Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV gets Polestar treatment

Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV gets Polestar treatment


Volvo has announced an update to its XC90 T8 Twin Engine PHEV, with an increase in performance thanks to in-house tuning firm Polestar. Buyers can now opt for Polestar Performance Optimisation for the plug-in SUV, which crucially has no impact on the model’s economy figures despite having more power.

To achieve this particular brand of witchcraft, Polestar has had to be remarkably clever about how it has gone about optimising performance. The department runs Volvo’s factory racing efforts so knows plenty about extracting more performance from a car – it’s just that with such a focus on efficiency for the XC90 T8 Twin Engine, the fuel economy and emissions figures couldn’t change.

As such, these remain at the officially quoted 134.5 MPG, with an all-electric range of around 27 miles. No quote has been given on CO2 emissions, but since this and fuel economy figures are inextricably linked, it is presumed that this remains at 49 g/km too.

This is despite an increase of 14hp and 40 Nm of torque from the engine, bringing total combined output to 421hp and 680 Nm. The results see the 0-62mph time drop by one tenth of a second to 5.5 seconds, which isn’t much for all that effort, but Polestar says that the driving experience as a whole is much improved.

Changes to the drivetrain have come in five main areas. Improved throttle response, gearshift hold, speed and precision, and engine performance combine to make a more intuitive experience, according to Volvo. For example, when entering a corner at speed – creating higher than normal lateral g-forces – the car’s eight-speed automatic gearbox has been programmed to hold its revs, rather than changing up mid bend as the non-Polestar models would. This prevents the car from becoming unsettled, improving balance and control.

Drivers can order an XC90 T8 Twin Engine with Polestar Performance Optimisation now. It costs £835 on top of the standard specification prices, and because Polestar comes under the Volvo banner, the likes of service intervals and warranties are unaffected by the changes.