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Car reviews - Polestar - 2


We like
Breathtaking off the line acceleration, super smooth and quiet, sporty dynamics, powerful brakes, “eco” interior, impressive audio, distinctive appearance
Room for improvement
Price, claimed range, requires frequent recharging, no spare wheel, performance tapers at higher speeds, no start/stop switch, low roofline compromises access

Flagship Polestar 2 dual-motor has sensational off the mark acceleration, sporty dynamics

15 Feb 2024



POLESTAR has been here since 2022 and still offers only one model, the Polestar 2 premium mid-size fastback, which was comprehensively re-engineered last year moving from a front-wheel drive chassis configuration to a rear-wheel drive arrangement.


They didn’t stop there… as the Geely-owned BEV maker replaced the 400-volt electric motors with more powerful and efficient units, swapped to next-gen silicon carbide electricity inverters and fitted a better 82kWh Li-ion battery from CATL (on dual-motor models) with a 205kW charging system while adding a swag of new safety and comfort technology.


The price went up a bit and the exterior changed a bit though remains identifiable as a Polestar 2.


The “new” model is quicker, use less power giving a longer range (591km claimed for dual-motor), is faster charging for convenience gains and has been calibrated to deliver a superior drive feel and ride qualities.


Tested was the top of the range $76,400 plus on-road costs Polestar 2 Dual Motor Long Range with the Plus Pack at $6000, Pilot Pack at $3500 and AWD-only Performance Pack at $9000 that add respectively extra luxury, safety kit and a big power hit through over-the-air upgrades.


All up excluding on roads the test car was around $102,000 +ORC.


Power output with the Performance Pack is rated at 350kW (40kW more than the standard car and close to 500 horsepower in the old money) but torque stays the same at 740Nm.


A comprehensive ADAS array is fitted along with extensive active and passive safety features and a tech’ offering that includes internet, OTA upgrades, PolestarConnect and Bluetooth.


The five-seat test vehicle has a tow rating of 1500kg but only has a tyre “repair” kit and no spare whatsoever.


Luckily with such a quick (and heavy) car, the Performance Pack includes large Brembo brakes, sticky 20-inch rubber on forged alloy wheels and high end Ohlins DFV adjustable dampers controlling the MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear suspension.


The pack also brings garish gold seat belts and gold coloured valve caps.


The Plus Pack comprises a premium Harman Kardon 600-watt/13-speaker audio system, panoramic sunroof, weave tech seats, tinted rear glass, additional interior lighting, a heat pump for more efficient air-conditioning and battery cooling, heated electric seats and heated wheel, a handy air quality sensor, digital key access, electric tailgate and a bag holder in the boot.


The Pilot Pack comprises matrix LED headlights, radar cruise with stop/start traffic assist, LED front fog lights and emergency stop assist if the driver kips off behind the ‘wheel.


The subtly changed interior retains its eco-friendly materials excluding optional Nappa leather at $6000. The same 11.5-inch portrait style media screen with Google Assistant and online connectivity including Apple CarPlay is used and occupants can stream YouTube on the screen when parked (for charging).


The Polestar 2 has a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, with the battery covered by an eight-year/160,000km warranty, the latter can have single modules repaired or replaced.


Driving Impressions


Access into the front seats is tight for larger people as the roofline is low and the door aperture smallish. Once there it’s all good as the seats are a decent size/shape and have comfortable upholstery.


But the lack of a “start” button is a touch off putting as it means there’s also no “stop” button unless you rifle through menus and select “electrics shut down”. If you don’t do that, it’s a matter of either getting into the car with the key fob in hand and selecting D then, once the drive is over, selecting P, locking the car and walking away.


Handy but a bit whacky as there’s an element of doubt…


Front passengers look at a conventional dash dominated by the large portrait touchscreen atop the centre console while the driver has a digital multi-mode screen providing relevant info.


Troglodytes may find the extensive screen operating system challenging but you get used to it after a few days except for some of the default on ADAS systems.


Interior room is OK, not what you’d call expansive though plenty of luggage space is provided down the back and electric seat adjustment makes finding the appropriate driving position relatively easy.


The Polestar 2 looks good on the outside replete with Thor’s Hammer headlights and crisp angular panels culminating in the tapered rear end with Volvo-esque taillights.


When it comes to performance, the Polestar 2 tested delivers by the truckload especially out of the blocks where it unleashes sensational acceleration. It’s like “bang” and you’re cracking 80km/h in a blink.


This level of performance isn’t sustained as the car feels throttled back a tad as speeds rise which is a touch disappointing but understandable given how it hauls away from a stop. A Polestar exec’ spoken to at a recent EV exhibition said performance is “tapered” in the interests of safety.


At highway speeds, the test model remains the strong silent type exhibiting robust roll-on performance coupled with impressive one pedal braking facility. Speaking of which, the large Brembos that come with the Performance Pack provide strong stopping power irrespective of the car’s speed or weight (around 2200kg).


In the handling department, the Ohlins DFV adjustable dampers do an exemplary job of controlling dynamics offering up an engaging drive feel most would enjoy….


Multiple drive modes are capably dealt with by these high-end dampers that rate among the best available and it showed in how the test car felt on a wide range of surfaces… nimble, responsive, safe.


As expected from a “premium” BEV, only a muted whirring is occasionally audible, a touch of wind noise from the exterior mirrors and minimal road noise from the low profile 20-inch rubber.


Speaking of noise, the Harman Kardon premium audio is a pin sharp revelation to hear.


Though Polestar claims nearly 600km range from this model, the best we saw registered on screen was 490km and that proved touch and go as it was always on the optimistic side.


Adding 50 per cent charge from a 50kW NRMA outlet took an average of 1.5 hours and cost around $26. Only issue there was the recharging rate that rarely achieved 50kW because of local load on the electricity network.


There’s plenty to like about the Polestar 2 tested particularly the grunt off the line and the Ohlins controlled dynamics. But the add-ons hike the price alarmingly. It’s a bit like “here’s your car, and would you like wheels with that?”.


The Polestar 2 has a couple of worthy competitors in the Tesla Model 3 AWD and the Hyundai Ioniq 6. BMW’s i4 AWD is a $30k premium so isn’t really in the frame.


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