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Electric massage: Polestar tweaks hybrid XC60 SUV to 421 horsepower

And people said hybrids would lay waste to the performance side of vehicle ownership. Ha!


Volvo's Polestar performance brand has yet to create anything of its own since spinning off from the mothership, but that doesn't mean it still isn't hard at work tweaking new Volvo models.

Polestar announced Monday that it will offer a performance-optimized 2018 XC60 crossover. While the standard XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid offers 407 horsepower, the Polestar-tweaked version packs 421. (It's only 400 horsepower in the US, because of slight measurement differences.) Its all-electric range remains the same, at 28 miles.

Thankfully, Polestar didn't throw a bunch of garish aerodynamic baubles at the exterior.


The automaker says it focused on two specific areas for improvement -- the engine and the transmission. The engine now offers additional power and torque in the middle of the rev band, which is usually where drivers spend most of their time in everyday driving.

As for the transmission, it's said to shift faster with revised shift points based on the tweaked engine output. It will also hold the same gear during spirited cornering, to prevent any awkward unsettling motions.

"Our goal is to create useable performance in everyday driving situations for Volvo owners who want an enhanced driving experience," said Henrik Fries, vice president of R&D at Polestar, in a statement. "With the Polestar optimization, it makes the new Volvo XC60 a true drivers' car."

Four different XC60 variants can receive Polestar modification in the UK, including two diesel trims. It's unclear if Volvo plans to bring this to the US, but since there's definitely a market for performance-oriented SUVs over here, it wouldn't come as a surprise if it eventually landed on our shores.