The Beast 2.0 has been unleashed! Volvo Car South Africa revealed an extensively customised version of its popular XC60 plug-in hybrid at the 2022 Festival of Motoring, with The Beast 2.0 wowing attendees of the show at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit.
Three years ago at the last running of the event, the Swedish firm’s local division debuted The Beast, billing it as the most extreme XC90 the country had ever seen. Now its electrified successor has broken cover and this time benefits from subtle powertrain upgrades, too.
The Beast 2.0 is one-of-a-kind SUV based on the Volvo XC60 T8 R-Design AWD but featuring a multitude of carefully considered updates, from a daring cosmetic revamp to choice performance enhancements. In standard form, the plug-in hybrid T8 is already the most powerful XC60 ever, delivering total system outputs as high as 340 kW and 709 Nm. With the addition of the Polestar Engineered package, however, The Beast 2.0 displays even sharper reactions.
The Polestar software results in faster engine response, more rapid gear shifts and better control during cornering (thanks to the intelligent shift schedule), as well as improved balance in the corners and better traction at take-off courtesy of the bespoke AWD calibration.
“The Beast stole the show in 2019 and had us itching to create a follow-up. As was the case with the original, the Volvo team and its suppliers had immense fun putting together The Beast 2.0, though this time we thought it fitting to use a powerful electrified model as the base,” says Greg Maruszewski, Managing Director at Volvo Car South Africa.
In addition to becoming the first XC60 T8 in the country to receive the Polestar Engineered engine calibration, the one-off XC60’s four-cylinder petrol engine breathes out through a sport exhaust system supplied by Volvo specialists Heico Sportiv. Fashioned from stainless steel, the system frees up yet more power and comes complete with active flap control.
The Beast 2.0 thus features two distinct aural characters: a sporty growl from the petrol engine under aggressive throttle inputs and virtual silence when only the rear-mounted electric motor is running in Pure mode (offering up to 81 km of emission-free driving thanks to the 18.8 kWh triple-layer battery pack).
The upgraded XC60 also turns heads thanks to its bold exterior makeover. Drawing inspiration from the R-Design specification (which includes a dark finish for items such as the grille and side-mirror caps) and riding on black 21-inch five-spoke diamond-cut alloy wheels, The Beast 2.0 features a high-gloss black wrap complemented by slim yellow detailing on the front and rear bumpers, with this bright hue repeated on the XC60-branded brake callipers and exterior badging. It even boasts an aerodynamically efficient roof box replete with yellow Volvo branding.
Inside, the unique SUV gains special Polestar yellow seatbelts. The vehicle is fully specced, boasting items such as four-zone climate control, a Bowers & Wilkins sound system, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera system, a massage function up front, Volvo’s active chassis with air suspension and as many as four separate equipment packages (power seats, lighting, lounge and driver assist packs).
Shannon Gahagan, Marketing, Volvo Car South Africa, says the XC60 T8 Recharge AWD was the ideal candidate to receive The Beast 2.0 treatment as the Swedish luxury firm continues on its global journey towards transforming into a fully electric car company by 2030.
“The plug-in hybrid version of our XC60 is the perfect vehicle for South African buyers keen to sample an electric car while still having petrol as a back-up plan. With this particular example, we hope to alter some local perceptions around electrified vehicles and furthermore prove that being safe needn’t be boring. We think The Beast 2.0 does exactly that,” says Gahagan.