Sure, there’s a surprising amount of spunk in their $44,000, all-wheel-drive S60 R-Design, a 325 horsepower stab at the sports sedan ideal epitomized by the BMW 3 Series. But the Swedish (by way of the Chinese) automaker’s historic obsession with safety makes it all but impossible for them to make serious in-roads to sports car fanatics.
So what to do? Tap into Volvo’s little-known racing heritage and leverage the engineering skills of an outside party.
A boutique tuning company called Polestar‚ which has served as Volvo’s official race partner since 1996 and provides warrantied performance tweaks to their factory offerings‚ Frankensteined an S60 by building a one-off super sedan for an unnamed (and rather well-heeled) Volvo aficionado (yes, they exist).
Since project car zero, five more of these bespoke beasties are being built in order to show exactly how edgy Volvo can be when they set their sensible Nordic minds to it.
“The difference is actually quite big,” Polestar’s North American sales manager Andreas Naeslund says, referring to — of all things — the S60 Concept’s paint when looking at the comparatively pedestrian R-Design sedan. For the record, the “Rebel Blue” hue available from the factory is imperceptibly darker than this particular shade, but that really illustrates more about the Swedes than any cultural guidebook will tell you.