Polestar’s decision to transform one of Volvo’s design-led concepts into its first model left it with an important question to answer: Should it be a coupe or a shooting brake? Both were available, but executives selected the Concept Coupe introduced at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show to build the brand on. Its lead designer told us why.
The aforementioned Concept Coupe arrived as a tribute to the gorgeous P1800 introduced in 1961. It also signaled the direction stylists planned to take to completely overhaul Volvo’s design language. The Concept Estate (pictured) unveiled at the 2014 Geneva auto show looked a lot like the coupe when viewed from the front, but it took the form of a shooting brake that channeled the P1800ES launched in 1972. Both struck a chord with enthusiasts, yet it’s the coupe that entered production in 2019 as the limited-edition, 619-horsepower Polestar 1.
“I think that, when you ask some of the designers, they would have probably said, ‘Let’s do the shooting brake as well!’ They all thought it was such a cool car. But, as an archetype of a car in the GT segment, I think doing the coupe was the right move. For a brand like Polestar, it fits better because the shooting brake is a very Volvo thing to do,” said Maximilian Missoni, Polestar’s lead designer, in an interview with Autoblog.
He also shed light on why executives assigned the two-door to Polestar. Volvo has made coupes in the past, several Bertone-styled models immediately come to mind, and the 1 is closely related to the S90, so bringing it to production as a sportier alternative to the company’s biggest sedan would have been relatively cost-efficient. It’s not that straightforward, though. Simply chopping the S90‘s wheelbase while leaving the rest of it unchanged would have created a coupe positioned in a dangerously small segment of the market, and putting a Volvo emblem on the 1 — a plug-in hybrid that makes extensive use of carbon fiber — would have pelted it far outside of the firm’s scope. With a handful of notable exceptions, Volvo prefers to stay under the six-digit price threshold.
“The Polestar 1 was a car that, in its extreme nature, didn’t really fit in the Volvo lineup. It was a perfect match for the Polestar brand, however” he told us. He brings up a good point: It’s quicker, more luxurious, and considerably more expensive than any car in the Volvo range, and it’s the ideal foundation on which to build a brand on.