2020 Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered first drive review: Almost Super Trouper

    Volvo’s second-generation XC60 has earned its bones as one of many trade’s most well-rounded compact luxurious SUVs since approaching the scene for the 2018 mannequin yr. It’s turn out to be Volvo’s best-selling mannequin globally on the energy of its sculpted seems, subtle and well-appointed inside, beneficiant cargo area and full complement of superior security gear. Practical and premium, the XC60 has additionally been a strong driver, although it is by no means fairly managed to set our synapses alight. Evidently eager to seize that extra visceral a part of our psyche, the corporate’s white coats have give you this new-for-2020 Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered.If you do not have your Clumsy Name Decoder Ring helpful, know that you are looking at a high-performance plug-in hybrid model of Volvo’s middle-child crossover SUV. Easier to identify on the road by its showy gold brake calipers than its gloss-black trim and delicate Polestar badging, this already handsome utility has been made much more so because of good-looking 21-inch Y-spoke alloys (which do a superb job of displaying off these bullion-colored Akebonos) and black chrome exhaust finishers. (My check automobile was specified with inch-larger wheels and matching 265/35R22 Pirelli P Zero rubber, an choice field in all probability greatest left unchecked to make sure higher trip high quality and decrease general weight.)
    Triple energy play Under the hood, you will discover a specifically tuned model of Volvo’s T8 Twin-Engine PHEV powertrain. No, “Twin-Engine” doesn’t suggest you will discover an additional set of cylinders firing away beneath the cargo hatch, amusing as that concept sounds. In this case, “Twin Engine” means two varieties of pressured induction are being utilized to Volvo’s ubiquitous 2.0-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine. Turbocharged and supercharged, this engine whips up 318 horsepower 317 pound-feet of torque by its lonesome, but it surely’s additionally backed by a two-motor hybrid system (one powering the rear axle and the opposite tied to the eight-speed computerized transaxle). For higher or worse, that is about as difficult a powertrain as you will discover in a contemporary vehicle.  Fortunately, as I discovered spearing the XC60 PE by way of Banff, Alberta’s stunningly mountainous surroundings, all of these techniques do not simply speak to one another, they’re truly on fairly good phrases. Like Voltron, the three energy adders come collectively to be greater than the sum of their components, delivering a strong 415 horsepower and 494 pound-feet to all 4 corners. Those are massive numbers, however in fact, they’re solely 15 horsepower and 22 pound-feet greater than commonplace T8 PHEV fashions, that are themselves shocking powerhouses. Official estimates name for 0 to 60 mph in a tidy 4.9 seconds en path to a prime velocity of 143 mph. Thanks to electrification, even from a useless cease, energy builds shortly in progressive, simple style. The center-spine-mounted battery pack sits low on this 60-series’ Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) chassis to assist dealing with, however there is no doubt it is a very hefty proposition, weighing in at a portly 4,800-plus kilos. Turbocharged. Supercharged. Electrified. It’s kinda difficult.
    Bruce Benedict/Volvo
    Hybrid coronary heart Using a Level 2 charger, the aforementioned 11.6-kilowatt-hour battery pack might be topped off in about 2.5 hours. Fuel financial system and electric-only vary figures have not been launched for this 2020 mannequin, however the 2019 mannequin yr’s non-Polestar T8 PHEV mannequin solely had a 10.4-kWh pack, and it was good for a 58 miles per gallon equal; a modest 26 mpg mixed (on premium gas) and about 23 miles of EV vary.(It’s value noting that the latter is extra of a theoretical determine, because the XC60’s most parsimonious Pure drive mode will prioritize however not assure electric-only operation. There’s additionally a useful Hold And Charge perform to order battery energy for later use. Teenagers, take be aware: If you are fortunate sufficient to have a mum or dad lend you the keys to their Polestar, tread frivolously when creeping up the driveway after curfew.) Improved efficiency You might recall that we beforehand examined the Polestar Engineered variant of Volvo’s in any other case wonderful new S60 compact sedan, solely to return away a bit annoyed. Unfortunately, our fondness for the usual automobile was undone by a scarcity of smoothness from the PHEV powertrain, and particularly, the usually discouragingly nonlinear braking, which suffered from awkwardly stilted handoffs between its regenerative and mechanical friction-based techniques.Fortunately, Volvo appears to have heeded our complaints, significantly in regards to the latter situation. For 2020, the corporate has put in retooled braking {hardware} and software program on its PHEV fashions, together with including a brand new hydraulic pump to create a extra pure pedal really feel. The powertrain appears extra agreeable, too, though with solely 4 cylinders (muffled beneath pressured induction), the sounds this powertrain makes do not encourage, not to mention communicate to its excessive efficiency. Pricy Öhlins dampers are manually adjustable, similar to on a hardcore monitor automobile.
    Chris Paukert/Roadshow
    Akebono, Öhlins, oh my!Even on mountain roads and with Volvo establishing a modest dealing with course arrange on a small, rural airport runway, I by no means did get to completely warmth up and check out the potential of the 2020 XC60 Polestar Engineered’s Akebono brakeset, however few folks will ever ask as a lot of a family-minded SUV anyhow. The necessary factor is that upgraded brakes (six-piston calipers performing on 14.6-inch entrance discs) clearly encourage confidence in (simulated) panic stops from elevated velocities, and so they provide equally pleasant modulation at parking-lot speeds.Another key improve element within the Polestar Engineered program is the addition of a set of expensive and fairly unique Öhlins dampers. While trip top stays unchanged, these dual-flow valve items are adjustable to swimsuit particular person tastes.Unusually, they don’t seem to be like conventional adaptive dampers whose firmness is tweaked through a dashboard change or touchscreen swipe — these are manually tunable, as on race vehicles. Pop the hood, search for the gold caps atop the Polestar Engineered shock tower (bridged by a entrance strut bar), twist to swimsuit and Bob’s your uncle. This is a novel and racy contact from Öhlins (a Swedish agency greatest recognized for its work on bikes), albeit considerably out of character for what is usually a convenience-oriented household SUV. I used to be in a position to hurtle check automobiles by way of a closed course that includes a coned-off slalom and an emergency lane-change check (“We’re not allowed to name it ‘The Moose Test’ anymore, but it surely’s The Moose Test,’ stated one waggish Volvo official.) The Polestar cornered flatly and predictably. We have been solely granted two run-throughs of this part and an acceleration and braking train, but when we had extra time, we’d’ve fortunately flung this SUV by way of the cones at ever-higher speeds till we nuzzled the chassis’ limits. Overall, the XC60 PE is a assured handler, however some rivals really feel extra playful and keen to alter path, and all of them Do The Hustle with extra muscular soundtracks than this Swede. Flashy gold seatbelts apart, that is just about standard-issue XC60. No dangerous factor.
    Bruce Benedict/Volvo
    Expected inside excellence I have not actually talked in regards to the XC60 Polestar’s cabin up to now. Not as a result of it is not spectacular — it’s. I’ve held off on speaking in regards to the inside principally as a result of if you happen to’re aware of any current Volvo, you already know the script: Minimalist Scandinavian design, furniture-grade leathers and low-gloss woods, wonderful match and end. Unlike some sports activities fashions, the Polestar remedy does not end in aggressively bolstered seats that hug your hips like a pair of super-slim Nudie Jeans. Volvo’s properly supportive chairs have merely been overlaid with a set of gold seatbelts, a splash of flash that ties in properly with the brakes and dampers.In truth, there are treasured few indicators that you’re driving something greater than a garden-variety XC60 inside — no thicker three-spoke steering wheel, no drilled alloy pedals, and so forth. While an excessive amount of boy-racer gear would in all probability be harsh with the zen aesthetic of this SUV’s cabin, a bit extra differentiation would not go amiss. At least the concert-hall-worthy Bowers & Wilkins audio system comes commonplace, all 15 audio system and 1,100 watts value. Sensus and security As with each different new Volvo, a 9-inch tablet-like infotainment touchscreen types the center of the XC60 Polestar’s infotainment capabilities. The attractive-looking interface consists of such niceties as a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot in addition to apps like Google Local Search, Spotify, Pandora and Yelp searches. One good byproduct of the show’s vertical orientation is that it is doable to run Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (each commonplace) whereas concurrently affording entry to the system’s different capabilities. Volvo up to date Sensus’ computing firepower final yr, so it needs to be each snappier and extra steady, but it surely’s nonetheless not my favourite interface. Even with its performance-oriented mission, Volvo hasn’t forsaken its safety-first mantle. There are a great deal of Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) commonplace, together with ahead collision with auto brake (together with pedestrian, bicycle owner and huge animal detection), blind-spot warning, lane maintain help and a fundamental driver consideration monitor. Pilot Assist, {a partially} automated, hands-on Level 2 stop-and-go-commute easer can be out there. Volvo’s 9-inch Sensus Connect infotainment returns with commonplace Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
    Go for the gold? Pricing for the 2020 Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered begins at a heady $71,050 plus $995 vacation spot payment. With $645 for metallic paint and $800 for the aforementioned 22-inch wheels, my tester’s backside line was $73,490. That’s a great distance from a base front-drive T5 Momentum’s beginning value of $39,200, but it surely’s additionally a aggressive MSRP. Thanks to its beneficiant gear ranges and peerless inside high quality, this XC60 Polestar Engineered manages to keep away from feeling overpriced, however neither does it really feel like a specific discount.Volvo talked about the Audi SQ5 because the XC60 PE’s most pure rival, however the BMW X3 M and Mercedes-AMG GLC43 additionally come to thoughts, together with the tighter-inside Porsche Macan S. All of those athletic SUVs are tremendously achieved general. In reality, even with the Polestar Engineered trappings and its limited-edition attraction (Volvo hasn’t stated what number of of those it plans to supply, however they determine to be very uncommon), you will seemingly must be a really dedicated Volvophile to think about spending the additional cash for the Polestar Engineered mannequin over the usual T8. Of course, the identical might be argued when evaluating the bottom T8 in opposition to its lesser T5 and T6 non-hybrid siblings, each of which might be had nicely outfitted for tens of hundreds much less. At least for the second, the T8 Polestar Engineered is probably the most excessive distillation of Volvo’s successful XC60 formulation. It provides a modicum of efficiency to the already burly T8, in addition to a splash of limited-edition type and cachet. Ultimately, the 2020 Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered is probably not as participating as its German rivals, however this Swede nonetheless manages to set itself aside on the energy of its electric-only vary in addition to the various attributes discovered on the core of each 60-Series.Beauty. Brains. Brawn. Banff!
    Bruce Benedict/Volvo
    Editors’ be aware: Travel prices associated to this function have been coated by the producer. This is widespread within the auto trade, as it is extra economical to ship journalists to vehicles than to ship vehicles to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multiday car loans from producers to be able to present scored editorial critiques, all scored car critiques are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases.The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial crew are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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