Five First Impressions: 2016 Volvo S60 Polestar

Volvos are like labradors and the Volvo Polestar models are like silly blue labradors.

The last remaining volume Swedish car brand has been busily rolling out new models and new ideas for electrification and Millennial attractions – and pretty successfully based on models like the new XC90 and the 40-series concept cars.

In the meantime, however, one of the boldest moves has been to go in with the Polestar performance tuners and release the happy, slobbering Scandinavian muscle car we didn’t even know we needed. We’re taking a look at the 2016 Volvo S60 Polestar, spending some time with the last of the six-cylinder Volvos as well as examining the current state of the S60 as it rivals other luxury-ish sedans. Here are some initial impressions.

Attention, please
Of course this thing attracts attention, Rebel Blue is the most amazing color ever for a Volvo. But then you turn it on. The tuned turbo six rumbles in a faint American V8 kind of way, completely out of character and beguiling at the same time. Shift the transmission into Sport, however, and the Polestar barks back.

Launch control
This is a Volvo with launch control. It takes about five seconds for that to sink in, which is technically longer than it takes the Polestar to get from a stop to 60 mph. All while it’s growing and barking back like a lab to a FedEx employee, there is an old-school throbbing feeling coming from the turbo before things really get shifting. Those with fond memories of 1980s turbo technology will get a laugh out of the Polestar.

I’m sure the 2017 models with the new four-cylinder are technically better, but this old six is my new best friend.

Some things never change
In fact, the whole experience is reminiscent of a muscle car’s, with lots of action happening under the hood, but a supremely comfortable environment inside. The seats are crazy comfortable and it’s mostly tire noise you hear at cruising speed. As a driver, you can sort of melt into the Polestar when you want to.


A photo posted by Zac Estrada (@zacestrada)” style=”font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px;”>Jul 8, 2015 at 12:49pm PDT

‘A little less conversation and a little more touch my body’
Once stopped in traffic, however, people will stare back at the Polestar. Among all of the Ms, AMGs and Vs, the Volvo stands out by being the surprisingly jock-ish nerd of the class. What was once a somewhat oddly proportioned thing, the S60 has been touched up enough to look pretty nice among what’s a rather conservative class. But the Polestar additions – spoilers, skirts and fat 20-inch wheels with fatter brakes – take an already handsome car to this new level of hotness.

People just want to touch it and it’s not even the V60 version.

A wolf in Smurfs clothing
There are flaws, namely the jittery ride, weird packaging of an aging car, odd tech choices of an aging car and the fact $60,000 buys you the just-as-fast BMW 340i. I’m currently infatuated with the Polestar, but will it last?

And what else about it would you like to know? Sound off in the comments

Photos: Zac Estrada/Carscoops


  • Dennis James

    It’s a Volvo with 350hp/500 Nm/AWD…can’t be bad.

  • javier

    kind of nice looking but i would like a v40 awd polestar in any different color

  • dkjanfdskla

    i love u more than i thought possible for including ariana grande lyrics into this, thank u

  • Bo Hanan

    Polestar means nothing to everybody except hardcore Volvo fans. That’s a problem for Volvo.
    Volvo also needs to realize that color is horrible and they should explore the rest of the color-wheel.

    • john1168

      I agree that only enthusiasts will recognize the Polestar name. If they advertised that a bit more (or at all) that might pull in some more people into the dealerships. As for the color, I’m willing to bet money that they have other colors available.

    • I’ll note here you can also have a Polestar in white, black or silver if for some inexplicable reason you don’t find humor in owning a bright blue Volvo.

  • john1168

    Very nice car. It is getting old though. Does it still have the 6 speed auto??? I’m guessing yes…

    • Yes, all Volvos with more than four cylinders still have the six-speed.

  • Brunot

    I own the S60 R design and can’t imagine needing to spend an extra $15,000 to have fun driving an S60. Power enhancements are marginal, the ride is degraded from an already just so-so one, and with a $300 IPD rear anti-sway bar you have a perfectly flat handling, grippy S60 that, if you can find one, can be had with discounts now for the low $40’s. My only regret is not getting the V60 version.

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