Volvo ups the performance stakes R-Design with a Polestar kick

Volvo R-Design 2011 Driving Polestar

Volvo Car South Africa is further adding to its performance credentials with the launch of the all-new Volvo S60 R-Design and Volvo V60 R-Design. And to shake things up even more – Volvo's accredited Polestar conversion software will soon be available on most models in the Volvo range.

Volvo R-Design

Volvo Car South Africa recently hosted a track day for local motoring and social media with the aim of giving them a better idea of what Volvo Performance entails.

Volvo has a long and illustrious history of success in motor sport.  Recently Volvo has made great inroads in reclaiming its reputation for excellent performance and handling, and with the launch of the new Volvo S60 and V60 they unashamedly called them the most dynamic Volvos yet.

"The reason we decided to host a track day", says Michelle Naudé, Marketing Director Volvo Car South Africa, "is so that the local media could get a true feel for what Volvo Performance is all about. We're not trying to take on everyone in a drag-race, nor copy anyone else in the performance stakes.  Volvo performance has its own character when it comes to handling and driving dynamics, and we wanted to give the media a platform on which to experience this for themselves."

With the launch of the new Volvo S60 and V60 in R-Design, and with the Polestar performance software on the way, Volvo makes it clear that the company intends to keep improving and adding to its performance credentials.

Volvo R-Design 2011

What's R-Design all about?

R-Design is Volvo's sports conversion, which is available across the Volvo range from C30 and S40 to XC90. The only exception being the Volvo C70 cabriolet.

R-Design specifics vary depending on the model, but in general the R-Design models are equipped with a sporty styling kit and adjustments are made to the vehicle's handling and driving characteristics. Below is a brief summary of the R-Design packages on the various Volvo models.

C30 R-Design
On the C30 T5 R-Design the steering is more precise owing to the installation of stiffer bushings and the steering ratio is lower, resulting in a 10 % faster response to steering wheel input. Spring stiffness is increased by 30 % in order to increase the car's poise in enthusiastic driving. The dampers are stiffer and the roll stabilizers are also stiffened to reduce body roll. The R-Design styling includes aluminium pedals, R-Design embossed leather seats and R-Design leather steering wheel.

S40 R-Design
R-Design touches on the Volvo S40 range from a matt-chrome finish front grille and side mirrors, tailgate spoiler and 17-inch Cratus wheels to the unique off-black seats with R-Design logo. The centre stack, steering wheel and door handles also carry the R-Design inlay.

S80 R-Design
On the elegant Volvo S80, the R-Design styling can be seen on the four-spoke leather steering wheel, aluminium sports pedals, and the sport deco inlays on the centre stack and door handles. The S80 R-Design features a sport chassis which is 20mm lower than the standard chassis, offering improved dynamics and a more confident drive.

V50 R-Design
The Volvo V50 looks spectacular in R-Design guise. The silk metal grille, 17-inch Cratus wheels and boot spoiler give the Volvo V50 the street cred it deserves.

XC60 R-Design
The XC60 turns even more heads once it's dressed in R-Design gear. The silk matte grille, R-Design rims and interior R-Design styling add a lot to this Swedes road presence.

XC90 R-Design
The R-Design variant of the Volvo XC90 has it all: compelling performance, distinctive styling and legendary Volvo safety. With its sports-tuned chassis, the Volvo XC90 R-Design is not shy – especially around corners. The R-Design styling includes leather R-Design seats with embossed R-Design logo, 19-inch Vulcanis wheels and unique chrome-finish tailpipes.

Volvo R-Design 2011 Driving

This results in a better balanced, and more agile car aimed at buyers who enjoy enthusiastic driving. On the new Volvo S60 and Volvo V60 the R-Design versions (see separate release) are even further refined.

None of the Volvo R-Design models, however, receive engine upgrades. R-Design focuses on the dynamics, handling and styling of the vehicle to achieve performance enhancement, and no changes are made to the engine's output.

Which is why Volvo Car South Africa plans to introduce it's Volvo certified Polestar software – so that true Volvo performance fanatics now have yet another option available to them when personalising their cars.

Output optimisation is dependant on model and engine size, but the average performance increase is around 10%.

Volvo R-Design 2011 Driving Polestar

What's Polestar all about?

Polestar was founded in 1996 in collaboration with Volvo in order to drive forward Volvo's investment in racing. Since then, Polestar has competed with the 850, S40, S60 and now the C30 Volvo models. The company's core business is focused on development and competition in racing.

Polestar Performance optimises the power and torque in Volvo's vehicles. It makes the car more lively and fun to drive and it increases safety in situations where you need extra performance, e.g. when overtaking. All this without increasing the fuel consumption.

The power optimisation package is developed by Polestar technicians who have been optimising Volvos for racing circuits since 1996. Polestar's long collaboration with Volvo now makes it possible to offer this power optimisation package, installed by Volvo workshops, while retaining the Original Volvo Warranty.

Fuel consumption and the environment
A Volvo with the Polestar Performance package has the same certified fuel consumption as the standard version. This is possible thanks to efficient tuning of the engine, which only increases the power output when it is needed, i.e. for overtaking, long uphill gradients or driving with heavy trailers. This also means that the car's environmental impact remains unchanged, It is maintained within the permitted limits for the certified emissions.

In practice it is even possible to use Polestar's power optimisation to reduce fuel consumption slightly, if you drive in an environmentally sound manner with rapid acceleration and maintain an even speed with low engine load.
Volvo's original speed inhibitor remains unchanged.

Fast and easy to install at your Volvo dealer
Polestar Performance can be installed by all Volvo dealers. If you have ordered in advance the work is carried out promptly, and you can collect your upgraded Volvo the same day. The work could well be carried out in conjunction with a regular service, tyre change, installation of Volvo accessories or reconditioning. As with other Volvo Original Accessories, Polestar Performance can increase the resale value of your Volvo.

*The Polestar software pricing is not yet available in SA as it is only due to be launched later in the year. Pricing estimate is between R10 000 – R15 000.

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