Polestar is offering a rear-wheel-drive mod to AWD Volvos | CAR Magazine

Polestar is offering a rear-wheel-drive mod to AWD Volvos

Published: 15 August 2018

► Tesla-style software update
► 90-series, 60-series and XC40 AWD models

► No word on price

Polestar has revealed a new tuning modification that should Volvo’s equipped with all-wheel-drive a little sportier. However, rather than a mechanical modification, the new upgrade is a Tesla style software update.

Interestingly, the software update applies to any Volvo AWD car, with hybrids such as the T8 and T6 already fitted with the feature.

Polestar says the software will increase the amount of torque channeled to the rear axle, and more often – so you’ll get a more rear-wheel-drive feel to your AWD Volvo. That means better turn-in, more engaged rear-biased driving and a more agile interest.

‘We are always fine-tuning the driving experience of Volvo cars,’ said ‘Henrik Green, senior vice president of R&D at Volvo Cars. ‘This upgrade makes the all-wheel drive both smoother and more dynamic.’

Volvo says the new mode will slot neatly into the existing Dynamic mode, and will work alongside sharper throttle response, gear-changes and and engine output.

The upgrade is available from this month for 90-series, 60-series and XC40 models, though Volvo hasn’t said how much it’ll cost – if anything. 

Everything else you need to know

Polestar may now be a manufacturer in its own right, but it’s teaming up with Volvo for a new range of high-performance parts. Called Polestar Engineered, and designed specifically for Volvo’s new 60 series T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrids, the new parts are essentially Gothenburg’s answer to BMW’s M-Sport line or Mercedes’ AMG-line.

Polestar Engineered parts will be available for the imminent new S60 first, and then the V60 and XC60 next year.

The Polestar Engineered packages transforms wheels, brakes, suspension and the car’s engine ECU. Polestar stoppers features golden-painted calipers – which will be a signature for the package, while black-chrome exhaust pipes and golden seatbelts will also become a staple of the new range.

V60 Polestar Engineered already spotted?

The S60 T8 Polestar Engineered will also feature a multi-link front and rear suspension, and takes its strut-bar and shock-absorber design directly from the Polestar 1 flagship. As you’d expect, the engine also gets a boost; an ECU tweaking brings power output from 385bhp to 409bhp. Torque is up too, from 472 ft lb to 494 ft lb. Volvo says fuel efficiency is up too, but not by how much. 

The figures mentioned here are US ones, so they could increase by the time the car makes it to the UK.

A return to the super-fast estate?

If you’re already in the market for something like a Mercedes-AMG C43 or Audi S4, you’ll soon have another choice on your hands. And because the Polestar Engineered packages are only available on T8 hybrid-engined cars – it’s a unique choice, too.

The S60 might be the first car to get the Polestar Engineered package, but the V60 is the model we’re most keen on seeing. The 850 T5 and later the T5 R began Volvo’s reputation for delivering obscene fast-estates, and hopefully Polestar Engineered will help the V60 rekindle it. 

In fact, it’s possible we’ve already spotted the V60 Polestar Engineering T8, check out our spy shots here.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes