Update: Polestar has just announced more plans for the Polestar 0 - the first EV with zero emission manufacturing
These days Polestar may be best known for the Polestar 2, a performance-centric electric car, but it started off life developing racing cars. It’s a fact that Polestar clearly hasn’t forgotten, and likely explains the existence of the Polestar 2 Arctic Circle prototype.
The car is based on the standard Polestar 2 anyone can go out and buy right now. However, it’s been specifically designed with winter rallying in mind — taking full advantage of the environment in Polestar’s native Sweden.
Driving on snow and ice can be tricky at the best of times, so going for a performance route in those conditions sounds a little bit crazy. But according to Polestar’s chief chassis engineer Joakim Rydholm, himself a notable rally driver, tuning the car on snow actually comes with some advantages.
Rydholm claims that it “feels like slow motion and with better accuracy” adding “With such low levels of grip, we can feel and analyze the dynamics at a much slower pace than on tarmac, which means we can really fine-tune the way our cars behave, down to the smallest details.”
Still, the Arctic Circle has needed some modification to optimize its performance in the harsh winter environment. The car’s power has been boosted from 392bhp up to 469bhp, while the torque has risen from 487lb-ft up to 501lb-ft.
Other changes include an extra 1.18 inches of ride height, 19-inch studded winter tires for improved grip, and tweaked three-way performance dampers from suspension-makers Öhlins. Inside are springs that are 30% softer than the production-model Polestar 2, and Polestar claims that the dampers feature auxiliary adjustment chambers to improve traction control.
Polestar has even added a “prototype launch control system," which can be accessed via wheel-mounted paddles. Details are almost non-existent, but no doubt Polestar has optimized the system to perform in conditions that may prove too slippery for other launch control systems.
All of this, according to Polestar, gives the Arctic Circle “the mechanical credentials to be quick and agile on snow and ice." Rydholm added that all these features “are particularly noticeable when you enter a bend completely sideways, with a bigger-than-usual smile on your face, and in total control.”
On a more practical level, the Arctic Circle also comes with four Stedi Quad Pro LED front lights, for better visibility on murky winter days, and a carbon fiber skid plate on the front bumper to better protect the car’s underbody. Polestar even included recovery straps and a carbon fiber snow shovel — just in case.
The Polestar 2 Arctic Circle will not be going into production, sadly. Not that there’s going to be much demand for a winter-friendly rally car. Still, considering the automaker's performance credentials, it seems likely that the Arctic Circle’s lessons can be applied to future Polestar cars.
In the meantime, if you want to figure out how to drive your own car in the snow, be sure to check out our how-to guide. But maybe don’t try and pull off some high-speed maneuvers on public roads.