Polestar 3 electric SUV brings 510bhp for £85,500

1 month, 3 weeks ago - 13. October 2022, autocar
Polestar 3 2023
Polestar 3 2023
First blank-sheet design by Polestar is an SUV that looks to take on the BMW iX and Jaguar I-Pace

The new Polestar 3 will arrive with up to 510bhp from a dual-motor electric powertrain, a host of advanced safety features and extensive use of sustainable materials – with its maker claiming this makes the SUV "more relevant and responsible". 

The BMW iX and Jaguar I-Pace rival is the second series-production model from the Volvo spin-off brand after the Polestar 2 electric saloon.

Based on the advanced new SPA2 platform, it's effectively twinned with the forthcoming Volvo EX90, using much of the same underpinning technology and systems. But while the Polestar 1 and 2 were based on Volvo concept cars, the 3 is the first car designed from conception as a Polestar.

Although it's a large SUV, its rakish design shows a clear focus on aerodynamic efficiency, with a relatively sleek silhouette and a number of aero-channeling additions. 

It features design features first seen on the Polestar Precept concept, including dual-blade headlights, a rear spoiler with a built-in wing and a front aero wing, below which is a ‘Smartzone’ panel containing various sensors. Polestar boss Thomas Ingenlath said these would become “defining characteristics” of the brand.

In keeping with Polestar’s performance focus, the 3 will launch with a rear-biased dual-motor powertrain, which in standard form produces 483bhp and 618lb ft of torque. That’s enough to power the 2584kg-plus machine from 0-62mph in 5.0sec and on to a top speed of 130mph.

An optional Performance Pack adds an extra 27bhp and 51lb ft, shaving 0.3sec off the 0-62mph sprint.

To ensure that a large SUV can offer what chief chassis engineer Joakim Rydholm called “the performance and precision that define all Polestar cars”, the 3 features dual-chamber adaptive air suspension, which can be electronically adjusted every two milliseconds. There are also 400mm Brembo four-piston brakes on the front.

There's a torque-vectoring dual-clutch function on the rear axle, too, while the rear motor can automatically be decoupled, so the car will run on the front motor only in certain circumstances to save energy. There's also an adjustable one-pedal driving option.

The 3 will be launched in Long Range specification, drawing power from a 111kWh lithium ion battery that features a prismatic cell design. It has an official range of up to 379 miles and a peak charging rate of 250kW. The car is capable of bidirectional vehicle-to-grid charging and features a heat pump as standard.

The 3 is underpinned by plenty of new infotainment and safety tech. It uses a new Nvidia Drive core computer that serves as an ‘AI brain’ to process data from the raft of sensors mounted to the car. There are five radar modules, five external cameras and 12 external ultrasonic sensors, which use Volvo’s latest safety software. 

An optional Pilot Pack with lidar will be offered next year and will add an additional Nvidia control unit, three cameras and four ultrasonic sensors and will enable enhanced 3D-scanning of the car’s surroundings to offer more accurate real-time data.

And the sensors don’t just monitor outside the car: Polestar claims Volvo’s interior radar tech can detect sub-millimetre movements in the interior to warn against leaving children or pets inside; and links to the climate control to prevent heat stroke or hypothermia. There are also two closed-loop driver-monitoring cameras that can give audio warnings or even automatically stop the car if they detect the driver becoming distracted or drowsy.

Polestar said materials for the interior were selected based on their sustainability credentials and include animal-welfare-certified leather and fully traceable wool upholstery.

As it did with the 2, Polestar says it has committed to producing a complete life-cycle assessment of the 3 when production begins, showing how much CO2 is produced in the car's build and use, and said it's committed to investigating ways to reduce its carbon footprint.

The 3's infotainment system is powered by the new Snapdragon Cockpit Platform. There's a 14.5in central touchscreen that runs a development of Polestar’s Android-based operating system, which was co-developed with Google and allows for over-the-air updates.

All versions of the 3 feature 21in alloy wheels, a panoramic glass roof, LED lighting and retractable door handles. The Plus Pack and Pilot Pack (including features such as a 25-speaker audio system, a head-up display and parking assistance) will be included on all models sold in the first year of production.

The 3 is available to order now, with prices starting at £79,900 and deliveries due to begin in late 2023.

The Performance Pack, which also includes performance-based tweaks to the air suspension and unique 22in alloys, comes in with an additional £5600.

The 3 is also notable because it will be the first Polestar model built at a Volvo factory in Chengdu, China. From 2024, it will also be built at Volvo’s factory in South Carolina, the US.

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