2020 Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered: Hybrid sedan

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By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The Volvo S60 is the Swedish automotive maker’s entry-level compact sedan. It is a performance driven car with bevy of high-tech features as standard, plus the availability of hybrid technology in the form of electric motors and a battery. We tested the tooled up T8 Polestar Engineered (PE) plug-in hybrid (PHEV). A Polestar badged Volvo is akin to the M Performance models from BMW or the AMG Lineup from Mercedes. The Polestar offers the T8 hybrid powertrain that delivers about 50km of gas free electric mileage, before switching over to the gas engine and recharging.  Exterior wise, there are cool looking details such as a black grille front, nice – looking 19 inch lightweight Y spoke wheels, finished off by black exhaust pipes. The S60 PE is a very handsome looking car for sure. There are currently three S60 models: S60 Momentum FWD ($42,400), S60 R-Design ($52,400), Inscription S60 ($53.900), and the Polestar Engineered as tested, priced from $80,800

The T8 model as tested is a plug-in hybrid, with an electric motor mated to the T6 turbocharged and supercharged engine to deliver a thumping 415 hp (328 hp from the gas engine and 87 hp from the hybrid electric motor). An eight speed automatic transmission with All Wheel Drive comprises an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery that drives the rear wheels.  The hybrid powertrain battery is charged via port on the car by either 120 Or 220 volt cable.

The S60 T8 Polestar Engineer also offers an upgraded interior with Nappa leather seating and a 1,100 watt Bowers & Wilkins premium audio with 15 speakers. There are golden yellow seat belts that match the huge upgraded exterior brake calipers. Other performance upgrades on the S60 Polestar include the cool manually adjustable Ohlins shock absorbers and a few exterior Polestar badges.

Volvo’s interior design is a study in precision, craftsmanship and restraint. Embracing minimalism, there is fastidious attention to detail the all-digital dash is cool, and the mesh metal inlay add a touch of class  The large Sensus tablet-like infotainment display in the center of the dash is still a standout in its clarity, use and efficiency. What is also very impressive is the S60’s interior packaging – comfortable seats, plenty of legroom and headroom front and rear. The back seat meanwhile can accommodate 6-footer plus passengers with ease, however trunk space is about adequate.

Safety is high on the Volvo – as to be expected from a company known for building the safest vehicles in the world.  The S60 has lots of airbags, anti-lock disc brakes and traction/stability systems, plus an array of driver safety and assistive technologies.

On the road, the S60, feels rigid and composed thanks to its S90 and XC90 underpinnings. The supercharger and turbo work in unison to a smooth, refined power output. The 0-100 km/h acceleration time comes in a respectable 4.3 seconds, Power delivery comes fast from the mid-range and the driver is rewarded with a nice smooth progression of torque. You can also play with the various performance settings. I liked the taut, athletic ride, it is not too firm or soft and the Volvo exhibited controlled, crisp, handling, and precise linear steering. Body roll is minimal thanks to the light weight and great engineering. In the recent wet weather we had, the All-Wheel Drive provided exceptional road grip, while the suspension proved adept at talking on all manner of road surfaces. The regenerative brakes are not as spongy or vague as some hybrid I have tested – kudos to Volvo for sorting that out. Fuel economy on the highways is rated at 7.0 L/100 km.  The S60 proved to be a fast, satisfying car to drive with a pleasing exhaust note.

The 2020 Volvo S60 T8 PE is a fundamentally delightful car to own and, and is good alternative to the German competition it takes aim at.   Every Volvo is special and the S60 is no exception. The S60 T8 with the Polestar package is really the one to reward yourself with its various upgrades. To sum up, the S60 T8 Polestar shines because of its willing   hybrid powertrain, a premium interior, and all round specification. Let’s not forget Volvo’s no worry reliability and high resale if you ever decide to trade in or up later. The S60 T8 PE is up there with any premium sedan and will charm anyone who steps in behind the wheel. Highly recommended if a rare, jewel – like luxury car is on the list.

2020 Volvo S60 t8 Polestar Engineered: Priced from $80,800. More info at www.volvo.ca