Polestar’s Tesla Model X and BMW iX rival has been revealed with prices starting from $140,000.
After months of drip-fed tid-bits and more than the occasional teaser image, Polestar has finally torn the covers off its aptly named third model and its first electric SUV: the all-new Polestar 3. It’s available to order in Europe now through Polestar’s website, although Australian pricing and specifcations are yet to be confirmed. Pricing overseas indicates a starting price here will be from around $140k.
Rivals for the new Polestar model include the BMW iX and Audi e-tron, plus the Lotus Eletre and Tesla Model X.
The Polestar 3 is the Swedish firm’s first bespoke EV. In fact, it’s the first car to use the brand-new SPA2 platform developed by its parent company Volvo to underpin larger electric cars, including its zero-emissions successor to the much-loved XC90, due in November.
There are two versions of the Polestar 3 available; the standard Long Range model with an official range of 610km, and a Performance Pack car with a 580km range. The latter is priced from $150,000 and can do 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds.
For reference, at exactly 4.9m long, the Polestar 3 is 53mm shorter than the current Volvo XC90, as well as being a little lower and a little narrower, but its almost three-metre-long wheelbase is nearly identical to the Volvo’s. Some typical Polestar styling cues include a full-width ‘light blade’, frameless mirrors and flush door handles, plus an evolution of the brand’s signature ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights.
However, the Polestar 3 does feature some unique elements, such as an ‘S-Duct’ at the front to feed air over the bonnet and aerodynamic fins on the rear bumper. And unlike the boxier BMW iX, the Polestar’s roofline slopes gently towards the rear as it approaches a large spoiler, also designed to improve efficiency.
Both the Long Range and Performance Pack models feature a 111kWh (107kWh usable) battery, offering a range of 610km and 580km respectively. That puts it in direct competition with the BMW iX, which in its longest-range form can cover 610km fully charged. The latest Tesla Model X Long Range has a range of just under 570km.
It’s the same story with performance; at launch the Polestar 3 is only offered with a rear-biased, dual-motor powertrain for all-wheel-drive and 360kW in the Long Range version, good for 0-100km/h in five seconds flat. The Performance Pack bumps power up to 380kW and 910Nm of torque, simultaneously slashing the sprint from a standstill to 4.7 seconds. Both cars have a 210km/h maximum speed.
Additional features include torque vectoring, adjustable regenerative braking, adaptive air suspension and active dampers as standard. Polestar says the suspension and dampers on its “electric performance SUV” can make adjustments based on road conditions once every two milliseconds.
Thanks to a maximum charging speed of 250kW, a 10-80 per cent top-up takes just 30 minutes – enough to cover more than 480km in the Polestar 3 Long Range. A full charge from an 11kW wallbox will take 11 hours, but expect a normal 7.4kW wallbox to do the same job in around 15 hours.
The Polestar 3’s interior is both very similar and very different to the brand’s previous offerings. The cabin is still a very minimalist affair, with the only physical control being a volume dial on the centre console – everything else is controlled though the 14.5-inch central touchscreen. It’ll run an evolution of the Polestar’s Android Automotive infotainment system, with over-the-air update capabilities and Google maps among other services built-in.
Other standard kit includes the nine-inch digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel, a 360-degree parking camera and a powered tailgate, plus a heat pump to more efficiently warm the cabin and pre-condition the battery before charging. That’s before the vast array of driver assistance features, including adaptive cruise control, two on-board cameras for detecting driver fatigue, and a radar system which can scan for children or pets left inside the car and adjust the climate settings accordingly.
The cabin itself is finished with a variety of sustainable materials such as MicroTech fabrics, fully-traceable wool and animal welfare-certified leather, complimented by a panoramic glass roof and ambient lighting. The boot measures 484 litres, which is just 16 less than the BMW iX offers, but unlike its chief rival, there’s a 32-litre frunk in the Polestar’s nose. If you need more space, the rear seats fold down giving you 1411 litres to play with.
All launch models come with Polestar’s Pilot Pack and Plus Pack as standard, with the latter adding luxuries like cabin air filtration, heated rear seats, a 25-speaker Bowers & Wilkins stereo and even soft-closing doors. Meanwhile, the Pilot Pack includes goodies like a head-up display, parking assist and adds lane centering to the adaptive cruise control.
In total, there are five radar modules, five external cameras and twelve ultrasonic sensors to dotted the large electric SUV to feed data to its safety systems, which can be expanded with the optional “Pilot Pack with LiDAR” that’ll become available towards the end of 2023. This adds three extra cameras and four additional ultrasonic sensors to scan the environment in real time, supporting the possibility of autonomous driving further down the line.
Order books in Europe for the Polestar 3 are now open, but first deliveries are not due to begin until late 2023. The large electric SUV will be manufactured both in China and the US, alongside Volvos at the company’s Ridgeville plant in South Carolina. The Polestar 3 is expected to arrive in Australia in 2024.
Sometime after that, most likely in 2026, the drop-top Polestar 6 will go into production. The road-going version of the stunning Polestar O2 concept will use the same bonded aluminium platform and 650kW dual-motor powertrain as the Polestar 5 currently being developed. No other details have been revealed, but the first 500 examples of the Swedish Tesla Roadster rival are spoken for already.