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 depress the accelerator you take off with an immediacy that no petrol or diesel car 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.
Unfortunately, while the Polestar 2's weight is disguised well in a straight line, it’s more noticeable in corners. When you turn in, you really feel the body lean over onto the outside wheels, and it doesn’t help that the steering is numb, no matter which of the three weight settings you select. The Model 3's steering is far more alert and the car feels more agile and grippy. That said, 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. With the Performance Pack fitted you get fancy suspension that rides potholes without crashing and settles quickly after undulations or speed bumps. However, 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.
The suspension is manually adjustable, which means you can change the settings to suit your needs, but you'll have to ask your dealer to make the changes unless you're handy with a wrench. If you want the best comfort, ask them to adjust it to 18 clicks at the front and 20 at the rear (they'll know what that means), but even then the Model 3 is more controlled and comfortable overall, though.
The Tesla is more refined, too. You can hear the Polestar 2’s suspension 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. Essentially, 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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