Volvo V60 Polestar review (2014-2016) - can a Volvo estate really be exciting? - Engine and gearbox

Rare and rapid, the Volvo V60 Polestar is a fine alternative to German performance machines

Evo rating
Price
from £49,665
  • Subtle, well-executed performance car
  • Engine lacks charisma, plays it a little too safe

Out goes the old 3-litre, turbocharged inline-six cylinder - a unit cribbed from the old T6 but significantly upgraded with a new turbocharger, bigger intercooler, ECU tuning and freer-flowing exhaust. In comes a 2-litre four-cylinder that's surprisingly close mechanically to the 2-litre unit used by Volvo in its touring car programs.

Drive-E badging isn't promising, but the four-pot develops a walloping 181bhp per litre, courtesy of both turbocharging and supercharging. Maximum power of 362bhp (up from 345bhp in the old car) is developed at 6000rpm. While the smaller engine does develop less torque than the six, 347lb ft between 3100-5100rpm is still a respectable figure given the car has now shed some of the weight it previously carried.

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At the same time, the slightly clunky six-speed auto has made way for a new eight-speed auto - a good move, considering the new 'box is both smoother and quicker than the old (which in evo's hands seemed to struggle in harder use).

There's a Borg Warner four wheel drive system allocating power to each wheel. The on-paper numbers aren't as promising as some, as the setup allows a maximum of only 50 per cent of the engine's torque to be sent to the rear wheels - the recently-introduced Mercedes-AMG C43 sends up to 69 per cent of its torque to the rear wheels.

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