2024 Polestar 3 Prototype Electric SUV Reviews

2024 Polestar 3 Prototype Electric SUV Reviews

Where Volvo leads, Polestar usually follows. But that’s not the case this time, at that grandfather He drove the new Polestar 3 (in prototype form) before trying out the closely related Volvo EX90. The final version of Polestar’s all-electric SUV will arrive in the US in the second half of next year, with the EX90 expected in late 2024. We’re still a ways away from that, but based on our limited first experience, the Polestar 3 looks promising .

While the Polestar 2 uses the same platform as Volvo’s combustion models, the Polestar 3 is instead based on an all-new EV architecture, the SPA2 platform. At launch, it will have a dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain with a torque vectoring rear differential and a large 107.0 kWh battery pack. We don’t have EPA numbers yet, but Polestar expects the most efficient version will have a 300-mile range, with the optional Performance Package cutting that slightly to 270 miles.

We drove both the regular and performance models at Volvo’s Hällered Proving Ground near Gothenburg, Sweden. The cars aren’t quite as finished, with some glitches in the UI system and various dynamic settings, but we can tell you neither will be slow.

The entry-level car has 483 hp and 620 lb-ft of torque, with the optional Performance Package upping that to 510 hp and 671 lb-ft. Even working against curb weights approaching three tons, both options seemed extremely quick. The company quotes a time of 4.9 seconds to 60 mph for the standard car and 4.6 seconds for the Performance package. Both are limited to 130 mph.

Polestar is, quite literally, a design-driven brand. CEO Thomas Ingenlath’s previous role was as Head of Design at Volvo, where Polestar Design Director Max Missoni worked under him. It’s no surprise that the Polestar 3 is a handsome beast when looked at up close, with a myriad of fine details. It’s much larger than the current Polestar 2 at 192.9 inches long but it’s also sleeker thanks to a larger 117.5-inch wheelbase.

While the Polestar 2 blends elements of a crossover and sedan, the Polestar 3 has a more traditional SUV silhouette, despite a striking drop roofline and only two rows of seats. When talking about the new car, Ingenlath pointed to the Porsche Cayenne Coupe as a potential competitor.

The sleek shape was created for aerodynamic efficiency as well as appearance, with a wing element integrated into the front of the bonnet to help smooth airflow, as well as another above the tailgate glass. This results in a commendable slippery drag coefficient of 0.29. A full-length panoramic glass roof will be standard, along with 21-inch wheels. The Performance Package comes with a 22-in.

The Polestar 3 continues the brand’s habit of adding small captions to its cars, with battery capacity and power output written on the front doors and a “SmartZone Sensorcluster” sticker applied to the panel between the headlights. This panel protects a heated radar unit and front camera; The company plans to introduce a more powerful lidar system later.

There are more labels inside the cabin, where the seats indicate what they are made of and the CO2 emissions of the materials that go into them; Trim options will include recycled vinyl and wool-blend fabric, as well as nappa leather at an additional cost. (We weren’t surprised to find no signs of environmental impact on the many plastic pieces inside.) The cabin is spacious for passengers in both rows, and thanks to the glass roof, it’s light and airy. Luggage space is more limited, with just 14 cubic feet behind the rear seats, although there is another 3-cubic-foot hidden storage compartment under the load floor. There’s also a neat 1-cubic-foot box for storing charging cables.

While the quality of trim materials and interior finishes was high, the Polestar 3 largely did away with traditional switchgear. Besides the touch-sensitive panels on the steering wheel and the volume knob/forward/rear integrated into the center console, everything is managed by a large 14.5-inch central touchscreen, which runs the Polestar version of Google’s Android Automotive UI.

Although the prototype system was not in a final configuration, the large screen looked great with graphics displayed clearly, and there are shortcuts to easily access different sets of functions. But the lack of physical keys will definitely affect ease of use; Adjusting the outside mirrors in the absence of conventional controls requires three inputs. Polestar also followed Volkswagen’s simple lead in having only one pair of window switches on the driver’s door, so one needed to select rear operation separately to operate the switches at the back – an obvious simplification that adds complexity.

On the test track, the Polestar 3 proved quick and good to drive, with great grip on the optional Pirelli P Zero summer tires despite temperatures in the low 40s on our driving day. Air springs and adaptive dampers will be standard at launch, although we’re told a steel-spring variant may follow. The air springs provide about two inches of ride height adjustability, allowing the Polestar 3 to raise itself for light off-roading and lower itself at higher speeds. The suspension was supple on a variety of surfaces, including a simulated stretch of frost-plagued American highway, and body control was excellent over rougher surfaces and during fast cornering. Refinement was also admired, with only wind noise from the door mirrors disrupting the tranquility of the cabin at 80mph.

The Polestar 3’s rear motor operates through a torque vectoring differential with dual clutch packs, allowing the full engine torque to be sent to either wheel. Similar systems have been installed in some internal combustion performance cars, such as the retired Ford Focus RS, but manufacturer BorgWarner says this is the first application in an electric vehicle. The system can completely disengage both wheels when not needed, turning the Polestar 3 into a front-driver and improving efficiency.

The clever differential works a subtle charm, without the aggressive feeling of impending oversteer that we remember from the Focus RS. Instead, it just fights understeer, helping to keep the Polestar 3 on the chosen line even in slippery conditions and at speeds well beyond the point where it feels as if something tall and heavy should start running wide. The system also demonstrated its ability to enhance traction on the Hällered off-road track when one side of the vehicle was sitting on a surface with higher grip, a situation that could result in wheelspin with an open differential.

The Polestar 3 offers three levels of energy recovery, ranging from none (reduced) to full one-pedal mode. Large 15.7-inch front rotors gripped by four-piston Brembo calipers top the friction braking system, and the left pedal provides good weight and feel, with seamless integration between the two braking systems.

The biggest question for early Polestar 3 buyers will be whether or not they opt for the Performance Package. In terms of subjective performance, the differences seem almost insignificant, although the performance model will get additional software tweaks including a more aggressive throttle map and more aggressive settings for the suspension and differential. Visual differences are minimal: Along with the larger wheels, the Performance Car gets a revised power output figure on the door dashboard as well as gold-coloured seatbelts and tire valve caps.

Production of the Polestar 3 has already been delayed, and we’re told that the first cars to arrive in the US next year will be built in Chengdu, China – with Polestar shouldering the significant cost of pre-production import tariffs from the factory in Ridgeville, South Carolina. The Polestar will be produced alongside the Volvo EX90, and will go into service later in the year. Pricing will start at $85,300, with all early cars getting a Plus package that includes a 25-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system and the Pilot adaptive cruise control package. The Performance Package costs another $6,000. Volvo has yet to announce pricing for the EX90, so it remains to be seen whether the Polestar 3 will outperform its Volvo sibling in terms of value as well.

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2024 Polestar 3
Vehicle type: Front and rear drive, 4 wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

price
Base: dual-motor, $85,300; Dual Engine Performance, $91,300

Power generation
Motors: AC synchronous with permanent magnet
Combined power: 483 or 510 hp
Combined torque: 620 or 671 lb-ft
Battery Pack: Liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 107.0 kWh
Internal charger: 11.0 kW
Peak DC fast charging rate: 250 kW
Transmission: direct drive

Dimensions
Wheelbase: 117.5 inches
Length: 192.9 inches
Width: 77.5 inches
Height: 64.1 inches
Load size behind F/R: 50/17 ft3
Front trunk size: 1 ft3
Curb weight (grandfather Estimates: 5800-6000 lbs

performance (grandfather east)
60 mph: 4.2-4.5 seconds
100 mph: 9.3-9.6 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.6-13.0 seconds
Top speed: 130 mph

EPA fuel economy (grandfather east)
Combined/City/Highway: 78–86/83–91/73–81 mpg
Range: 270-300 miles

Mike Duff headshot

Chief European Correspondent

Our man across the pond, Mike Duff, lives in Britain but reports from all over Europe, and sometimes beyond. He has previously held staff roles on UK titles including car, And evobut his automotive tastes lean toward the Germanic: he owns a troublesome 987-generation Porsche Cayman S and a Mercedes 190E 2.5-16.

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