2023 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor Performance pack review (video)

Brett Davis

Polestar has stormed into the premium new vehicle market in Australia with the Polestar 2, right into the meaty section to compete against the Tesla Model 3 and BMW i4, as well as heavyweights like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

If you haven’t heard of the Polestar brand by now, it is essentially a spin-off brand from Volvo and a former motorsport partner of Volvo. Both are now owned by Chinese giant Geely Automotive, with Polestar sitting as a subsidiary of Volvo, through Geely. The 2 is made in China.

All of that is probably not important to you, the buyer. But it can be comforting to see proper lineage and background with a new brand. Especially one that is building a product that aims to compete with such highly-regarded veterans.

For now just the one model is on sale in Australia. However, a large SUV called the 3 is coming late next year (likely 2024 for Australia), as well as a four-door grand touring coupe-style model called the Polestar 5 is on the way. There’s even a gorgeous roadster in the works called the Polestar 6.

Three variants of the 2 are available in Australia, spanning from the Standard Range Single Motor (also known as the SRSM), the Long Range Single Motor (LRSM) and the Long Range Dual Motor (LRDM). Here we’re testing the latter, optioned with the comprehensive Performance pack.

Prices start from a very reasonable (for this market segment and for an EV) $63,900, creeping up to $68,400 for the LRSM, and maxing out at $73,400 for the flagship. The Performance pack, one of many packs available, adds $8000 to the bill. It can only be optioned on the top model. A Performance Software Upgrade is also available for the top model, adding 50kW and 20Nm to the standard 300kW/660Nm combined outputs.

2023 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor – THE SPECS

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]Motor: Single AC synchronous permanent magnet, Valeo-Siemens
Battery: 78kWh lithium-ion
Output: 300kW / 660Nm
Single-speed auto
Drive type: All-wheel drive
Wheels: F & R: 19×8.0, 245/45  (optional 20in Performance pack fitted)
ANCAP: Five stars
Weight: 2117kg
Power-to-weight: 7.05:1 (kg:kW)
Official range: 480km
Max charging capacity: 11kW AC, 150kW DC[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]0-60km/h: 2.55 seconds*
0-100km/h: 4.71 seconds*
0-100km/h: 17.62 seconds*
60-110km/h: 2.89 seconds*
1/4 mile: 13.03 seconds at 177.1km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.956g*
100-0km/h braking: 2.82 seconds at 36.24 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.239g*
Decibel at idle (on standby): 22*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 72*
Priced from: $73,400 (plus $8000 for Performance Pack)[/column][end_columns]

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2023 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor – THE PACKAGE

It’s pretty obvious this is a Volvo-based product from the moment you open the door. That’s because it shares the same CMA platform as the XC40 and C40, and carries over the same powertrain. Much of the the innards of the media interface are also carried across, but Polestar has added its own unique flavour to the graphics and menu layout.

We love the simplicity of in-car design. Very few physical buttons can be seen, and almost every surface is not only tightly-finished and well-made, Polestar has gone with a variety of quality soft-touch materials to decorate the cabin. The Performance pack adds gold seat belts for a splash of charisma.

The extensive use of soft materials helps with sound-deadening and cabin refinement, leaving no rattles or annoying squeaks. Passengers are left in a rather peaceful and tranquil environment, suiting the nature of an electric vehicle and, in a way, Swedish philosophy.

There is a decent amount of room to move about in the front, with a clean and clutter-free design also helping to enhance the perception of space. We’re not sure about the tapered centre console design though as it can intrude on knee room for the front passengers, and more so the driver; the steering wheel tends to push your legs outward slightly in most cars, whereas here you quickly run into the console’s side panel.

You can hunker down into an intimate driving position if you like thanks to a wide range of adjustment from the seat and steering column, or you can raise everything up for a more commanding view, a bit like an SUV or at least a crossover.

There is a bit of storage around the front, with cup holders in the middle, a trough at the base of the dash fascia and a pair of thin pockets on the side of the console wings. A centre storage box does help but it is quite small. Fortunately, the door pockets are pretty big.

Rear passengers get twin vertical-oriented climate vents in the back of the centre console, switching from Volvo’s usual spot on the B-pillar, and a charging port. Heated seating for the outer chairs is available with the optional Plus Pack ($6000). The pack, as tested here, also adds a premium Harman/Kardon sound system, panoramic glass roof, an energy-saving heat pump system, and wireless phone charger, among other things.

At the back the boot accommodates 405 litres of stuff, or up to 1095L with the rear seats folded down. That includes a 41L cavity under the floor. Another 41 litres is available under the bonnet at the front, which is great for storing the charging cables.

Of course, being related to Volvo means safety is paramount. The Polestar 2 comes with an extensive list of very clever active safety systems and has been rated the full five stars by ANCAP. For extra protection there is a Pilot Pack Lite option available ($3400) that adds a surround-view camera system, active LED headlights, and fully adaptive cruise control, along with BLIS and cross-traffic alert.

2022 Polestar 2 Long range Dual motor – THE DRIVE

Like the overall character of the car, driving the Polestar 2 can be quite calming and peaceful. You won’t hear much from the electric motors, and cabin insulation is very good.

However, there is some road roar. At least with the Performance pack option fitted. It does include pretty hardcore Ohlins coilover-style suspension as well as 20-inch forged alloy wheels (up from the standard 19s), with thin 245/40 tyres.

With tight joints and high performance tyres like this, engagement levels are higher but with that, naturally, comes some of the unwanted or less pleasant feedback. If it bothers you, simply don’t option for the pack. We have driven the LRSM variant as well (separate review coming soon) and we can confirm it does offer a more refined ride and superior quietness.

For us driving fans though, these Ohlins coilovers are a must. They offer manually adjustable dampers with 22 different settings. To adjust them you do need to slide under the car and get your hands dirty to some extent, but it reminds us of the good old days when you could tinker with your car purely for the fun of it.

The bottom end of the front dampers feature a gold twist knob (pictured above) that easily rotates and clicks into settings. At the back it is a bit more of a hassle as you have to peel back the inner wheel arch guard to reveal a similar knob at the top of the strut (see our video further below).

We think this option is awesome, especially in today’s market which seems to be distancing the man-and-machine interaction further and further apart. It also allows you to find a suitable ride setting for the given conditions. Hitting the track? Dial in some firmness, for example. Planning a road trip out in the country? Twist it back for a more compliant setting.

In either setting the Polestar 2 offers excellent handling. It points into corners with strong front end grip, and plenty of feedback comes through the steering wheel so you can pinpoint where you want the car to be. And with instant power available it can be a lot of fun catapulting away from corners and enjoying an intense surge of controlled, all-wheel drive acceleration.

With the Performance pack you also get a serious braking package comprising of Brembo four-piston calipers with 375mm front ventilated and cross-drilled discs. We’ve seen a lot of electric vehicles hit the market recently equipped with very powerful motors. However, some are not backed up by a balanced and capable suspension and braking package. After all, a vehicle that can achieve 0-100 in under 5.0 seconds is incredibly quick. We think it’s very smart of Polestar to offer these upgraded components.

Speaking of which, we performed our usual performance tests with a Vbox Sport on a private road and discovered some very impressive numbers. It clocked 0-100km/h in 4.71 seconds, exactly what Polestar claims, with 0-200km/h coming up in 17.62 seconds. At the top end the acceleration does drop off, as typical of an EV, especially above around 150km/h. As such, the quarter mile was crossed in just 13.03 seconds but at 177.1km/h. We usually see a trap speed of around 180-185km/h at this sort of time.

A full-charge range is listed at 480km. The highest we saw from the on-board trip calculator was 400km. However, the trip computer takes in a number of factors. Having the air-con on, for example, instantly reduces the readout. There is a single-pedal driving mode you can select from the touch-screen, which basically turns up the deceleration pressure so much that you rarely need to apply the brakes when coming to a stop. This process helps to regenerate some energy for the battery.

We found the overall efficiency to be quite consistent and trustworthy in real world conditions. If you simply cruise it you will achieve the distance the dashboard shows. Enjoy the immediate acceleration more often than not and the range will drop.

Charging is possible via a Type 2 or CCS2 plug (AC and DC), with a maximum rate of 11kW via AC and 150kW with a DC fast charger.

2023 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor – THE VIDEO

2023 Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor – THE VERDICT

With sales growing nicely and a great starting price, the new Polestar 2 sits in the market as an attractive option for buyers looking to get into the electric vehicle game. Especially those who appreciate the refinement and design of its Swedish parents.

We like the performance and really admire Polestar’s perceptiveness to offer a comprehensive aftermarket-style suspension and braking package on what is, in reality, a very powerful and fast vehicle. We also love the suave and calming Swedish design philosophy applied to the interior.

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]PROS:
– Suave design inside and out
– Quality cabin fit and finish
– Adjustable Ohlins suspension is brilliant
– Stress-free touch-screen and gauge cluster
– Attractive price range against some of the expensive competitors
[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]CONS:
– Large centre console takes up front knee room
– Being made in China might bother some traditional Volvo/Polestar fans[/column][end_columns]

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.

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