Polestar 3 - the long awaited first SUV from a 5 year old electric car brand that managed to revolutionize the EV industry, in the short time since it burst onto the automotive scene. You could say Polestar 3 is a story of plenty - it has plenty of power and torque, it has plenty of equipment and style, it costs plenty of money as well.
Polestar is aiming its first SUV at the premium performance sector. To succeed, it cannot risk being mediocre in any of the departments. It has to deliver on comfort, it has to deliver on performance and the design, it has to deliver on brand recognition as well as the value. Let’s have a closer look and see how the Polestar 3 plans to win customers away from BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Nio and many more brands competing in the most lucrative automotive market.
First is the design, here Polestar 3 retains the subdued Nordic influences for which the brand has been praised so many times. It is not a flashy SUV, it opts for purpose and function with every line having a job to do. Even the 22” wheels manage to add poise to the overall design instead of shouting “look at me - I’m huge!”
The roofline sits really low, Polestar decided to move the seats lower and offer a more reclined position than we get in other SUVs. By doing so, the passengers and the driver get a more car-like perception of space and the car feels more dynamic. The rear seats have been moved much further back to offer even more room.
The low roofline at the back helps a lot with the aerodynamics, it minimizes the turbulence behind the car and improves the drag coefficient. That’s great but the cargo area pays the price for that efficiency - 394 liters with the rear seats up is as much as an owner of VW ID.3 gets. Polestar will be quick to comment that there is additional 90 liters of storage under the trunk floor and 32 liter frunk.
The jury will be out on this one, Polestar 3 is an SUV, albeit a sporty one, and the SUV supposed to have enough room in the trunk for IKEA shopping. To be fair - once the rear seats go down, and with the underfloor storage included, the total capacity goes up to 1,411 liters - more than enough for the majority of potential uses.
The classy, under-rated design of the exterior is reminiscent of a fine, tailor-made suit. There is absolutely nothing of what we don’t need but everything the car can ever require. An amazing exercise in restraint and functionality. Take the lights - headlights feature a new take on the “double blade” theme, they include the latest technology with 1.3 million tiny mirrors adjusting constantly to illuminate the road and reduce the dazzle of oncoming traffic.
Rear lights are again minimalistic and come with the new, welcome feature that flashes in a specific pattern when it senses the car key close-by. All the front sensors are fitted behind the panel running between the headlights, just beneath the air intake that directs the airflow over the hood and onto the windscreen. All that aerodynamic work has paid off in a decent driving range - but on that, later.
Interior has a familiar Polestar whiff about it but with so much more class. Be it because of a lighter approach, roomier cabin than in the Polestar 2 or completely new materials - it oozes style, quality and yes, there is plenty of room. There are 25 speakers in the premium Bowers & Wilkins audio system with Dolby Atmos to take the experience to a completely new level.
Polestar has taken a different approach to “vegan” leather and introduced its own material which uses pine oil for production instead of the usual, old-school crude oil. There is an option of real leather as well which comes apparently from certified farms that ensure the cows live in a stress-free environment and are happy to sacrifice their existence for the pleasure of our behinds.
Let’s talk about the performance - the numbers are substantial. 360 kW or 489 HP all-wheel drive system with 840 Nm of torque in the standard Polestar 3. That is enough to catapult this 2.6 metric ton and 4.9 meter long SUV from standstill to 100 km/h in just 5 seconds. The car will continue at a rather alarming pace until it gets to 210 km/h which is its safety-limited top speed.
If the 5 seconds sprint is not enough, there is a €6,600 Performance Pack option. It ups the torque to 910 Nm but the power remains unchanged. The suspension is tuned by the Polestar Performance team and the car gets bigger, 22” wheels. The result is better handling and the 0-100 km/h sprint takes 4.7 seconds.
Safety takes a first-row seat in the Polestar 3. There are five radar modules, five external HD cameras, twelve ultrasonic sensors and the new LiDAR that promises to offer one of the best and safest autonomous driving experiences thanks to the Pilot Pack - once it becomes available later in 2023. When things go wrong, there are 10 airbags on board to protect the passengers.
Infotainment has to be one of the best on the market, Polestar has been working with Google from the start and it shows. Its latest iteration of Android Automotive OS offers simple, fluid and intuitive user interface, built-in Google Maps and all the functions and apps Android users are so accustomed to. Can it compete with Apple CarPlay? That is a good question.
Finally - the battery, the beating heart of the all-electric Polestar 3. The 111 kWh NMC battery pack is manufactured by CATL, offers 400V architecture and usable 107 kWH of capacity. It can be charged at up to 11 kW using the AC power or 250 kW when using a DC fast-charger. The latter option will see a 10 percent battery topped up all the way to 80 percent in about 30 minutes.
The driving range, thanks to all the hard work that went into the aerodynamics and the resulting Cd of 0.29, is rather good. The Long Range Polestar 3 gets a WLTP rating of 610 km and the Performance Pack ends up with 560 km, mostly due to its larger wheels.
The standard equipment list is extensive and comprehensive, the options are limited to Plus Pack, Pilot Pack and Performance Pack. The Plus Pack is actually standard for the launch model and it includes the Bowers & Wilkins audio system, the new Micro Tech upholstery, heated front and rear seats, heated windscreen, wipers and steering wheel.
All that doesn’t come cheap. At the launch, Polestar 3 is priced at €89,900 with the Plus Pack included. The Performance Pack is an extra €6,600 and the bigger wheels and the 1.3 megapixel headlights are a cost option on top of that.
Polestar 3 is a no-doubt premium electric SUV. Yes, the trunk is on the smaller side of things but potential buyers won’t be bothered by that. It has the looks and the performance to stand up to the seasoned competitors. It certainly has the price to match its ambitions. It’s an amazing piece of engineering and design, now let’s see if the buyers agree and vote with their wallets.
Polestar 3 will be manufactured in the US and in China, the production will start first in China in the middle of next year. The South Carolina Ridgeville will start production for the US market later in 2023 with first deliveries expected some time in 2024.
Here is the video from the launch, it’s about one hour long but it has a lot of interesting information and many more details:
22kw AC, please! Most European households can and have installed 22kw wall chargers. Also many free 22kw AC public chargers as well. You pay 100k and get 11kw come on :) Yes, 22kw AC might be rare in US or else, but not in Europe.
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