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A star is born

If you aren't living under a rock, you have definitely heard of Polestar. Either as a tuning house for Volvo or as the brand-new standalone electric brand. We have already reviewed the Polestar 1 Super-GT and now we had the chance to take out Polestar's first all-electric vehicle, the Polestar 2.

Polestar is focused on electric performance and Swedish minimalist design. What does the Polestar 2 offer in these aspects? Power comes from two electric motors that produce a combined 408 horsepower and a whopping 660 Nm. A recent software update increased the horsepower to more than 480 horsepower (*this was not installed at the time of our testing period*). 0 - 100 km/h is claimed at 4.7 seconds, but it's probably more towards 4 seconds flat. The performance pack adds a lot of hardware that improves the Polestar 2's dynamic abilities. Öhlins dampers are fitted to each corner and are manually adjustable. In addition to the recuperation of the electric motors, four-piston Brembo brakes make sure that there is no shortage of stopping power. Like Volvo's Polestar Engineered models, the Polestar 2 gets Swedish Gold touches all around the car. The dampers, brakes, valve-stem covers, and seatbelts are finished in a gorgeous Swedish Gold color. 20-inch alloy wheels also come with the performance pack and unlike other electric cars, are not made for aerodynamics, but for performance. The tires fitted to our tester were Michelin Alpin's. It is interesting to see that a Swedish manufacturer is outsourcing many components to improve performance. Do they work? Yes. The acceleration is kick-in-the-back fast and if it ever gets too fast, the Brembo brakes are phenomenal. Other electric cars have a noticeable change in braking performance between the recuperation and physical brakes, but the Polestar 2 performs a lot as a normal performance car would.

This brings us to our next point: the Polestar 2 feels more like a combustion-engine car than a straight-on EV. Of course, there isn't a buzzing V8 in the front, but a lot of things on the Polestar 2 aren't as outlandish as you would think. It still capitalizes on a lot of benefits that electric motors bring such as one-pedal-drive, heat pump, and quiet driving experience. But the Polestar 2 is aimed to be a driver's car. That is why the wheels look normal, there are a lot of foreign performance parts, and it tries its best to immerse you in the driving experience. Polestar's fully electric philosophy is clear, but this doesn't stop them from making a car that's simply excellent to drive. One thing that can't be removed from the driving experience in an EV is the weight. The Öhlins dampers do mitigate body roll, but the weight is noticeable. Luckily the traction control can be set to a Sport setting to let the tail loose.

Moving on to that second aspect: minimalism. This mainly applies to the interior of Polestar 2. What Polestar tried to achieve is a cockpit design for both the driver and passenger with a large central tunnel in the middle of the car. In front of the driver are a fully digital gauge cluster and a head-up display. Each surface is lined in vegan-friendly materials, such as wood, piano-black plastic, and synthetic wool. The interior looks amazing, but it could be more practical: maybe they took that minimalism part a little bit too seriously. It's the front where you'd want to be sitting because the rear seats are compromised. A large panoramic glass roof lightens up the cabin and gives the rear passengers room to breathe and look up. You only get one cup holder in the front and the door pockets are hilariously tiny. We love the centrally mounted infotainment screen with Google built-in. It adds to the fighter-pilot-style front cabin and offers lots of functionality. One unique feature that we have never seen in a car is a holographic projection of their logo on the sunroof. A harman/kardon surround system will make you enjoy every single tune.

The Polestar 2 proves like many other electric cars, that cars do not need noise to be fun. We are happy to welcome an electric future with cars like the Polestar 2, Tesla Model 3, and the upcoming Hyundai IONIQ 6. Manufacturers try their best to make their all-electric models fun to drive, despite their heavy weight and silent powertrain. The Polestar 2 has been most often compared to the Tesla Model 3 but we think that both cars serve their unique purpose. We won't get into great detail, but the Tesla is a better EV, while the Polestar 2 is a better car. Comparisons aren't ours to make and we believe that these two cars are great in their unique way. One vastly different thing is the range. The Polestar 2 sits on a 75kWh architecture, but its range is merely 400km on a good day. This brings us back to the debate about the Tesla Model 3 because that gets an amazing range. But as mentioned, the Polestar 2 is aimed to be an EV that fits the characteristics of a traditional combustion-engine-powered car. And thus also the interests of a petrolhead in a way: simple, quick and interesting cars.


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