Polestar-optimized Volvo XC90 T8 adds more power with same fuel economy

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine with Polestar Performance Optimisation

Volvo’s Polestar performance division, much like AMG at Mercedes-Benz, takes regular versions of the parent company’s cars and hot rods them into something special.

The next target on Polestar’s radar is the XC90 SUV/crossover. The XC90 is already a fine SUV, especially in T8 form.

The T8 powertrain is a 2.0-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged and supercharged inline four that, when combined with an 87hp electric motor, makes 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque.

When the XC90 is “Polestar Optimized,” the total output is increased to 421 horsepower and a whopping 502 lb-ft of torque.

It’s important to note that these aren’t Polestar-branded cars; they are, as the company says, optimized by Polestar but are still Volvos. It’s a special option on top of the existing car.

The optimization centers around the engine, transmission and the throttle response. Throttle response is enhanced for improved feedback and response, both when pressing down the throttle and when lifting the throttle. The transmission is calibrated for faster shifts and it also has the ability to hold gears, especially during hard cornering. The engine is tuned for stronger mid-range power.

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine with Polestar Performance Optimisation

All these changes mean that the Polestar optimization makes what Volvo says is the most powerful SUV in the world even more powerful. Volvo and Polestar also say that the increase in power doesn’t affect fuel economy, which is rated for the regular XC90 at 18 mpg city and 54 mpg highway, according to Volvo’s web site. All-electric range is still 43 km, or about 27 miles.

The Polestar-optimized Volvo XC90 is already available globally, but won’t be available in the U.S. until October of this year.

Check out this TFLcar snowy off-road video review of the 2016 Volvo XC90 T6: