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POLESTAR might sound like the winner of a pole-dancing competition but it is Volvo's performance division which turns an ordinary Volvo into something more exciting.
One example is the Volvo V60 T5 with Polestar Performance Optimisation.
The V60 is a sporty estate and the T5 gets the new two-litre turbocharged Drive-E petrol engine mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission.
Drive-E refers to the drive-efficiency of Volvo's conventional powertrain which was developed inhouse.
On the Volvo V60 T5 with Polestar Optimisation, the engine is remapped with no new hardware. This S$2,200 tuning option raises maximum power by eight hp to 253 hp at the same engine speed. Maximum torque is boosted by a creditable 50 Newton-metres to 400 Nm from 2,000 rpm instead of 1,500 rpm previously.
Together, they marginally improve the zero to 100 kmh acceleration by 0.1 of a second to 6.3 seconds. But there are more significant benefits.
For one, fuel consumption and carbon emissions after the Polestar remap remain unchanged. Under the combined cycle, the T5 still consumes 6.4 km per litre and emits 149 g/km of carbon dioxide.
For another, the T5 feels like a different car.
The previous turbo lag when moving off briskly is gone and the torque is delivered more beefily up the rev range.
This transforms the drive into a smoother experience, especially with the new eight-speeder and the V6 T5 gains more confident performance.
According to Volvo, what Polestar tuning does is optimise mid-range engine performance, throttle and off-throttle response, gearshift speed and accuracy. But if you like, there are also Polestar Performance Parts such as chassis parts, rims and tyres, intake and exhaust.
Add to that the host of Volvo safety features that come standard, like the brilliant City Safety automatic braking, and the V60 T5 becomes an extra-special estate.
Volvo V60 T5 with Polestar Optimisation
Engine: 1,969cc inline-4 turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Max power: 253 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Max torque: 400 Nm @ 2,000-3,500 rpm
0-100 kmh: 6.3 secs
Top speed: 230 kmh
CO2 emissions: 149 g/km
Average OMV: S$28,000
Price: S$166,200 (with COE)
Distributor: Wearnes Automotive