Polestar Performance has been around since 1996, but until recently, it only did two things: manage Volvo motorsports operations and run a specialist consumer-facing side that built concept cars and boosted Volvo's turbocharged production cars by 15 to 60 horsepower. Five years ago, it fulfilled its long-held desire to engineer an actual production car, first creating the C30 Polestar Performance Concept, a showcar that led to the C30 Polestar Limited Edition. That foray led to the berserker, 508-horsepower 2013 S60 Polestar Concept that Auto Motor und Sport called "a hard slap in the face to the Germans," and that model led to the limited-edition S60 Polestar production car just for Australia, a car reviewers swooned for, with one comparing its chassis finesse to the Ferrari 458 Italia. All of which is to say, Polestar has a good start for a motorsports and tuning company to make good on its production car dreams. The 2015 Volvo S60 Polestar and V60 Polestar keep that momentum going, and beautifully at that. The Polestar-fettled C30 arose from the question, "What would happen if a race team got to design a road car?" These latest two blue devils came from a brief charging the division with developing not a race car for the street, but a street car with racing overtones: a car with precision handling that delivers driving involvement and driver confidence, one able to be exploited in all weather and all seasons on all roads. The Öhlins dampers are where the magic lives. Both sedan and wagon start with the T6 R-Design trim as donor vehicles. Changes have been made throughout the car, but the heart of the matter – or better yet, the four legs of the matter – are the Eibach springs coiled around Öhlins dampers. The springs are 80-percent stiffer than the standard units, their fitment requiring additional stiffening of the bodyshell. That's done with a carbon-fiber-reinforced brace spanning the front shock towers, a slender piece of engineering so quietly integrated into the engine bay that it escaped our notice until someone pointed it out. Our American eyes were expecting a big ol' chunk of metal decorated with perfect welds and half-inch bolts because, well, America. But Polestar is not just a motorsports company, it's a Swedish one, which probably makes it four times more likely to not be flashy. The Öhlins dampers are where the magic lives. Polestar told us that these two models are the first non-supercars to be fitted at the factory with Öhlins (the Lamborghini Aventador employs them), and the only car to use dampers with Öhlins' Dual-Flow Valve technology. Originally developed for racecars, a tiered valving system allows the damper to absorb big blows without letting the chassis get unsettled, as it might when a wheel hits a steep kerb at speed. The dual-flow bypass means that it has a second valve that works for rebound, so after the wheel gets beyond the bump, the damper gets it quickly down on the ground again. The …
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