Polestar 2 performance, motor & drive

It's fast, grippy and safe, but the Polestar 2 doesn't offer the last word in driving pleasure

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

4.0 out of 5

Model0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
Standard Range Single6.4s127mphRear268bhp
Long Range Single6.2s127mphRear295bhp
Long Range Twin4.5s (4.2s with Performance Pack)127mphFour416bhp (469bhp with Performance Pack)

Neither the single nor the dual-motor version of the Polestar 2 can match the equivalent Tesla Model 3 for sheer straight-line acceleration, but overall the driving experience is good, with the performance, handling and ride quality all striking a good balance between passenger comfort and driver engagement. Plus, updates for 2023 have added more power and quicker acceleration to the svelte Swedish fastback.

Polestar 2 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

When it launched, the Polestar 2 was only available in dual-motor, all-wheel-drive form with 402bhp and 660Nm of torque on tap, while the single-motor version that arrived in 2021 produced just over 200bhp. Initially, these models were front-wheel drive; 0-62mph on these takes seven seconds. 

However, in January 2023, the Polestar 2 got new electric motors and more power. Single-motor versions also switched from front to rear-wheel drive – just like their Volvo XC40 and C40 siblings – and the system in all-wheel drive models has a greater rear bias now.

The entry-level, Standard Range single-motor variant now produces 268bhp and 490Nm of torque (up from 221bhp and 330Nm), reducing the car’s 0-62mph time from seven to 6.4 seconds. The Long Range single-motor Polestar 2 also got a bump in power output from 228bhp and 330Nm of torque to 295bhp and 490Nm, slashing its 0-62mph time to 6.2 seconds.

For the Long Range dual-motor Polestar 2, power and torque have increased from 402bhp and 660Nm to 416bhp/740Nm, with the Performance Pack bumping that up to 469bhp and 740Nm. 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds in the standard dual-motor version and 4.2 seconds if you opt for the Performance Pack.

On top of that, a total of 40 lucky UK buyers were given the chance to buy the (pre-facelift) BST Edition 270, which added even more performance parts, including different brakes, wheels, and grippier Pirelli tyres. It used the older car’s 469bhp dual-motor setup as regular Polestar 2s equipped with the Performance Pack; 0-62mph takes 4.4 seconds.

Ultimately, while not as quick as the equivalent Tesla Model 3s, the single-motor, front-wheel-drive versions we tested still offer instant torque off the line and enough power for easy overtakes. Meanwhile, the dual-motor Polestar 2 felt brisk, powerful and safe all the same, with the power on tap making overtaking seem effortless.

Handling

The first version of the Polestar 2 we tested was the dual-motor model fitted with the optional Performance Pack, which adds Brembo brakes, adjustable Öhlins suspension components and 20-inch forged alloy wheels, plus natty gold-coloured seatbelts inside. In this configuration, the 2 strikes a nice balance between control and comfort. Our test car had the adjustable suspension set somewhere in the middle of its range, and it felt firm but pliant on most surfaces, though rougher surfaces can result in unwanted crashes and jolts finding their way into the cabin.

This is an agile car, too – stability is great, there's loads of grip and body control is excellent, though the slightly dead steering lets the side down. Come out the other side of a corner and there’s more than enough performance on tap – noiseless, linear forward shove is ready and waiting at any speed, while sitting at a cruise is a relaxed experience thanks to the hushed, well isolated interior.

Overall, the Polestar 2 doesn't feel as poised or punchy as a Tesla Model 3, but the performance on offer is still addictive: press hard on the accelerator at any speed and there's instant access to more power than you could ever need.

Those lucky enough to bag one of the (expensive) BST Edition 270 cars will quickly notice that it feels like Polestar turned up to 11. We found body control in our test car was even better, and the ride more controlled – despite larger 21-inch wheels. It turns in more keenly and feels more settled most of the time. We can only hope that some of the changes made to the BST Edition will make their way onto standard Performance Pack cars in time.

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