Can any Volvo-engineered product ever really be worth Aston Martin money? The Polestar 1 sets out to be. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

Ten Second Review

The Polestar 1 is a premium GT coupe for the Bentley Continental GT and Aston DB11 set that instead of throaty V8 or V12 power delivers the ultimate in plug-in hybrid technology. It can go further and faster than any plug-in hybrid has gone before, plus it's astonishingly fast, very exclusive, exquisitely finished and extremely rare.


There'll never be another car quite like the Polestar 1. There'll never be another Polestar model like it either because all future models from the brand will be fully electric and this is a plug-in hybrid. The world's most sophisticated plug-in hybrid as it happens. Only 1,500 Polestar 1 models were ever built at Polestar's plant in Chengdu, China, all of them in left hand drive form, to be sold in only nine countries across the globe, including the UK where this GT-style luxury coupe is rarer than hen's teeth.

There's hand-crafted carbonfibre bodywork and the 609hp 4x4 drivetrain has two power sources and three electric motors. A car, in short, that's something of a collectors' item.

Driving Experience

Talk about drivetrain complexity. There's an awful lot going on here. You might be disappointed to pay Aston Martin money and get a four cylinder 2.0-litre engine, but this one is both turbocharged and supercharged and is aided by a pair of active torque vectoring 85kW electric motors fitted to the rear axle, one for each wheel (hence the provision of AWD traction). Plus yet another motor sits between the engine and the 8-speed auto gearbox, acting as a starter/generator. Powering these three motors are two large batteries, one over the rear axle and the other in the transmission tunnel, all of which helps to explain this car's substantial 2,350kg kerb weight. You'd want plenty of power to haul all that bulk about: how does 609hp and 1,000Nm of torque sound? That's good enough to get you to 62mph in 4.2s en route to 155mph. So you'll need the huge steel Akebono brakes (as used on the McLaren P1).

There's a choice of five powertrain settings, the default one being 'Hybrid', which prioritises electric propulsion unless you really do need all-out acceleration (in which case the car switches into the alternative 'Power' mode). The other options are 'Pure' (full-electric) and 'All Wheel Drive', plus there's an 'Individual' screen to allow you to set your preferred drive set-up. This car has race-style manually-adjustable Dual Flow Valve Ohlins dampers that are formatted with a choice of 22 options to deliver suspension feel to suit your exact preference. Something else you certainly wouldn't expect from a PHEV is a 77 mile all-electric driving range, but that's what the Polestar 1's large 34kWh battery gives you.

Design and Build

The Polestar 1 sits on the same 'Scalable Product Architecture' platform used for all of Volvo's larger models, but at just 4.5-metres in length, it's quite a lot shorter than any of those. Plus it's made of far more sophisticated materials, mostly carbonfibre, which is used for the roof, the pillars and all the body panels. Huge 21-inch wheels are shod with grippy 30-profile bespoke Pirelli tyres.

Inside, predictably, much is borrowed from Volvo, primarily the digital instrument panel and the central portrait-format touchscreen, but special leather finishing, bespoke trimming (mostly faux-carbonfibre) and little touches like the translucent gear selector help to create the required six-figure ambiance. The front seats are big and spacious: the rear chairs aren't: even kids might complain. And there's a small 143-litre boot too, for what is supposed to be a Grand Touring coupe, mainly because it's full of battery.

Market and Model

Polestar hasn't been shy in its pricing here. £139,000 is a sum of money that would get you some intensely desirable Grand Touring super-luxury performance coupes from premium brands, among them contenders of the calibre of Bentley's Continental GT, a top AMG-engineered Mercedes SL or a Porsche 911 Turbo. But then this is nothing like any of those cars. It's the world's most advanced and fastest plug-in hybrid, only 1,500 will ever be built (all in left hand drive) and there'll never ever be anything else quite like it.

There won't be any Polestar dealerships, the actual buying of a Polestar 1 will always be done online via an app (which will also be used to arrange servicing and aftercare). And will most take place via monthly subscription payments that will include maintenance and insurance. There are five exterior colours (with gloss and matte options), three wheel designs, two shades of Napper leather upholstery finishing and exterior brightwork in either gloss black or chrome. Otherwise, there are no other options. Everything comes as standard.

Cost of Ownership

Thanks to the largest lithium-ion battery we've ever come across fitted to a plug-in hybrid (34kWh in size), the official WLTP-rated all-electric driving range is vastly greater than any other plug-in hybrid on the market - 77 miles. You'll need to stay in the 'Pure' drive setting to get anywhere near the quoted range - and not put too much performance strain on the battery. The car can default to electric drive from start-off and as your journey unfolds, will continue to try and use it wherever possible.

The flip side of having that big battery is longer charging time than would normally be required for a plug-in hybrid, though around five hours from a typical garage wallbox should cover most of the daily battery replenishment you'd need. The quoted CO2 return is 15g/km and the combined consumption figure is 403.6mpg. Yes, you read those figures right. You'll be able to manage maintenance via a downloadable app. And the warranty back-up is pretty much the same as you'd find with any comparable Volvo.


This is the kind of car that would probably never have been approved by Volvo. But Polestar is, apparently, its own entity, with an R&D development budget funded directly by that Swedish brand's Chinese owner, Geely. As such, it's free to make statements of intent. And statements of technology. That deliver cars like this one.


CAR: Polestar 1

PRICE: £139,000




PERFORMANCE: Max Speed 155mph / 0-62mph 4.2s



BOOT CAPACITY: [litres] 143

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/height 4585/2070/1352 mm