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Car and Driver: Starry Eyed: Polestar Tune Adds Power to the Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid


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Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine with Polestar Performance Optimisation

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If the Volvo XC90 T8’s 400 horsepower powertrain seems too tame for your tastes, Polestar has you covered. Volvo’s performance arm will offer an “optimization package” for the plug-in hybrid crossover come October.

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Armed with 421 horsepower and approximately 502 lb-ft of torque, the Polestar performance optimization package adds 21 hp and nearly 30 lb-ft of torque to the T8’s gasoline-electric powertrain. Along with additional power and torque, Volvo says that the package also improves throttle response and includes a gear hold function for the big Swede’s 8-speed automatic transmission. The latter system works by not shifting to a higher gear when it senses the vehicle is turning at high lateral g-forces. Volvo also claims that these performance enhancements do not affect the T8’s fuel economy or electric driving range.

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The plug-in is rated at 53 MPGe combined by the EPA, but we averaged a dismal 19 MPGe during our winter test of a Volvo XC90 T8. In that same test, we clocked the T8 running from 0-to-60 mph in 5.3 seconds, or 0.7 quicker than the standard model. Improving on that performance with the Polestar package would make for one wickedly quick 5159-lb SUV.

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The XC90 T8 Polestar tweak follows Polestar’s recent announcements of similar performance optimization packages for the XC90 T6 with the Drive-E engine and for the new S90 sedan and V90 wagon.

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