regenerative brakes, which feed energy back into the battery whenever you lift off the accelerator, slow the car to such an extent that you don’t often need to touch the brake pedal at all, unless for an emergency stop.
You can switch this mode off if you prefer and use the brakes as normal, but the pedal is really wooden. It's effective at stopping you from high speed, but its dead-weight feel makes it quite difficult to gauge the correct pressure to apply to do so smoothly.
As for the crucial matter of range, the 292 miles that the Polestar 2 managed in the official WLTP test matches what the more expensive Jaguar I-Pace achieved. The Model 3’s official range is 329 miles, though, and from our experience so far we very much doubt the Polestar 2 will beat its Real Range figure of 239 miles. We'll let you know for definite once we've tested it.
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