2023 Polestar 2 BST Edition 270: Double the Price, Double the Fun – Forbes | CarTailz

Although this one doesn’t sport the massive racing stripe that some versions will sport, the Polestar 2 BST Edition 270’s big wheels and huge brakes are an obvious visual signal of its performance intent. North Star

Last summer, Polestar confirmed plans to build a new high-spec version of its only currently-production model, the Polestar 2. The 270″ adds adjustable Öhlins shocks with removed reservoirs for the front dampers, and lower and stiffer springs that lower the ride height by 25 millimeters.

Polestar plans to build just 270 examples – hence the numerical nomenclature, which also refers to a one-off experimental version of the 2 that served as a hillclimb specialist at the Goodwood Festival of Speed ​​in 2021. But these tweaks could hint at the future performance of Polestar products.

With the company being spun off from Volvo’s former tuning arm, many were excited to see just how hot this new 2 Series would be. I had a chance to find out during a Polestar-sponsored media ride earlier this month that meandered through the ridges and through the canyons of the Santa Cruz Mountains south of the San Francisco Bay Area.

As fog blew in from the Pacific Ocean and rain began to blast the redwoods, conditions made for a near-ideal scenario to explore the capabilities of a Swedish EV with some Scandinavian rally-inspired tweaks.

More than straight line speed

When first announced it looked like the BST would lead the 2 Series with more power not available on lower spec models, but since then the Performance Pack has also received powertrain tweaks to match the claimed 476 hp and 502 lbs. Foot torque to match BST now supplies. Performance electrics often deliver torque with the power of Thor’s hammer for dramatic straight line speed, but they are often heavy and less nimble than conventional high-performance cars when the road is twisty. The BST 270 is not like that.

Suspension modifications include adjustable Ohlins shocks with 22 clicks from firmest to softest damping, adjustable lowering coil springs, and a strut tower brace hidden under the frunk’s plastic fairing. A set of staggered 21-inch wheels measuring 8-inches front and 9-inches rear are reminiscent of the original Polestar 1, with 245mm-wide Pirelli P-Zero tires wrapped around replacing the Performance Pack’s Continental SportContact rubber.

Even on Skyline Boulevard’s slippery waves, which often give way to jagged dips and bumps, the grippier Pirellis offer plenty of traction to unleash all of the BST’s prodigious low-end torque.

2023 Polestar 2 BST Edition 270
The only hardware you can see inside the car are those Öhlins tanks supporting the heavy-duty shock absorbers underneath. The frunk fairing hides a massive strut tower brace. North Star

Those road imperfections also affect the 2’s skateboard-style battery layout much more than the softer fairings, but Polestar reps set the Öhlins to the seventh-firmest setting, allowing for a whole new level of confidence while riding corners interspersed with the 4,650-pound EV. Keep in mind that this car weighs almost twice as much as a Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Polestar also offers the ability to select three levels of power steering, three levels of regenerative braking and a sport mode that increases throttle response while disabling electronic stability control. Especially for the expanding EV market, this ability to fine-tune driving dynamics becomes all the more important now that even a Chevy Bolt feels fast off the assembly line.

And the BST offers handling that few other electric vehicles can match. Hard braking with four-piston brakes causes enough suspension compression to produce near-instant turn-in, although selecting the Standard steering setting, as opposed to Firm, actually offers a bit more feel for aggressive riding.

Lifting off the brake pedal and using the accelerator regen allows for excellent weight transfer, albeit admittedly after a period of getting used to. And even with ESC off in Sport mode, Polestar has purposefully programmed the twin motors to send more power to the rear wheels before the fronts connect and pull the BST out of corners in classic rally car fashion.

2023 Polestar 2 BST Edition 270
Many electric cars, like classic muscle cars, are great for going straight, but the Polestar 2 BST Edition 270 is also there to enjoy winding roads, just like a much lighter sports car. North Star

Even without cranking the Öhlins to their softest setting, the all-electric BST still definitely fits in as a spirited commuter car for city dwellers who might enjoy an occasional morning canyon carving.

The EV market is sure to evolve between now and whenever the upcoming 3, 4, 5 and 6 actually arrive – two crossovers, a stately sedan and an open roadster respectively. The 2’s mid-level range of 247 miles will also inform consumer decision-making before those future models promise more range and refinement.

EV detection can be fun

The BST now seems more like a project to prove that electric vehicles can be fun. That’s an important message given the company’s “pure play” ethos (an investing pun intended to serve as the company’s guiding principle), but it also acknowledges competition from cars like the BMW i4 and Tesla Model 3 Performance.

Polestar’s superb interior design never disappoints, but a few sportier touches to up the fun factor might have been a nice addition to the package: a flat-bottomed steering wheel, for example, rather than just the gold-toned Öhlins seat belts, and thigh bolster seats are also included Performance pack available.

How many buyers choose the exterior graphics package also remains a question. While the racing stripe serves to differentiate the BST and emphasize the rarity factor, the bold style clashes with Polestar’s modern, minimalist lines. And can rarity really add enough panache to counter the sticker shock of a $75,500 version of an entry-level EV, even a premium EV? The answer is a resounding yes, as every last BST out of the 47 going to America has already been sold.

At this price, the BST is just $7,000 less than a base Porsche Taycan and about the same amount more than the top-spec BMW i4 M50, which has 536 horsepower and slightly more range.

2023 Polestar 2 BST Edition 270
The Polestar 2 BST Edition 270 offers the same kind of beefed-up take on a regular sedan like the Subaru WRX or Volkswagen Golf R, but in a state-of-the-art electric package. North Star

Old school Polaris

Still, the attractive design looks even better when flexed slightly over the larger wheels and lower-profile tires. Compared to a Performance Pack, which rides a little softer on rougher roads with noticeably more body roll, the BST sacrifices minimal comfort while offering a lot more performance at the traction limits. It feels like a tuner car, the kind of Polestar that was once built for Volvo, only an electric one.

Also critical is the opposite of the base long-range single motor, which often feels like the chassis is being outdone by the prodigious torque delivered by one motor to just the front wheels. The upgrades improve the drive significantly.

As a counterpoint to both, Tesla is building a single-engine, rear-wheel drive Model 3 that eschews any torque steer in the name of almost excessive rear-firing skid — quite possibly the most fun car in the lineup, and one that costs about half a BST. But the Model 3 could never keep up on the winding roads Polestar chose to showcase the capabilities of its latest creation.

A panoramic roof also proved surprising on the BST – perhaps a premium pricing consideration, but a slicktop might have saved more weight. Still, Polestar in the BST guise manages to hide the 2 Series’ weight fairly well, which is a solid step forward in chassis tuning. And if Polestar can create an EV as fun as the BST based on its cheapest offering, just imagine how well the Precept and 02 roadster concepts will drive as later production vehicles.

For now, the BST sits at the top of the Polestar lineup as a rare rally or hillclimb specialist for die-hard EV buyers who demand a little more fun from their commuter cars.

BMW provided accommodation and travel to make this possible Forbes wheels to bring you this first-person driving report. Even though Forbes wheels sometimes attends manufacturer-sponsored events, our reporting is independent, unbiased and aims to provide consumers with an objective view of every vehicle we test.

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