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Some automakers build vehicles that take acceleration, handling, and speed to levels beyond the capabilities of their already excellent regular performance models. These “hyper” performance cars are generally based on production performance models, which are then modified by in-house special performance groups using tuning expertise and parts that have often been developed through racing programs. Some special performance groups, like the Ford Special Vehicle Team, also known as SVT, and BMW M (for Motorsport), were established by the manufacturer, while others, like Mercedes AMG, started out as independent racing and performance parts developers that were later acquired by the automaker. Similar to AMG, Polestar was founded to race Volvos and later began modifying existing Volvo models. In 2015 Polestar Performance was purchased by Volvo and now Volvo has gone further and established Polestar as an independent brand, developing and manufacturing electric performance cars. The new company’s first car is appropriately badged Polestar 1.

The Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC), which later merged with the Danish Touring Car Championship to become the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, was a racing series established in 1996 to race heavily modified production based hatchbacks and sedans. It was based on the highly successful British Touring Car Championship. Volvo partnered with the Flash Engineering racing team, owned by Swedish driver Jan “Flash” Nilsson, to compete in the series, supplying the team with cars and financial support. The team started with a Volvo 850, then switched to an S40 in 1998 and to an S60 in 2003. That same year Flash Engineering took over engine and chassis development from Volvo. Volvo won the manufacturer’s championship in 2002 and 2003. In 2005, Nilsson sold the team to Christian Dahl, who renamed it Polestar Racing. Over the next decade Polestar Racing competed in the STCC and World Touring Car Championships racing Volvo S60 and C30 cars that it developed, winning numerous driver and team championships.

In 2009 Polestar split into two divisions, Polestar Racing, which continued as before, and Polestar Performance, which partnered with Volvo to create performance upgrades specifically engineered for existing and future Volvo production models. Some of the first fruits of this collaboration were engine tuning packages developed by Polestar to reprogram the ECU and increase boost, advance spark timing, and change throttle mapping on Volvo turbocharged in-line 5-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines. These software revisions significantly increased horsepower and torque output, they could be installed at Volvo dealers, and would not void the warranty. Polestar Performance also built two concept vehicles to demonstrate their Volvo tuning expertise and to gauge public interest, the Volvo C30 Polestar Concept in 2010, and the Volvo S60 Polestar Concept two years later. For these concepts Polestar started with the Volvo C30 R-Design and Volvo S60 R-Design, then beefed up strength and boosted performance using a combination of Polestar tuning, well-chosen off-the-shelf Volvo parts, and aftermarket upgrades including Öhlins adjustable dampers and Brembo brakes.

The first production Polestar-badged Volvo was the 2013 C30 Polestar Limited Edition, which was followed by the S60 Polestar and V60 Polestar. Both of the latter are powered by an enhanced version of Volvo’s award winning T6 Drive-E 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, with a larger turbocharger, supercharger, special camshafts, larger intake and higher capacity fuel pump, that combine to produce 367 horsepower. Power is sent through a Polestar optimized 8-speed gearbox and Borg Warner 4WD system, propelling the vehicle to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). Both cars are suspended with adjustable Öhlins dampers and stopping is handled by ventilated and slotted rotors and Brembo 6-piston calipers. Polestar exclusive alloy wheels and carbon fiber front splitter distinguish the exterior, and sport leather seats with contrasting stitching and carbon fiber trim complete the cabin. In addition to these Polestar models, Polestar developed parts and accessories for other Volvo models including high-flow stainless steel exhaust systems; coil springs and shock absorbers; alloy rims, rear spoilers and rear diffusers; gearshift knobs and sport pedals; and much more.

Although Polestar’s stated goal is to be an electric performance brand, and Polestar 2 and Polestar 3, which are currently under development, will have fully electric powertrains, Polestar 1 is a performance electric hybrid. The company considers it an electric car supported by an internal combustion engine. The 2-door, 4-seat coupe has two electric motors, joined by planetary gears, which together produce 218 hp and power the rear wheels. It has an up to 93 mile (150 km) range using just electric power. An integrated starter generator chips in an additional 46 hp. A Volvo Drive-E 2.0L in-line 4-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged gasoline engine powers the front wheels. Combined power output is 600 hp and 1000 Nm of torque. The planetary gearset that couples the electric motors enables torque vectoring, for optimal grip, acceleration and stability through turns. The three battery stacks that provide 34 kWh for the electric motors are positioned in the chassis for near 50-50 perfect weight distribution. The upper body is made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer that is bonded to a steel underbody, creating a strong but very light structure. Torsional rigidity, lightness and ideal weight distribution combine to provide exceptional handling characteristics.

The Polestar 1 chassis features aluminum double wishbone front suspension, and integral link rear suspension with a transverse composite leaf spring. An electronic valve, located within each shock absorber in the Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi), constantly monitors driver input and road conditions, and immediately changes ride characteristics to meet demands. The driver can also change suspension settings from inside the car. Stopping power is provided by Akebono 6-piston calipers gripping 15.75” (400mm) drilled and ventilated disc brake rotors. Polestar 1 rolls on alloy wheels with 275/30 R21 tires in front and 295/30 R21 tires at the rear. The sleekly sculpted body features a panoramic sunroof that runs the full length of the roof, and an active rear spoiler that raises from its flush position automatically at speeds above 62 mph (100 km/h), providing downforce and stability. The interior is richly appointed with hand-crafted leather detailing, carbon fiber trim, and a Bower & Wilkins sound system.

But while Polestar 1 is one of the most advanced performance cars available today, Polestar’s innovative approach to performance driving goes beyond the car itself. Polestar 1 will initially only be offered by 2 or 3-year subscription, which the company believes will free performance car customers from the hassles of vehicle ownership like depreciation, and allow them to concentrate on the pleasure of driving. One flat monthly payment not only pays for the use of the car, but includes insurance and maintenance as well, and even includes pickup and delivery service for scheduled maintenance at a time that’s convenient for the customer, rental car days and access to a selection of concierge services. Furthermore, if unforeseen needs like additional cargo space occur, Polestar can arrange for a roof-top cargo box to be installed and later removed at a time and place convenient for the customer, and the fee will just be added to the monthly bill. When the term of the subscription contract ends, the customer just returns the car.

Polestar also wants to accommodate modern customers who are accustomed to internet transactions. It will be completely unnecessary to physically go to a Polestar facility, as it will be possible to order subscriptions, services, and even test drives all on-line. Polestars will not be sold through Volvo dealers, the company will have its own network of retailers with the first scheduled to open in the 1st quarter of 2019. In the meantime a select number of Volvo dealers will receive the special training needed to properly care for Polestars when service is needed, but with pickup and delivery included in the subscription a customer need never set foot in the Volvo dealership. As a subsidiary of Volvo Cars, which is wholly owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding, all Polestars will be built in a state-of-the-art, environmentally responsible production facility in Chengdu, China. Called the Polestar Production Centre, it will include a customer test track so customers can experience all the performance of a Polestar unencumbered by the restrictions of public roads.

Dress your vehicle up. Keep it running at its peak or unleash its hidden power. Make it look like it just rolled off the show room floor. Take care of it and maintain it. You name it, we've got it. We have gathered everything you need to make your Polestar perfect both inside and out. CARiD's job is to meet your every expectation and provide you with quality and durable accessories and parts designed with excellence in mind. Whether you're after luxurious style, brisk performance, or anything in between, our wide assortment covers all the bases.

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