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Polestar Punch

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Rob Rothwell
Want a little more aggression from the Swede in your driveway? If the answer is “yes,” read on.

2012 Volvo XC60 R-Design left side view
2012 Volvo XC60 R-Design (Photo: Rob Rothwell/

Polestar is a racing company based in Sweden that partnered with Volvo in 1996 to develop performance products exclusively for the Swedish automaker, and to race Volvo vehicles. According to Polestar, its mission is to “establish Volvo among the top contenders in world motorsport and to bring forward the strength and agility residing in Volvo cars.”

The accord between Volvo and Polestar has evolved significantly over the years, and now directly benefits Volvo owners seeking increased performance from their T5 and T6 engines. Available immediately at Volvo dealerships is a Polestar-developed engine control module (ECM) that can be retrofitted to the following vehicles:

C30 T5 (2008 – 2012)
C70 T5 (2008 – 2012)
S40 T5 (2008 – 2012)
S60 T6 (2011 – 2012)
V50 T5 AWD with manual transmission (2008 – 2011)
XC60 T6 (2011 – 2012)
XC70 T6 (2011 – 2012)

The revised ECM increases turbo boost while re-optimizing spark timing, fuel mixture and a number of other engine functions to increase horsepower and torque without altering fuel economy or invalidating the vehicle’s warranty.

Polestar tuning will add 23 hp and 37 lb-ft of torque to the T5 mill. The T6 powerplant receives a boost of 25 hp and 30 lb-ft of torque. The cost in Canada for a dealer-installed Polestar kit is $1,295 for the T5 while the T6 setup requires $1,495.

Polestar-infused punch should knock approximately half a second off of a 0-100 km/h sprint in any of the aforementioned Volvo vehicles. All the details can be found online at

I’ve tested Polestar-equipped T5 and T6 engines, such as in the 2012 Volvo C30 R-Design and 2012 Volvo XC60 R-Design, and found the results to be most positive. These powerplants exhibited improved mid-range performance, attacking mountain highways and passing slower traffic with ease and confidence.

2012 Volvo C30 R-Design front 3/4 view
2012 Volvo C30 R-Design (Photo: Rob Rothwell/

Rob Rothwell
Rob Rothwell
Automotive expert