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Volvo’s six-cylinder Polestar gets the chop

Gone for now: The petrol Volvo S60 Polestar has been discontinued, but ultimately will return with an even more powerful plug-in petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.

Polestar goes into hiatus as Volvo cranks up new-generation Polestar hybrid

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Volvo logo4 Feb 2016

By RON HAMMERTON

VOLVO Car Australia has quietly retired its six-cylinder turbo S60 sedan and V60 Polestar wagon performance flagship twins as it awaits the arrival of new-generation plug-in petrol-electric hybrid Polestar excitement machines, some time in the future.

The three-year-old six-cylinder Polestar S60 and its V60 sibling are among six mid-sized variants culled from the revised range in a 2016 model update.

Although details of the refreshed range are still sketchy, we know the company has slashed the price of some remaining S60/V60 diesel variants by up to $5315 in an effort to re-energise the model that accounted for 1000 sales or just 2.0 per cent of the medium luxury car segment last year.

Volvo is on record as saying its new Polestar models will get electrification to aid performance as part of its shift away from large petrol engines to hybrid and full electric models.

GoAuto understands the Polestar petrol-electric power unit is a development of Volvo’s new hybrid powertrain that is set to debut in Australia in the new plug-in XC90 T8 Hybrid about June or July this year.

In that guise, the powertrain combines a 235kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine – blown by both supercharger and turbocharger – with a 65kW electric motor for 300kW of power and 640Nm of torque to speed the big SUV from zero to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds while sipping just 2.1 litres of petrol per 100km.

It drives the front wheels via an Aisin-Warner eight-speed automatic gearbox. The electric motor drives the rear wheels. In all-electric mode, the XC90 can cover 43km on battery power alone.

A similar - if not identical - hybrid powertrain will be dropped into the S60 e-Drive that is due in Australia before the end of the year.

A some point, the Polestar version of that powertrain now being perfected by Polestar Performance in Sweden can be expected to get considerably more power and torque to rival, and probably exceed, the likes of BMW’s 317kW/550Nm M3.

This output would shame the now-discontinued S60/V60 Polestar variants that develop 257kW/500Nm from the 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder.

The current S60 Polestar AWD sedan was developed at the instigation of Volvo Car Australia. It made its debut here in mid-2013, with the wagon version following in October 2014.

Originally priced at $109,950 plus on-road costs, the company later hacked $10k out of the price to try to increase its appeal.

Although a breakdown of sales by variant is not available, Polestar sales appear to have been meagre, despite promotion though an expensive V8 Supercar racing campaign in Australia.

That racing involvement via Melbourne-based Garry Rogers Motorsport looks to be on shaky ground, with Volvo executives telling Australian journalists at the Detroit motor show that they believe the program could have one more year to run.

The move to electrification at Polestar appears out of sync with the big 5.0-litre V8 racing category, even though rules are set to change to allow smaller engines under the upcoming Gen2 rule changes.

Meanwhile, Volvo has sliced its current S60 and V60 line-up by not only deleting the two Polestar vehicles but also the S60 and V60 T6 AWD R-Design and entry-level V60 T5 Kinetic and D4 Kinetic.

However, the company has added a new variant to the V60 side – the Cross Country D5 Luxury AWD wagon – at $63,375.

In all, the S60 line-up now comprises six variants, starting with the $49,990 (plus on-road costs) 1.6-litre petrol T4 Kinetic and topping out with the $62,990 2.0-litre T5 R-Design.

The revised V60 line-up kicks off at the Luxury level, in diesel D4 at $57,695 and petrol T5 from $59,990, and tops out with the $63,990 T5 R-Design.

While the base S60 T4 Kinetic price remains unchanged, Volvo has slashed $1000 from the price of petrol variants and between $5205 and $5315 from diesel vehicles.

Other changes and updates to the S60/V60 range are yet to be spelled out.

2016 Volvo S60 pricing*
T4 Kinetic (a) $49,990
T4 Luxury (a) $54,990
T5 Luxury (a) $58,990
T5 R-Design (a) $62,990
D4 Kinetic (a) $51,675
D4 Luxury (a) $56,675
*Excludes on-road costs 2016 Volvo V60 pricing*
T5 Luxury (a) $59,990
T5 R-Design (a) $63,990
D4 Luxury (a) $57,695
Cross Country D5 Luxury AWD (a) $63,375
*Excludes on-road costs

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