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Polestar 1

POLE CHANCER (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Can any Volvo-engineered product ever really be worth Aston Martin money? The Polestar 1 sets out to be. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 67

The Polestar 1 is a premium GT coupe for the Bentley Continental GT and Aston DB11 set that instead of throaty V8 or V12 power delivers the ultimate in plug-in hybrid technology. It can go further and faster than any plug-in hybrid has gone before, plus it's astonishingly fast, very exclusive, exquisitely finished and extremely rare. Did you ever think a Volvo-derived design could be this exotic?

Backgroundword count: 117

There'll never be another car quite like the Polestar 1. There'll never be another Polestar model like it either because all future models from the brand will be fully electric and this is a plug-in hybrid. The world's most sophisticated plug-in hybrid as it happens. Only 1,500 Polestar 1 models were ever built at Polestar's plant in Chengdu, China, all of them in left hand drive form, to be sold in only nine countries across the globe, including the UK where this GT-style luxury coupe is rarer than hen's teeth. There's hand-crafted carbonfibre bodywork and the 609hp 4x4 drivetrain has two power sources and three electric motors. A car, in short, that's something of a collectors' item.

Driving Experienceword count: 362

Talk about drivetrain complexity. There's an awful lot going on here. You might be disappointed to pay Aston Martin money and get the four cylinder 2.0-litre engine fitted here, but this one is both turbocharged and supercharged. And, so that there's independent drive for the rear wheels as well as those at the front, this powerplant's aided by a pair of active torque vectoring 85kW electric motors fitted to the rear axle, one for each wheel. Yet another motor - acting as a starter/generator - sits between the engine and the car's 8-speed auto gearbox. And powering the three electric motors are two large batteries, one over the rear axle and the other in the transmission tunnel, all of which helps to explain this model's substantial 2,350kg kerb weight. You'd want plenty of power to haul all that bulk about: how does 609hp and 1,000Nm of torque sound? That's good enough to get you to 62mph in just 4.2s en route to 155mph. So you'll need the huge steel Akebono brakes (as used on the McLaren P1). There's a choice of five powertrain settings, the default one being 'Hybrid', which prioritises electric propulsion unless you really do need all-out acceleration (in which case the car switches into the alternative 'Power' mode). The other options are 'Pure' (full-electric) and 'All Wheel Drive', plus there's an 'Individual' screen to allow you to set your preferred drive set-up. You can't adjust damping as part of that - not from inside the cabin anyway. This car has race-style manually-adjustable Dual Flow Valve Ohlins dampers that are formatted with a choice of 22 options to deliver suspension feel to suit your exact preference. Get it all right and you'll enjoy a simply astonishing level of twisty B-road agility. With rapid direction changes you simply wouldn't expect from a car of this size and weight. All of which, here in Blightly, helps compensate for the fact that Polestar production limitations mean that you're seated on the wrong side of the car. Something else you certainly wouldn't expect from a PHEV is a 77 mile all-electric driving range, but that's what the Polestar 1's large 34kWh battery gives you.

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Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen

Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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