When it comes to practical performance cars, there are quite a few companies and brands that have a better association with that type of motor than others. BMW is probably the genre definer with its class leading ‘M cars’, along with the AMG branded Benz range and the current crop of Renaultsport products.
Volvo, though, isn’t a company you’d expect to have an impact on, or even have aspirations to, enter that realm. Sure, they’ve had a go before with the 850R (which also became the first estate to enter the field of touring car racing), but we usually see the Swedish company as a pioneer of safety equipment, and not as a maker of performance cars.
All that is changing, however. The firm’s racing division, ‘Polestar’, is intent on having a stab at tweaking the parent company’s cars into genuine and credible tarmac eaters. They’ve shown what they can do with the C30 Polestar concept, which went down a treat with the critics, and now they’re set on making an M3 rival.
It’s come to the media’s attention that the Polestar engineers are hard at work transforming the swoopy S60 saloon into a machine that can compete with Audi RS5s and Lexus IS-Fs. Heavily camouflaged development mules have been snapped being put through the paces in presumably rigorous test sessions, and it’s claimed that we should see a production-ready version in the near future.
Given it’s only just been announced, it’s not too surprising to hear that there aren’t that many details about it – all we know is that, given its place in the market, it’ll almost certainly be a rival for the upcoming BMW M3. That said, there are rumours that it’ll use a tweaked version of the 4.4 V8 that’s currently being used in the XC90 SUV and, perhaps more crucially, the British-built Noble M600 supercar.
Of course, don’t go expecting it to have the full 650bhp that the Brit has on tap, as such power will most likely just rip the car’s gearbox and drivetrain to pieces. But do expect whatever the Volvo has under the bonnet to pack a serious punch – current rivals, after all, have about 450hp to play with, so the claims that it’ll have about 500 or so aren’t too unbelievable and impossible to justify.
Still, it’ll be interesting to see how all of this plays out. Polestar has plenty of technical expertise when it comes to making Volvos into fully-fledged speed demons – the team has, after all, won the Swedish Touring Car Championship three times, and it’s conveniently fielding a race-prepped S60 in the brand new TTA ‘Racing Elite League’ – and the 2010 C30 Polestar concept showed that it could engineer a credible road legal performance Volvo.
Whether or not it’ll be something for the M Division and the AMG crew to worry about is anyone’s guess at the moment. However, it’ll be wrong to assume the competition will walk right over the future S60 flagship. On the contrary, the Swedes have the potential to build us a genuine world beater.
If that’s what ends up happening, remember this: you read it here first!