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Thursday 24th January 2013

Chris Harris video: fast Volvos

A £200K, 508hp Volvo? To go head to head with AMG's finest? Harris investigates...



I always thought the concept of the fast Volvo was a very clever exercise in market placement. Here was a brand which occupied a strange space above the European mainstream makes, and yet never quite reached the heights of the costly German luxury names.

Perfect conditions to test a £200K special
Perfect conditions to test a £200K special
So whoever it was in Gothenburg that identified this territory and said "I know what, we could make fast cars that are a bit cheaper than fast German cars" deserves a Swedish knighthood, because those 850 T5s were definitive machines. Low key, at least initially, and effortlessly fast. Plod couldn't buy enough of them.

More recently Volvo lost its mojo. It had no response to the ever-faster Germans and fell back on the more austere aspects of its image. That might be about to change though. For the past few years it has been toying with a sub-brand called Polestar. This is currently an independent race team, albeit one which runs a works Volvo race programme, and it has been playing around with some street cars.

One of them is an S60 with 508hp.

Normally these things are concept cars, but Polestar is selling a tiny batch - around six I think - to people who simply must have a very fast, very blue Volvo S60. The price is around £200,000, which might just be palatable were we inflation adjusting it to be sold new in 2047.

Essential benchmark testing against C63
Essential benchmark testing against C63
The weather was not great for this shoot, but I did get a decent feel for the car a few times and, as you'll see when we insert a C63 for comparative purposes at the end, it's quite quick. How this macro-volume special drives isn't the important point here - instead it asks us whether Volvo's current range of cars can support a new generation of loopy-fast models. And I'll attempt to answer that in the video.

The appearance of a Haldex 4WD system isn't the ideal basis for an M3 rival, but you have to admit that the basic S60 shape is so good, with more aggressive tracks and ride height, it looks like it could strangle a C63 with one hand.

But should Volvo proceed with the Polestar sub-brand, the key will be in the positioning, just as it was in the 90s. The cars would have to offer something very special for less than the equivalent Germans. Anyhow, it's great to see another manufacturer realise that fast cars remain an excellent marketing tool.

If anyone cracks a gag about the Oxo tower, it's a red card.

Enjoy the vid.

 


Chris Harris
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Author Discussion

Stew2000

Original Poster:

2,763 posts

62 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
It's not the best "review". Others will explain..

Vilhelm

406 posts

33 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
This car is refreshing, compared to it's obvious rivals. It even has better styling than them, IMO. I hope they go ahead with these Polestar road car shenanigans.

DanielSan

8,647 posts

51 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I want one. It looks fantastic, sounds awesome and goes like the clappers. Brilliant.

wa1sh99

27 posts

29 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I really hope Volvo put this into production. Epic exhaust note

Funkstar De Luxe

100 posts

67 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Neither car does anything for me, and even I know that this won't save Volvo now. I do like the Rolex though...
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td5jim

5 posts

58 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Very pleased to see Volvo are tinkering with real performance again. I would certainly choose it over the German competition.

iaincb1

673 posts

33 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
That Volvo looks and sounds great.


Stew2000 said:
It's not the best "review". Others will explain..
Correct and explained in the video, but a good watch none the less.



Close call for the Merc at 5:10 too eek

Stedman

5,633 posts

76 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Fantastic review. Fantastic noise from the Ovlov.

Someone needs to put some battenburg reflective tape on it though biggrin

And yes, the Rolex looked good wink

Shambler

376 posts

28 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
looks great, sounds immense

Charlie Foxtrot

2,899 posts

99 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
iaincb1 said:
Close call for the Merc at 5:10 too eek
It definitly ran out of road didn't it. I wonder, do you think he ever gets tired of all that oversteer?

On topic, I remember when I were a lad my parents had a proper T-5R. It was smegging fast and was always entertaining the way it surprised many other drivers with it's turn of speed. I want one for myself now.

HorneyMX5

1,728 posts

34 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Volvo wins hands down for me. Better looking car from every angle on top of the epic performance. I hope they make a production version of this car. It won't be a huge seller but an epic Halo model that will do wonders for their image.

Nick

rottie102

3,127 posts

68 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
That's not a fast VOLVO!

THIS is a fast VOLVO smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedd...

The Obeast

94 posts

28 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
rottie102 said:
That's not a fast VOLVO!

THIS is a fast VOLVO smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedd...
Holy Crap!!

What was that ovlov packing?

On topic love the S60. I may be in the minority but I think that colour is stunning, especially when you see the sunlight hit it in the video

Hoygo

724 posts

45 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Nice car but not even close to 200k worth.

Jimbo.

2,868 posts

73 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Straight 6, non?

_Batty_

12,191 posts

134 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
'This' is a Volvo with boost hehe
http://youtu.be/5xCpsuUT8AU

em177

1,641 posts

48 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Hoygo said:
Nice car but not even close to 200k worth.
I think you've missed the point.....

Allyc85

4,809 posts

70 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Dear Volvo,

just make it!

Many thanks,

Alastair.

coogy

874 posts

95 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Thats a surprisingly handsome car and evidently, bloody quick. I'm loving the exhaust crackle too! cool

zeduffman

708 posts

35 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I hate cars like these. It's absolutely awesome, but you already know that any production equivalent will have 60% of the horsepower at best and just won't be the same beast.
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