Interdimensional Time Traveller : 2021 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor Performance Pack [review]

By Clifford Chow, 10 January 2022

Singapore - Polestar, Volvo’s offshoot is the new EV player in town, but wait! Isn’t Polestar sort of like Volvo’s performance wing? Like how AMG is to Mercedes-Benz, BMW M is to BMW, Audi Sport is to Audi and Kaya Toast is to Regular Bread… and if you do get Kaya, you get the drift. Well the answer is yes it was, but after much shuffling around, Polestar is now the group’s premium EV brand.

The first car here is the 2… or do you have to keep calling it the Polestar 2? Anyhoo, we first had a poke and prod it a few short weeks ago, during the launch at Wearnes, the official dealership here.

There is no escaping the “Volvo-ness” of the new EV, as there are many key design language cues carried over from its parent. Take for instance the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ DRLs, the C-shaped tail lamps, with the little break in the indicators, and also the angular rear window design, which is similar to the one found on the Volvo S60 Sedan. Interestingly, the wing mirrors are each a single piece design, where the entire mirror ‘blobs’ rotate when you adjust them. While the Polestar 2 looks like a 4-door coupe, it is more of a fastback but with a little bit of SUV thrown in for good product inclusive measure. Call it what you like, but I do find the Polestar 2 strikingly pretty, and I could almost certainly believe that this really is a Volvo from a different dimension, in a different time.

We get the fancier Performance Pack variant of the car, meaning that you also get some cool body bling to go with the uprated braking performance; There are also a set of gold Brembo 4-piston brake calipers which match gold coloured tyre valve caps, and not forgetting gold seatbelt straps.

Flexing the fact that they brought us the 3-point seatbelt
Flexing the fact that they brought us the 3-point seatbelt

The apple truly does not fall far from the (Volvo) tree, as there is a good scatter of Volvo switchgear and familiar materials. The air-conditioning vents for instance, have on them the very same signature watch crown-inspired knurled knobs, while the dash and centre console have open-pore wood veneer plastered onto them. The steering wheel is a familiar sight in any current Volvo, but this time, embellished with a four-sided star.

Not only does the dash look familiar, it also has that quality Volvo feel. It really looks like the guys at Polestar know what they are doing here! The little things like the perfect placement of the electric seat memory buttons, the unapologetic use of fabric on the dash, and the ‘1959’ commemorative stamp on the front seat belt tongue, just to remind everyone that they brought to the world the 3-point seat belt… everything here comes together very nicely.

It is no surprise that the 11-inch infotainment screen is arranged in a portrait format, and like in the refreshed Volvo XC60, this one is powered by Google’s own Android Automotive operating system. To activate the infotainment unit, you will need to say ‘Hey Google’, as opposed to ‘Hey Polestar’ (which we would have preferred the latter). While you can connect your Google account with the car (so that Google knows your whereabouts) with Android Auto, Apple users might feel a little left out here. Over the air updates also will mean that improvements will keep coming your way; very recently, Google announced that YouTube for the said infotainment systems would be available.

There is a wireless charging tray below the infotainment screen where you can house your mobile phone, which also comes complete with hidden USB C ports, to help keep your device juiced up. I am gushing over this! Nothing looks or feels like an afterthought.

Although the Polestar 2 sits on Volvo’s smaller Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), there is sufficient legroom to accommodate 4 adults comfortably, though there is that “transmission tunnel” which gets in the way, if you plan to have a +1 passenger.  There is decent cargo room, courtesy of the 405 litre boot which also has a built-in luggage organiser, which expands to 1095 litres with the rear seats folded.

There is also less fuss when getting into and setting off, since there is no ‘Start’ button. Instead, you will just need to get in, put the gear selector into ‘D’. The seamlessness of this feels uncannily natural, and since it is an EV, you need not worry about something called a cold start.

Polestar 2 gearshift lever
Polestar 2 gearshift lever

While there are three Polestar 2 models available, we got ourselves den allra bästa, the Long Range Dual Motor variant, further equipped with the Performance Pack. Behind the fancy set of brakes, the other upgrade is a set of Öhlins Dual Flow Valve (DFV) manually adjustable dampers, which improve handling, and are also gold in colour. But wait… who would really go on to adjust them on their own? 

You would actually need to jack the car up to get this done, and while the front adjusters are quite accessible, you might be required to remove the protective guard lining if you are planning on adjusting the dampers at the rear. I mean, sure… this is pretty unique, but wouldn’t an adaptive suspension setup be better suited for this application? After-all, this is a luxury car, and you are not planning to race it. That said, the Performance Pack car also has larger 20-inch rims, so the ride can get choppy over less-than-ideal terrain. Well, that means that you could actually go dial the suspension down maybe a notch all by yourself.

With the dual motor setup, the Polestar 2 pushes a combined 408hp and 660Nm, which allows it to climb to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds. I appreciate that engineers have worked in an initial bit of play in the accelerator pedal, allowing for a more linear accelerating experience. Push down on with your right foot, and the moderately audible whine of the front motor makes way for smooth and brisk acceleration. While there is minimal wind noise once up to speed, what is clearly missing is sufficient sound insulation on the firewall, which greatly affects the otherwise pleasant driving experience.

EVs tend to feel unnatural when being driven, and while the Polestar 2 is no exception, I appreciate that there is the option to turn off the regeneration. There is also a ‘Creep’ function, which comes in handy when requiring the car to roll forward in heavy start-stop traffic. Having settings placed as such, results in the car gliding freely when you lift off the throttle, somewhat like how the Audi A3 does, albeit with an almost unnoticeable bit of resistance. The Polestar 2 probably delivered the most natural driving experience I have gotten thus far from an EV.

Even with the Polestar 2 weighing in at over 2100kg, the high performance Brembos make light work of shedding speed. The only time you will actually realise that the car is heavier than it seems, is when you attempt to carry this weight in a spirited manner around a bend. Sure batteries are heavy, but the Polestar 2 still feels balanced, and is very easy to tame.

Noise aside, the slightly jarring ride, and a wide turn circle, there is plenty to like about Polestar’s first entrant here in Singapore. It drives well, and it is not overly loaded with tech, and personally, it has one of the best interiors in the game.

PHOTOS Clifford Chow

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