C30 T5 R-Design Polestar
not in any
way to be confused with The Polar
seasonal Tom Hanks
is Volvos big
little secret. Say Hej to the 246bhp
Polestar-boosted C30 T5 R-Design...
NOT VERY MANY PEOPLE know this, but Polestar Racing is the Swedish car-maker's
long-time Motorsports and performance partner. And now they've used their track
expertise to fettle Volvo's likeable four-seat sports coupe.
Externally there's not a lot to give away the Polestar surprise, apart from
the very small blue 'Polestar' badge just below and to the right of the C30's
individualistic curved rear glass tailgate, and the car's low, wheel-at-each-corner
stance. However, our test car's badge-matching bright blue paint job blew discretion
to the wind and ensured nobody missed it!
Under our R-Design's stand-out 'summer sky' skin there's a lot going on. The
Polestar upgrade (£660 and swiftly done at any Volvo dealership) tweaks
the turboed T5's chip to liberate more horsepower and torque
and all without increasing the official fuel consumption. Power is boosted from
226 to 246bhp, while torque jumps from 236 to 272lb ft.
toned-up looks owe it all to a body kit plus a deep rear bumper that wraps itself
around a pair of rocket-launcher-sized tailpipes. Distinctive five-arm 18-inch
alloys with machined spoke surfaces add extra polish (for £795) to a look
that will most assuredly satisfy the style police.
The toned up looks
owe it all to a body kit
plus a deep rear
bumper that wraps itself
around a pair of
Pull open one of the long front doors and you'll find a cabin with four luxuriously-padded
and sportily-shaped R-Design leather seats facing an elegant minimalist fascia
with clean ergonomics all tied together by modernist Swedish design.
Naturally there's the by-now trademark 'floating' centre console and slim-bezelled
white-on-blue two-dial instrument cluster. The SatNav operating buttons are
on the back of the right-hand steering wheel spoke (there's also a remote for
your front passenger's use, for when it's more convenient or safer) and a one-shot
operation glass sunroof.
There's also plenty of headroom and legroom; space up front is generous, plus
both the driver and front passenger have lumbar adjustment on their effectively-bolstered
seats; seats that provide bone-deep comfort.
The driver sits square-on to the chunky three-spoke steering wheel, wrapped
in good-to-grip perforated leather and which adjusts for both height and reach.
An adjustable front armrest adds to the feel-utterly-at-home seating.
Visibility, even to the rear through the darkened all-glass tailgate, is good;
the long tapering rear side windows also keep rear three-quarter vision as clear
as you'll find in a coupe.
The C30 only comes in three-door guise. But you can bring your friends because,
as already mentioned, the C30 has four individual seats. Reaching the rear seats
is not a stretch too far; and once there adults can relax. A nice touch: the
front belts slide on a rail so are not in the way when entering or exiting the
rear cabin. Helping to maximise head and shoulder room, the rear seats are set
closer inwards to the cabin's centreline, and the advantages of this are that
all occupants can join in conversations and back seat passengers enjoy more
interesting forward views.
occupants will also appreciate the first class ride comfort
every trip in our C30 shared the same ending: arriving at our destination, we
always felt as fresh as when we'd set-out, even after 150 miles.
suspension may be, but
along with delivering
enjoyment, the well-
sorted ride is never
harsh and errs
on the side of comfort
for daily driving...
on 215/45 Pirelli P Zero rubber, the T5 rides quietly
and stays that way even over some quite bad surfaces. Sport-tuned the suspension
may be, but along with delivering sporting driving enjoyment, the well-sorted
ride is never harsh and, in daily driving conditions, errs on the side of comfort.
refinement is another much-appreciated strong point: in spite of the anticipated
rorty 'hot hatch' soundtrack out of the big-bore exhausts, the Polestar turned
out to be a quiet, relaxing, long-legged high-speed cruiser with 70mph calling
for a laid back 2,200rpm.
How about luggage? Fit for purpose, we'd say. The deep privacy-tinted tailgate
opens onto a 251-litre boot; and lifting luggage in over the high-ish rear sill
is not a problem. If you need to shift some cargo, fold flat both rear seatbacks
you'll have a useful 539 litres
we managed to transport several heavy and bulky 'white' goods when called on
to help a friend move. And the loadbay's length
just over five feet
proved to be a van-saver.
Smaller everyday items in need of safe out-of-sight storage can go in the large
multi-compartment well beneath the boot floor that's also home to a tyre repair
kit. Our test car came with a rigid load cover (with a hinged access lid) that
adds a very reasonable £55 to the price, and which can be easily removed whenever
you need maximum to-the-roof cargo space.
In-cabin storage is also good and includes usable door pockets, a storage box
under the front armrest (its lid flips over 180 degrees to form an impromptu
drinks tray for rear passengers), a second bin with a sliding lid (that also
holds two cups) alongside the compact swan-neck handbrake, and two-tier side
pockets in the back cabin. Surprisingly handy, too, are the soft mesh pockets
attached along the leading edge of the driver's and front passenger's seat bases.
with its knuckled-down stance, the Polestar-tweaked C30 certainly looks a player
and it delivers. It's underpinned by the same suspension set-up as the T5 R-Design:
sports suspension lowered by 10mm, stiffer springs and dampers and quick steering.
of which gives the C30 a well-planted feel with plenty of front-end grip accessed
via the sharp and precise steering. Pressing
on, it handles the extra Polestar power with ease.
torque hits in the mid-
range, where its
convincing punch will
keep speed junkies
In short, you simply point the front wheels and apply the power... good body
control and a competent chassis do the rest. Reassuringly predictable, it grips
keenly and is good fun to drive. The brakes are fine, too, and pull you up crisply
and cleanly every time.
Polestar's 246bhp reaches the front wheels via a six-speed manual 'box with
less savagery than similarly tooled-up hot hatches. Power delivery is impressive
and accompanied by an agreeable five-pot warble.
Getting all fired-up comes easily to the 20-valve 2.5-litre powerplant; the
beefier Polestar torque hits in the mid-range, where its convincing punch will
keep speed junkies entertained. Plus, thanks to the super slick gear change
action, making the most of the six ratios is always a pleasure.
Use the revs and there's no doubt that the Polestar's got pace: drop the clutch
and floor the accelerator and you'll pass 60mph in 5.9 seconds from standstill.
And when you're not trying to confirm the 149mph top speed, the plentiful torque
keeps it all nicely on the boil.
And the pump penalty for all this get-up-and-go? Officially it's 22.4, 32.5
and 44.1mpg respectively for urban, combined and extra-urban driving; our overall
week-long test figure came out at 28mpg
a figure most go-faster owners would be happy with.
In equipment terms the Polestar-spec C30 has all you'll need
amongst other items you get SatNav with a pop-up screen, 18-inch alloy wheels,
driver's information centre, two-stage heated front seats, automatic drive-away
locking, remote audio controls on the R-Design sports steering wheel, power
windows and heated door mirrors (with powerfold on demand and on-exit locking),
tinted and privacy glass, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, cruise control, auto
lights 'n' wipes, keyless entry and locking, and a climate control system that
keeps the air inside the car cleaner than the air outside.
comprehensive list of safety items includes stability and traction control,
anti-whiplash front seats, and Volvo's Side Impact Protection System. 'Intelligent'
two-stage front airbags are there to minimise the likelihood of facial injuries
caused by the airbag hitting an occupant too hard in an accident.
When those 246 horses
are merrily kicking up
their heels, its
reassuring to know that
youre as safe as
Volvo can keep you...
handy safety feature is Volvo's Intelligent Driver Information System that knows
when the driver is likely to be concentrating most (accelerating, turning, or
at these times it delays any non-essential messages or incoming calls until
it's less distracting for the driver.
And for those times you don't feel like hitting the high revs and making the
Polestar's five-pot sing, the Dynaudio Premium Sound system (an extra £410)
will provide some high-performing audio: a 6-CD unit with a digital amp, ICE
Power technology from Alpine, 5x130W output, Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound,
plus ten high-quality speakers.
'German' is always nice, but it's great to have a choice
especially something that will stand out from the crowd
like this classy Swede. Good too that it does sedate as smoothly as a boulevardier;
but it can also be a real blast. And when those 246 horses are merrily kicking
up their heels, it's reassuring to know that you're as safe as only Volvo can
Volvo C30 T5 R-Design Polestar | £22,785
Maximum speed: 149mph | 0-60mph: 5.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 28mpg
Power: 246bhp | Torque: 272lb ft | CO2 203g/km