Lexus IS-F 2012 Review
Never have those in the market for a prestige sports sedan been so spoilt for choice. My fairy...
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Picture this. The boss tells you that everyone at work is going to get a tattoo of the company logo to show their loyalty. Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . . would you do it?
The crazy, fun-loving Swedes at Volvo's skunkworks Polestar have done exactly that all 30 of them (they're so passionate about their brand). Launched in 1996, Polestar has been involved in motor racing for many years but has only recently turned its expert hand to building a go fast, road-going Volvo.
The result is completely insane. Polestar has built only one of the cars so far and word has it that it will soon be in the hands of noted collector, US talk show host Jay Leno. The price? A cool $US300,000.
With a turbo-charged 3.0-litre six, the all-wheel drive S60 Polestar produces an astounding 374kW of power (or 508 horsepower in the old money) and thumping 575Nm of torque. It has a top speed of more than 300km/h and blasts from 0-100km/h in just 3.9 seconds.
Sorry Jay. But there could be a slight holdup. For one thing, we blew the clutch driving the beast at Volvo's proving ground outside Gothenburg. Well, not personally, but we were part of a crew of Aussie journos that put the car in the pits.
Finished in stunning blue with gunmetal 19 in alloys, the S60 Polestar is a whole lotta car. Planning for a production version is still in the early stages, but the good news is that Australia is one of three countries that will be getting it along with the UK and US.
Sitting 30mm lower than the already sporty T6 on which it is based, the guards and front and rear aprons have all been replaced with pumped out, carbon-fibre panels to accommodate the larger, wider wheels shod with 265/35 Michelins.
The track is 20mm wider and the body has been braced and reinforced to accommodate the extra demands of the powertrain that produces a massive 67 per cent more power. Power is fed to all four wheels through a six-speed manual tranny, Haldex clutch and limited slip rear diff.
Bloody quick. It's difficult to get off the line cleanly, but hits hard once the big Garrett turbocharger kicks in. It brakes hard too, late and deep into corners, with six-pot Brembo stoppers up front.
Although it hasn't signed off on the project its obvious Volvo plans to build a production version.How close it is in spec to the original remains to be seen? It will more than likely be determined by the competition, BMW's M3 and the Benz C63 AMG sedans not forgetting the Lexus IS-F. The cheapest, the IS-F, is priced from $127,000.
It's almost too much car, especially on the tight circuit with little room for runoff. The engine revs to 7100rpm before the rev limiter kicks in which happens quickly, with holographic LEDs to indicate its time to change up. The thing is the production version will really need to be offered with a self-shifter, whether it's an auto or twin clutch.
They are so much better at getting off the line quickly and, for those attracted by the lure of this tasty morsel that's what it's all about. OZ Volvo Cars Australia is of course keen to get hold of the car, more for the halo effect that it will have on the brand than sales it will generate. Certainly, no one in their right mind could label this another "boring" Volvo not by any stretch of the imagination.
Volvo S60 Polestar
Price: from $US300,000
Engine: 3.0-litre six turbo-charged, 374kW/575Nm
Transmission: six-speed manual, all wheel drive
Top speed: over 300kmph
0-100kmph: 3.9 secs
|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|