Lexus IS350 2014 Review
The Lexus IS sedan is the Japanese maker's rival to the biggest sellers among the three German luxury brands, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
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Do you really need to take out a second mortgage to afford a super sedan? If you’re looking for a muscle car without the brash looks, a super sedan without the GT price tag, Volvo -- with Polestar's help -- has the answer.
The S60 Polestar looks subtly butch from every angle. From the quad exhausts and raked rear venturi, to the diamond cut 19-in Heico rims and wide open mouth -- ready to devour everything in its path. There is no doubt this is a headturner, and the test car’s fiery red finish further turned up the heat.
The interior is very Ken with no hint of Barbie. Sporty, yet quietly understated. The seats are über supportive and comfortable, double stitched leather with an almost techni-fibre feel, fully electric with driver memory, and complemented by the rally-inspired steering wheel -- perfectly sculpted for fast driving.
The instrument panel is clear and focused with the looks of a well-engineered sports watch. The only downside was the integrated audio satnav system. It’s typically Swedish with a menu for every setting and control, but is awkward to use without reading an entire manual. Entering a simple address proved quite a challenge. Best option: leave it off and enjoy the drive.
With a list price starting at $82,990 (incl. GST & LCT) and every feature under the sun, this presents a truly awesome value proposition. For build and exclusivity, it’s a cut above the FPV and HSV ranges, and sits very competitively against the BMW M5 and AMG models at almost half the price. Although not quite as quick as the others, it would be very hard to beat the S60 Polestar on value.
The S60 gets a full five-star ANCAP crash rating. It has a distinguished list of non-invasive driver aids and safety features, being careful not to detract from the driving experience, yet providing that extra level of Swedish sensibility.
From the active bi-xenon headlights bending round the corners, to the crash sensors all round to prevent those little knocks and scratches, I found them all useful at the right times, and invisible when not required. The traction control system proved to be well calibrated, only kicking in when pushed beyond reasonable limits on wet and twisty country lanes, unlike some others which are constantly spoiling your fun.
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Taking the S60 Polestar for a drive is an emotional all-sensory engaging experience. Squeeze, growl, push-push-push, change, whoosh. Repeat. And again. The never-ending stream of torque and power is relentless, all the way to the red line before the next gear is mercifully engaged, and the rush starts over again.
Once the throttle is wide open, this car is brutal. Its power delivery is savage, corners arriving in mere moments and suddenly demanding immediate engagement of the anchors.Turn-in is a dream, with full confidence in the all-wheel drive system and oodles of traction from the P-Zero tyres to glide you round the corner onto the next straight, ready for the orchestra to kick off another explosive earfull of delight.
The drivetrain delivery is so well sorted and efficient, it feels like it has a lot more than the 242kW and 480Nm of torque quoted. The chassis dynamics are smooth and glued to the road, contrary to some reports, even on the bumpiest and roughest of country surfaces. The S60 Polestar is equally capable and comfortable just running around town as a daily driver.
The Volvo S60 Polestar is all about driving, for the sheer indulgence and exhilaration. For a large super saloon, it felt like a mid-sized rally car. I was like a kid in a candy store and never wanted to leave it or put it down, just wanting to take it out for another drive and do it all over again. I hate traffic lights, but I found myself begging for reds.
Only 50 have been built as a local experiment by Volvo Cars Australia in collaboration with Polestar, so exclusivity is guaranteed for some time to come. When I think of Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati, to a lesser extent this almost equates to AMG, BMW M and the Volvo S60 Polestar. This one's a keeper.
Volvo S60 Polestar
Price: From $82,990
Engine: 3.0-litre 6-cyl turbocharged 242kW/480Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Thirst: 10.2L/100km; 243g Co2 per km
|D3||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$11,600 – 17,050||2012 Volvo S60 2012 D3 Pricing and Specs|
|D3 Teknik||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$13,200 – 19,140||2012 Volvo S60 2012 D3 Teknik Pricing and Specs|
|D5||2.4L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$10,700 – 15,730||2012 Volvo S60 2012 D5 Pricing and Specs|
|Polestar||3.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$18,300 – 25,520||2012 Volvo S60 2012 Polestar Pricing and Specs|