For years, the in-house performance arm of Volvo had been turning up the capabilities and sportiness of the Swedish brand’s cars, but now Polestar is branching off on its own as demonstrated by the reveal of its first standalone car.

Called the Polestar 1, this new hybrid clearly takes its design inspiration from the gorgeous Volvo S90 flagship sedan, using the same Volvo Scaleable Platform underpinning, except in this application, it features two doors and a significantly shorter wheelbase. Helping it stand out even further from the Volvo products, the Polestar 1 features a ton of world-class performance-enhancing technology.

For example, the car uses a brand new Ohlin continuously controlled electronic suspension system. The car also packs a carbon fiber body that helps to reduce weight while also improving the car’s torsional rigidity and center of gravity.

The lower weight and advanced suspension are important here because the Polestar 1 is a high-performance plug-in hybrid. An output of 600 horsepower and more than 730 pound-feet of torque is achieved by the combination of Volvo’s Drive-E and two electric motors that power the rear wheels of the vehicle. These motors can propel the Polestar 1 on their own, enabling 93 miles (150 kilometers) of pure electric range. They also enable some clever torque vectoring capabilities to improve traction without needing to apply brakes and stop all the fun.

The brakes are unique too: made by Akebono, the car packs six-piston calipers and massive 400-mm rotors. In terms of balance, the car features a weight distribution of 48/52 front to rear.

The Polestar 1 is the first of three cars from the new brand. A second, all-electric vehicle is on the way and an SUV version is coming after that. With a production run of just 500 cars a year, the Polestar 1 will only be available through a subscription model of two or three years. The subscription allows for pickup and delivery for service and maintenance, and the ability to rent alternative vehicles from the Volvo and Polestar lineup.

Customers can order and customize their vehicle online, with a limited amount of standalone physical stores arriving as well. Customers will also be able to access their vehicle using a phone app instead of a key.

Finally, the Polestar 1 will be made in a new, under-construction Polestar Production Center in Chengdu, China, so the car should be available sometime after the facility is finished in mid-2018. The order books open today.

Polestar-tuned vehicles from Volvo have always impressed in terms of their performance, and this standalone car seems to continue that trend. It will be interesting to see how people take to the subscription model, but the Polestar 1 is an exciting step into the growth of a whole new car brand.

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