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Polestar 5 Prototype 2023 Shotgun Review – carsales.com.au – carsales.com.au

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There’s nowhere to hide for the creators of the all-new Polestar 5. Developed from scratch at the Sino-Swedish brand’s new R&D hub in the UK, designers and engineers had free rein to create the EV of their dreams. The result is a dramatic low-slung four-door GT that’s based on a bespoke bonded aluminium space-frame chassis and doesn’t leave anything to chance in terms of suspension, brakes and packaging of its advanced battery-electric powertrain. The Polestar 5 is pitched directly at the Porsche Taycan and is already confirmed for Australia, despite ongoing development and a launch that’s still at least a year away. Our shotgun ride provides a tantalising first taste.
When it arrives next year, the 2024 Polestar 5 is expected to align with how the Porsche Taycan has been positioned for our market.
That means you shouldn’t expect much change from $160,000 (before on-road costs) for the entry-level single-motor/rear-wheel drive version that’s expected to produce at least 350kW.
The mid-spec higher-output Polestar 5, which we had a ride in, is believed to develop around 400kW.
We think this car could be priced from a hefty $240,000 plus on-road costs, placing it within sight of the dual-motor/all-wheel drive Porsche Taycan GTS (from $249,600 plus ORCs), which has similar straight-line speed.
At the top of the tree, the dual-motor Polestar 5 with a substantial 650kW could see buyers part with more than $300,000 for the fastest version.
Beyond Taycan, rivals for the Polestar 5 include the Audi e-tron RS GT (from $248,200 plus ORCs), Mercedes-AMG EQE 53 (from $214,900) and the incoming BMW i5 M60 (from $215,900).
The Tesla Model S Plaid would also get a look in, but it’s not coming to Australia any time soon.
It’s too early to detail what equipment will be available with the 2024 Polestar 5, but it’s safe to assume that Australian-bound vehicles will come a swag of attention-grabbing features.
These are likely to include a full-length panoramic glass roof, full LED lighting, rear torque vectoring, a heat pump and a large portrait-mounted infotainment system enabling over-the-air updates.
Large 20-inch alloy wheels are expected at the entry level.
Polestar is also tipped to offer an optional Performance Pack that liberates a little more performance from the single- or dual-motor powertrains. The package could bundle in stickier Pirelli tyres, forged alloy wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes and performance dampers, plus the brand’s trademark Swedish gold seatbelts.
Some optional extras that will be available include a premium 3D Bowers & Wilkins audio system and a larger head-up display.
From launch it is unlikely the Polestar 5 will offer the car-maker’s latest Level 3 autonomous cruise control system (hands and eyes off the road) that will star on the bigger Polestar 3 SUV. Expect it to debut later in the four-door GT’s life.
Like the rest of the Polestar range in Australia, the flagship GT will be protected by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, with free servicing for the first five years or 100,000km.
Aussie Polestar owners also have access to the Volvo service network, making it easier to find somewhere to maintain your car.
The 2024 Polestar 5 has yet to be crash tested by Euro NCAP or any other independent safety authority, so there’s no official rating for the svelte four-door GT.
That said, it’s worth remembering Polestar is part of the same Geely-owned global automotive group as Volvo, which makes some of the safest vehicles money can buy.
So it’s unlikely the flagship model will miss out on the tech needed for a maximum points haul.
The rigid bonded aluminium architecture should offer maximum protection in the event of an impact, while the Polestar 5 will also come with the car-maker’s latest driver assist tech.
It will, however, initially miss out on the roof-mounted Lidar module that brings the most-sophisticated Level 3 autonomy.
The 2024 Polestar 5 in-car technology has yet to be detailed, but should impress even the most tech-obsessed buyers when it makes its debut.
It will feature the latest generation of Polestar’s large portrait-mounted infotainment screen, once again powered by Android Automotive. That will bring the most up-to-date versions of Google Maps and streaming services like Spotify.
We haven’t tried it, but we’d be amazed if the touch-screen itself wasn’t among the smoothest and quickest to react.
Like the much cheaper Polestar 2, ahead of the driver is a separate display for the speedo and a second screen offering sat-nav instructions. It’s thought a head-up display will also be offered to reduce driving distraction on the move to an absolute minimum.
The fastest 2024 Polestar 5 will come with an incredible dual-motor powertrain that will produce at least 650kW and 900Nm of torque.
We expect even more than that by the time the production car rocks up. Factor in a kerb weight that’s less than 2000kg – thanks to the use of lightweight aluminium – and the flagship version should launch from 0-100km/h in less than 3.0 seconds.
That’s not quite as quick as the 560kW Porsche Taycan Turbo S, which can hit 100km/h from standstill in a claimed 2.6 seconds, but we’d wager Polestar will run it close.
The car we experienced was the mid-range single-motor version that we estimate produces around 400kW and 700Nm of torque. With all that might going through just the rear wheels, we anticipate a 0-100km/h sprint of around 4.0 seconds.
It’s believed Polestar engineers might be planning to detune the single-motor powertrain to around 350kW for the entry-level model, but even then it should still be capable of a sub-5.0sec 0-100km/h dash.
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Again, details are still being kept under wraps, but the 2024 Polestar 5 is expected to draw energy from the same CATL-sourced 111kWh lithium-ion battery found in the forthcoming Polestar 3 SUV.
With a battery that big, expect a range in excess of 700km for the most efficient version of the Polestar 5.
Even the fastest dual-motor version should still be able to cover around 600km, thanks to its sleek low-drag shape and its ability to improve efficiency by disconnecting the front motor.
Unlike the Polestar 3, the Polestar 5 features a superior 800-volt electrical charging architecture that should support DC charging in excess of 350kW. That means a 10-80 per cent top-up should take around 25 minutes.
Like all its rivals, the Polestar 5 can claw back energy under braking. Three levels of regen are anticipated, including a single-pedal mode for maximum brake effect.
Official efficiency figures will come with WLTP homologation that’s due to take place in the coming months.
We haven’t had the chance to actually drive the 2024 Polestar 5 yet because it’s not quite finished.
But time spent in the car beside vehicle dynamics engineer Chris Baguley has revealed plenty on how Polestar’s first-ever four-door coupe is shaping up, especially as he adds an armful of opposite lock as the big GT’s rear-end arcs sideways at more than 150km/h.
According to Baguley, just a handful of chassis engineers are responsible for the way the Polestar 5 drives, and during its development the small team effectively ignored obvious rivals like the Porsche Taycan and set out to create the car they wanted to make.
As well as being able to drift – for customers in Sweden and China, particularly – the Polestar 5’s breadth of talent extends to far more of a cosseting ride than the Porsche Taycan can dish up, even on our car that rode on the largest 21-inch rims.
There’s even some body roll, but the way the Polestar 5 changes direction and the general level of precision, at least from the front passenger seat, suggests a car with far broader appeal than the Taycan.
What’s more, the comfortable ride and the generous space provided in the second row should mean all occupants will be happy to cover long distances.
The thrust available, meanwhile, makes you question why you’d need the dual-motor version.
It helps with a long wheelbase when the Polestar 5 does slide; there appears plenty of time to catch and gather it up – not that the big battery-powered sedan is all about pulling off outrageous smoky drifts.
Baguley says the car has actually been set up to understeer first, to telegraph the limits, and most owners will appreciate the level of engagement offered. He also reckons it has the “best steering” in the business when it comes to precision and feedback, which is the icing on the dynamic cake.
Boosting agility is the aluminium architecture that, as well as saving 100kg, is super-rigid and allowed engineers to make no compromises with the double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension.
Adaptive damping is standard but there’s no air springs or rear-wheel steering. The team judged that the former wasn’t needed as, aside from the benefit of being able to vary ride height, it would not appreciably improve ride comfort.
This purist approach extended to the absence of rear-steer that was judged overkill, especially after the wheelbase was shortened by 40mm midway through development to reduce the car’s overall length.
As well as a Performance Pack version, later on it’s almost certain an even higher-performance BST model will be offered that is set to feature more power, further weight-saving measures, bigger carbon-ceramic brakes and trick Ohlins dampers.
A final aspect worth mentioning for Australian buyers is the Polestar 5’s dynamic armoury will be bolstered further by local tuning to ensure it can cope with our “unique” (read: terrible) road conditions.
Climb into the 2024 Polestar 5 cabin and, as you’d hope considering its premium position, the big four-door GT feels a special place to spend time.
It helps, of course, that there is a huge uninterrupted panoramic roof that stretches from the front windscreen all the way to well behind the rear passengers’ heads.
The glass roof could only be engineered by virtue of the design effectively dispensing with a traditional rear windscreen, which instead becomes a structural component that supports the car during a rollover.
To negate the lack of visibility the driver gets a digital rear-view mirror.
In the rear there’s seating for three, although the occupant in the middle gets a bit of a raw deal for under-squab comfort and less headroom.
But either side there’s plenty of room to stretch out and, thanks to a 400mm ‘Foot Garage’ recess in the battery pack, there’s a lower knee angle than you’ll find in other EVs.
Up front is a pair of comfortable and lightweight seats that have been developed in partnership with Recaro and offer plenty of support.
Behind the wheel, the platform allows for a far lower driving position too, although we wouldn’t go as far as saying it replicates a combustion-powered sports car. That said, the wide sill you need to navigate to climb into the GT does mimic an exotic supercar.
Under the bonnet there’s a useful frunk (or froot) that easily has enough space for charging cables, with charge points set to be hidden behind hatches in both front fenders.
Luggage space in the rear boot is also impressive, with enough room for four cases with a further deep bin lurking beneath the boot floor.
It’s not known if cars delivered to Australia will come with a full-size spare, a space-saver or simply an air compressor and sealant.
We’ll all have to wait a little longer before we can let you know if Polestar has truly achieved its aim of creating the ultimate all-electric GT with the 2024 Polestar 5.
But from where we were sitting, it’s hard to not be wowed by the prospect of a fast, arguably more entertaining and better-riding alternative to a Porsche Taycan that doesn’t punish those banished in the second row when it comes to space and comfort.
Buy into its striking looks and the classy, well-designed (and well-built) cabin, and the Polestar 5 has all the right ingredients to encroach into EV GT territory inhabited by a raft of European sports-luxury marques.
As first impressions go, the Polestar 5 makes a very good one and looks like it might just kick off a winning streak for the brand.
How much does the 2024 Polestar 5 RWD cost?
Price: $240,000 estimated (plus on-road costs)
Available: 2024
Powertrain: Single AC synchronous electric motor
Output: 400kW/700Nm (estimated)
Transmission: Single-speed reduction gear
Battery: 110kWh lithium-ion (estimated)
Range: 700km (estimated)
Energy consumption: To be confirmed
Safety rating: Not tested


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