POLESTAR 2

SWEDES ASK ĎTESLA WHO?í

TIM POLLARD

FIRST OVERSEAS DRIVE

SO HERE IT is: one of most eagerly awaited electric cars of year. After the hors díoeuvre of the Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid coupe, this is the main course that will properly launch the new company from Sweden into the mainstream.

Itís hard not to compare the Polestar 2 to the Tesla Model 3. In price, footprint and concept, they are remarkably similar bedfellows, and this segment will soon be buzzing with all-electric rivals from Germanyís premium manufacturers.

Itís a decent package, too. At 4.6m long, this soberly styled five-door fastback is roughly the same size as a 3 Series and is built on the same Geely group CMA architecture that also begat the Volvo XC40. It offers easy access to the back seats (just watch out for a large Ďtransmission tunnelí making this effectively a four-seater),†and a large tailgate lifts to reveal a decent 364-litre boot.

Settle in and youíll be at once familiar with the Scandi chic and Volvo overtones, yet surprised by the sheer modernity and freshness of the design. Choice of materials and quality are top-notch, and yes, youíll spot a few tell-tale shared parts with Volvo (steering wheel controls, window switches) but Polestar has struck its own interior vibe. And in a bold move, Polestar is premiering the worldís first Google Android operating system for its infotainment, which helps clear the way for a very minimalist cabin. Sound familiar, Tesla?

The biggest interior gripe is a terrible over-the-shoulder view, thanks to that letterbox rear window, but standard 360-degree cameras and three well-positioned, frameless mirrors mean itís never a huge issue.

Powertrain-wise, the Polestar 2 uses†a 78kWh battery pack positioned along the spine of the car (hence no flat floor) and boasts a WLTP combined range of 500km, which sees it compare well with the Tesla Model 3.

Poke the accelerator and itís immediately obvious this is a very fast car. Itíll hit 0-100km/h in 4.7sec and thereís instant, pinned-back-inseat acceleration from the two 150kW motors (one on each axle for all-wheel drive). Thatís a combined total output of 300kW, and together with a brutal 660Nm, thereís thrilling, fast and feisty shove available at all speeds. Itís all highly repeatable, too.

A combination of all-wheel drive and clever energy management means youíre never left wishing for better traction, either. The Polestar 2 is as much fun on a B-road blast as it is refined and serene on the highway.†This duality of purpose defines the carís character.

The ride on optional 20-inch wheels; is mostly well judged, but it can feel sudden over sharp bumps. The regular 19s will be a better bet if you value comfort over cool.

Polestar hasnít gone overboard with digital settings: you can adjust the weight of the steering (Light, Normal, Sport) and turn Creep on or off, but thatís it. The steering lacks feel and the Sport setting is artificially heavy, but you quickly adapt. It feels more planted and grown-up than the hyperpointy Tesla Model 3.

So the new Polestar 2 is quite an achievement. It beats the Tesla Model 3 on quality, and it will be a more exclusive, intelligent purchase when it arrives in Australia next year.

TIM POLLARD

Model Polestar 2

Motor Dual (front + rear axle)

Battery 78kWh lithium-ion

Max power 300kW @ 0rpm

Max torque 660Nm @ 0rpm

Transmission Single-speed reduction gear

Weight 2123kg

0-100km/h 4.7sec (claimed)

Economy 15.6kWh/100km

Price $90,000 (estimated)

On sale 2021

PLUS

Beautiful cabin; stonking pace; handling; exclusivity

MINUS

Local price and arrival timing yet to be confirmed; ride on 20s

Local spec

HOW AUSSIE CARS COULD SHAPE UP

Volvo is still finalising the Polestar 2ís Aussie business case, though itís all but confirmed to hit our shores next year. Expect our cars to arrive as a single, highly specced variant that includes elements of the optional ĎPerformance Packí as standard. That means 20in wheels, bigger Brembos and adjustable Ohlins dampers. It wonít be cheap; our estimate is in the $80-90K bracket.