If you’ve never heard of Polestar before, let’s bring you quickly up to speed.
It started out in life as Volvo’s performance car division – a key hit being the short-lived V60 Polestar. Given the firm’s continued alliance with Volvo, you can opt to have its plug-in hybrid models available with a ‘Polestar Engineered’ package – essentially bringing performance tweaks to an otherwise non-sporty model.
And it’s that performance theme that has continued, with Polestar launching in 2017 as its own standalone brand, and its first all-new model is this – the new ‘1’ GT car.
We’ve been in Florence to put it through its paces, but to also understand some of its key features. Here are five of the most interesting features available on it.
1. Longest electric range of any plug-in hybrid
Is there a point in launching a new car and brand if it’s not going to make other manufacturers wake up and take notice? Probably not, which is why Polestar aims to do things a bit differently.
Bizarrely all of its upcoming models, with the exception of this car, will be all-electric, so it’s a bit unusual that this new ‘halo’ car is a plug-in hybrid instead. But it still makes a bang – featuring a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine, along with a pair of electric motors and a huge 34kWh battery. That latter figure is the focus here, as that gives the ‘1’ the longest electric range of any plug-in hybrid – travelling up to 78 miles on electricity.
2. Carbon fibre structure
Another key feature on the Polestar 1 is what it’s made from – carbon-fibre reinforced plastic. It’s not the first car to be made from the material – in fact it’s what its closest rival – the BMW i8 – is constructed from.
It brings a few benefits – the first weight saving, as it is 230kg lighter to be made from the material. It also lowers the centre of gravity in the ‘1’, too, which essentially results in improved handling.
3. Manually-adjustable dampers
While it’s increasingly common for manufacturers to fit their car with electronic dampers, Polestar has gone old-school with the ‘1’, as it’s fitted with manually adjustable ones instead.
They’re produced by Ohlins and can be adjusted at home without the need for it to go into a dealer to have them changed.
4. Batteries on show in the boot
Most manufacturers often scramble to try and hide the electrical underpinnings on their car – unlike an engine when they often like that to be on show. You often see them covered up underneath the boot, but Polestar’s doing things a bit differently and has deliberately left them on show in the boot of the ‘1’.
Blue Polestar 1 tested today – even more stunning than the satin grey one tested yesterday. pic.twitter.com/I5bqhSAa8E
— Ted Welford (@TedWelford) November 22, 2019
It’s a cool touch and gives the ‘1’ a particularly futuristic feel.
5. Looks exactly like a concept car
The Polestar 1’s entire inspiration is a 2013 show car – the Volvo Concept Coupe, which was a dramatic-looking model previewing a new platform that would be used in future Volvos, as well as a new styling language.
But there’s yet to be a new road car that exactly replicates that concept car. Until now. It’s remarkable how close the ‘1’ looks to that concept, with the carbon-fibre structure allowing for even more freedom to create the model exactly how the designers envisaged.