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


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 V60

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.

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 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%.

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. In addition to racing, the company’s activities are organised into two further business areas, Performance and Services.

Polestar Performance optimises the power and torque in your Volvo. 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 is due to be launched in SA early next year. Pricing will be made available then.

Volvo tech facts:

Rollover Protection System (ROPS)
The latest Volvo models are all equipped with the Roll Over Protection System (ROPS) as standard.

Advanced sensor technology ensures that the belt pre-tensioners and the inflatable curtains deploy in the event of a rollover. This combined with the safety cage helps reduce the risk of occupant injury in such situations.

Corner Traction Control for smoother curves
The dynamic new chassis in the all-new Volvo S60 is backed up by a range of electronic systems that sharpen the sporty driving experience still further. All new Volvo models are equipped with this sytem.

Corner Traction Control is a new feature that uses torque vectoring so the car takes curves even more smoothly. This technology is a further refinement of the Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC).

When taking a curve, the car’s inner driven wheel is braked at the same time as more power is transmitted to the outer driven wheel. This allows the driver to take the curve more tightly while reducing any tendency to understeer.

Twin Scroll Technology
In short, Volvo’s new Twin Scroll technology makes optimal use of exhaust gases to ensure better turbo response, and less fuel consumption. This technology optimises the combustion and exhaust timing in the engine to ensure better performance overall.


  • The S60 is the first sedan model on the market with Advanced Stability Control. With a new roll angle sensor, it is possible to identify any skidding tendency at a very early stage. This means that the anti-skid system can step in earlier and with greater precision. Advanced Stability Control is a great asset in dynamic driving involving considerable lateral forces, which improves handling and rapid avoiding manoeuvres.
  • Trailer Stability Assist helps dampen the weaving or snaking action that may occur when towing a trailer or caravan. The car is stabilised by braking one or more wheels and by reducing torque.
  • Engine Drag Control prevents the wheels from locking during engine braking on a slippery surface.
  • The DSTC system also has a sports setting that makes it possible to drive more actively. By disabling the anti-spin system, the car becomes more oversteered.

Advanced, integrated braking functions
A highly advanced braking system is an important part of the dynamic driving properties of the all-new S60 and V60.  The sedan is equipped with a number of features that interact to provide the shortest possible stopping distance in all scenarios.

  • Ready Alert Brakes can predict when swift braking is needed. The brake callipers are applied lightly to the brake discs even before the driver presses the brake pedal. Hydraulic Brake Assist helps the driver brake in the shortest possible distance. In an emergency situation where the driver does not press the brake pedal fast or hard enough, Hydraulic Brake Assist can help utilise the ABS system optimally and thus shorten the overall braking distance.
  • Optimised Hydraulic Brakes is a system that amplifies braking ability during firm braking by using hydraulics to compensate for low vacuum pressure in the brake servo.
  • Fading Brake Support uses the hydraulic system to gradually build up brake pressure during long, hard braking. This helps reduce the risk of brake fade and maintains pedal feel.