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Volvo planning XC90 Polestar

Power boost: Volvo is set to inject some excitement to its second-generation XC90 line-up with a Polestar version under development now.

High-riding hi-po Polestar Volvo XC90 SUV on the cards

Volvo logo19 Feb 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

A POLESTAR version of Volvo’s all-new XC90 seven-seat SUV has been all but confirmed, with the Swedish car-maker committing to a go-fast version despite its shift away from six- and eight-cylinder engines.

Volvo’s powertrain strategy under its Drive-E family of fuel-efficient engines means the car-maker is axing any engine with more than four cylinders, including its five-cylinder.

The XC90 is a four-pot only model, with engines ranging from the twin-turbo 165kW/470Nm 2.0-litre D5 diesel, turbocharged and supercharged 235kW/400Nm T6 petrol and most potent, the T8 plug-in hybrid with a combined output of 294kW/640Nm.

Volvo Car Group product manager Lars Lagstrom told Australian journalists at the XC90 launch in Spain this week that more performance-oriented variants of the SUV beyond the range-topping T8 would appear down the track.

“Yes, of course we will have more, because I don’t think the development of engines will stand still,” he said.

“It hasn’t done so far. There will be more power in the cars to come.”

Mr Lagstrom said this could include Polestar versions that could draw on these more powerful four-cylinder engines.

“There is certainly Polestar opportunities as well, but time will tell,” he said. “We have shown that we can, in a four-cylinder engine, have 450hp (335kW).”

Volvo’s vice-president of powertrain Michael Fleiss told British publication Auto Express last week that the XC90 Polestar was already in development, but suggested it may not be as powerful as the T8.

“Our colleagues at Polestar are already looking at the car,” he told the publication. “But Polestar models will sit somewhere between the T6 and T8 [plug-in hybrid] on power.”

Volvo Car Australia marketing communications director Oliver Peagam said that if an XC90 Polestar came to fruition, the company would be keen to see it in the line-up Down Under.

“Given our involvement with Polestar and its relative success in Australia, we would certainly put our hands up to look at a business case,” he said.

An XC90 Polestar could be a rival for spritely versions of the BMW X5, such as the xDrive50i, or the Mercedes-Benz ML500.

The Polestar performance sub-brand first appeared on the S60 sedan in mid-2013 and was developed as a pilot program in conjunction with Volvo Car Australia before being rolled out to other global markets.

Since then, it has returned with the updated S60 in late 2013, with the V60 wagon arriving in October 2014 as a rival to the likes of the Audi S4 Avant.

Speculation is rife that that Volvo is working on a Polestar V40 small hatch, but it is yet to be seen, while performance-honed variants of the next-gen XC60 SUV and S60/V60 mid-sizers are also possible.

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