2023 Polestar 2 Long range Dual Motor Review: In Sheep’s Clothing
Singapore - As mid-cycle facelifts go, the exterior changes on the refreshed MY24 Polestar 2 Long range Dual motor are mild, to say the least.
Polestar has never been one for flashy, opulent or flamboyant design methodologies. The brand’s first car, the Polestar 1, was essentially a stylish coupe variant of the Volvo S90. It might’ve had a 2.0-litre PHEV drivetrain that produced in excess of 600 horsepower, but it was never one for displaying or flaunting its performance credentials.
Unlike a conventional facelift that sees reshaped bumpers or exterior elements, the refreshed model year 2024 (MY24) Polestar 2 carries over all of its exterior fittings from its predecessor.
It has the same shell, the same frameless wing mirrors, the same matrix headlamps and tail lights. The exposed grille of the former car has been ditched for a flat panel that houses the car’s SmartZone sensor cluster. Despite the addition of the smoother grille, its broadly similar exterior grants the car a drag coefficient of Cd 0.278, identical to that of its previous iteration.
Externally, the car is still as clean and understated as its predecessor. The same goes for the interior, which sees a well-appointed mix of fabrics and leather. Stylish Scandi minimalist aesthetic aside, the cabin instruments are identical to that of the previous car’s - 11.15-inch portrait-oriented infotainment screen, 12.3-inch instrument cluster, Google-based OS, the works.
Cabin occupancy and luggage capacity remain the same as well, so you get 41L under the frunk, 405L under the liftback and enough room in the rear seats for three adults. It’s best to leave just two passengers in the rear but at a pinch, three abreast is perfectly fine.
New for this model year is the standard fit Performance Pack for the Singaporean market, formerly a S$16,000 option on the previous Polestar 2 LRDM. With it, all LRDM models get gold-hued Brembo brake callipers and accompanying valve caps, along with gold seat belts.
Said performance pack also includes a set of manually adjustable Öhlins dampers which improve the car’s dynamic abilities but doesn’t grant the car impressed power levels.
Not that the MY24 Polestar 2 LRDM needs it because, on its own, the updated car’s dual-motor powertrain generates 476 horsepower and 740Nm of torque - a 68hp/80Nm gain over the pre-refresh model. This is where its S$344,000 starting price begins to make sense, despite its sedate under-the-radar looks.
As the old adage goes, it’s what’s inside that counts, and it’s the same in the case of the refreshed Polestar 2. The Polestar 2 LRDM hustles from 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds, half a second quicker than before. The car’s 82kWh battery pack is also larger than that of the previous car’s, and the updated drivetrain uses a combination of a 135kW asynchronous motor (in the front) and a more powerful 215kW synchronous motor in the rear.
While it is brutally quick and effective at covering ground in a straight line, it doesn’t feel as agile as its rear-biased drivetrain would suggest when you throw it into a corner. The steering weighs up rather nicely when left in the sportiest setting, but it lacks the sharpness and feedback you’d typically get in a high-performance vehicle.
Don’t get me wrong, the car still negotiates a set of twisting roads with the same deftness and silent efficacy you’d expect of an electric performance saloon. When called upon, it is capable of hauling its mass through a corner at great speed, keeping the momentum even as you exit a bend - all without the drama and petrol-powered symphony of a 476 horsepower engine.
The Öhlins dampers work wonders to keep the car balanced and flat in their default settings but can be adjusted for better feedback and body control. Albeit, at the expense of refinement and comfort. For day-to-day use, we’d suggest a softer damper setup.
The natural habitat of the Polestar 2 LRDM is still on the roads, where it feels most at home. It may have the performance chops for some light track duties, but the improvements made to the powertrain aren’t limited to just horsepower gains. The new car actually improves upon the former's efficiency figures.
The refreshed Polestar 2 is rated for 568km of range, which is a significant improvement over the sub-500km range that the older car managed. Under lighter loads, the asynchronous motor in the front disengages and leaves driving duties to the rear motor for better efficiency. Daily drive it without being overzealous on the throttle and you’ll find that it doesn’t take much to outdo the car’s quoted 16.8kWh/100km efficiency figure.
Clearly, most of the improvements made to the refreshed Polestar lie in the drivetrain. Minimal exterior and interior changes aside, the Polestar 2 LRDM proves that it isn’t just a one-trick pony that can run rings around sports cars (in the right hands).
On the surface, it’s a robust EV sedan that settles into the daily grind with ease. But at its core, it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing that isn’t shy to bare its fangs when provoked.
PHOTOS Jay Tee
Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor Performance Pack (MY24)
Battery 82kWh (79kWh usable), Li-Ion, 400V
Electric Motor 476hp/740 Nm
Electric Range up to 568km (WLTP)
Top Speed 205km/h
LxWxH 4606 x 1859 x 1473mm
Efficiency 16.8-17.2kWh/100km (Combined)