2012 Volvo S60, XC60 R-Design Power Boost Comes Courtesy of Polestar Performance

Jun 20, 2011 - 1:41:22 PM

A few months ago at the New York International Auto Show, Volvo rolled out its upcoming S60 R-Design model, just as it had done in LA, in Detroit, and in Chicago. This wouldn’t have been a major news event were it not for one interesting bit of information: instead of the previously communicated 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, the T6 under the hood of the new-for-2012 model would now produce 325 horsepower and 354 lb-ft. Same goes for the 2012 XC60 R-Design. But where did all that newfound power come from? Did it just fall from the sky?

Officially, Volvo’s PR folks and product planners have been shy about answering that question, but behind the scenes we’ve heard rumblings that the source wasn’t Volvo’s own powertrain engineers. We can now confirm that Polestar, Volvo’s Swedish partner for its racing efforts in STCC and WTCC, deserves the credit. You might also know the Polestar name from the C30 Polestar Performance Concept Prototype that made its rounds from the 2010 Gothenburg Auto Show, to European media members including the BBC’s Top Gear, and most recently, into our own hands this past weekend.

A team from Polestar accompanied us on our C30 test drive, having just come from an annual Volvo dealer conference in Florida, where the company informed dealers about the tie-up. All 2012 S60 and XC60 R-Design models will leave the factory with stock engines and the Polestar software will be installed at port here in the US before heading to dealers. Additionally, we’ve been told more announcements are coming soon about Polestar performance upgrades being offered through all of Volvo’s US dealer network for pre-existing models. We’re assuming that likely includes the option for current owners of cars with T6 engines to buy the more aggressive tune. As for the two new R-Design cars, Volvo’s planners are still trying to decide how to communicate the Polestar upgrades and the cars may or may not wear small Polestar badges like the one you see above. We’ll find out for sure when we drive the car in just a few months. This is exciting news for enthusiasts — if the Polestar upgrades catch on, we may see some seriously sporty Volvos in the near future and perhaps even the Polestar name reaching the level of AMG or BMW M.