Two of our favorite Volvos, the S60 and V60 Polestar, are getting a heart transplant. Gone is the old turbocharged six-cylinder, replaced by a high-output version of the turbo- and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder from Volvo’s Drive-E family of engines. While we’ll miss the distinctive growl of Volvo’s inline-six, the addition of the new Drive-E four-cylinder looks like good news across the board.
For starters, it has more power: 362 horsepower compared to the six’s 345. Torque output is down, however, with the four-cylinder making 347 lb-ft versus the six-cylinder’s 369, but Volvo claims that the new Polestars are quicker than their predecessors. (A 2015 S60 Polestar went from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds in our tests.) With fewer cylinders to feed and a new eight-speed automatic transmission replacing the previous six-speed, Volvo also says fuel economy is improved, although we don’t have any EPA numbers.
Dropping the newer four-cylinder into the S60 sedan and V60 wagon also reduced weight by 44 pounds overall. The Polestars remain all-wheel drive, but the system is tweaked slightly to shift torque to the rear wheels more quickly than before. Other changes include retuned steering, different brake discs, and new 20-inch wheels.
Polestar models have always been a fairly exclusive proposition, especially in the U.S. Just 120 Polestar cars came to the U.S. initially, while a second production run for 2016 brought 274 additional units for our shores. We might get even more cars now, as Volvo is doubling total global annual production numbers from 750 to 1500. But with Volvo also planning to sell Polestars in 34 additional worldwide markets, we’ll get only “a few hundred.”