You'd be forgiven for not knowing what a Polestar 2 is, let alone this BST 270 version. Polestar was once the performance division of Volvo, before it was hived off as its own brand to stand alongside the Swedish firm, and it only launched in Ireland at the start of 2022. But it's already making inroads into the electric car market with the Polestar 2, a chunky looking five-door fastback that offers something different to the Tesla Model 3. Indeed, the original concept car that previewed the Polestar 2 was one of a pair that were revealed by Volvo in 2016, with the other becoming that firm's XC40.
Both cars share the same running gear, but Polestar has now introduced a high-performance version called the BST 270. The BST name is an abbreviation of 'Beast', the name of a one-off Polestar 2 prototype that appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2021, while 270 is the number of BSTs that will be built for global consumption, with just 40 of them allocated to the UK and Ireland.
In the metal
The Polestar 2 is a handsome looking car to start off with, but the BST updates give it a bit more visual muscle. A lot of the BST's equipment can be had on a Polestar 2 Long Range if you add the optional Performance pack, but there are still some bespoke touches for this version. The suspension is lowered by 25mm for starters, while the diamond-cut 21-inch alloy wheels are exclusive to the BST. You can also add a black racing stripe that runs from nose to tail for a racier look, while there's also the option of a matte grey wrap, although we think that the pure white bodywork is also pretty effective.
Other additions include bespoke Pirelli P Zero tyres, gold Brembo brake callipers and gold valve caps, while the Öhlins Dual Flow Valve dampers (another trick piece of kit that come as part of the Performance pack) are augmented by an aluminium strut bar that stiffens the car's front end for improved steering response and handling. More adjustment of the suspension settings is possible under the bonnet on the BST 270 specifically.
Inside, the Polestar 2 demonstrates the firm's minimalist design ethic, although there isn't much to differentiate the BST 270 from the standard car. We would have liked to have seen a personalised touch just to help the BST 270 stand out a little more, like suede-effect trim for the steering wheel, or a bespoke drive mode selector, for example.
As it is, the cabin's minimalist look isn't quite as stripped back as you'll find in a Tesla Model 3, and that means it's simple to get along with. There's a Google-based infotainment system that's operated via the large 11.5-inch central touchscreen, while Polestar is keen to point out that its cars feature sustainable materials, so you get '100 per cent vegan' WeaveTech leather-style seat trim and waste-minimising Black Ash trim on the dashboard.
The BST 270 does feature a couple of option packs from the Long Range model that are fitted as standard. The Plus pack adds a 13-speaker, 600-watt Harman Kardon sound system, panoramic roof, a heat pump to help save battery energy, a heated steering wheel and rear seats, heated screen wash jets (incredibly effective in the recent cold snap), extra LED interior lighting and a bag holder in the boot.
On top of this, there's the Pilot pack. This adds pixel LED headlights and a suite of driver assistance functions, including adaptive cruise control with lane assist, rear cross traffic alert, park assist and a 360-degree camera system.
As already mentioned, the BST 270 is very similar to the standard Polestar 2 inside, and that means you get the same amount of space, too. That means rear access is a little snug through the narrow back doors, but overall cabin space is fine, really, if not necessarily class-leading. The boot is acceptable, too, with 405 litres of space on offer, while a shallow 35-litre 'frunk' under the bonnet is a handy place to keep the car's charging cables. You'll want to open it just to look at the exquisitely finished Öhlins adjustment reservoirs found there.
The Polestar 2 BST 270 features two electric motors for four-wheel drive and a total power output of 476hp, while there's also a significant 680Nm of torque on tap. However, add the Performance pack to the standard Long range Dual motor version of the Polestar 2, and you'll get the same power upgrades as this limited-edition model. What it doesn't get is the same chassis enhancements as the BST 270.
Whichever way you look at it, this is a seriously fast car. It doesn't pipe in fake engine sounds to add to its driving thrills, instead it just delivers smooth performance. The Öhlins dampers are manually adjustable for compression and rebound, although how many owners will actually go to the trouble of changing the settings remains to be seen. Surprisingly, there aren't as many options in terms of electronic drive settings that can be adjusted.
Not that it feels like the BST 270 needs it. It's claimed that Polestar's engineers tailored the BST 270 for track use, but while we weren't able to try it on a circuit, the car certainly feels more agile than the standard machine on typically twisting country roads. The stiffer front end helps the BST 270 deliver great steering feel and helps you know exactly what the Pirelli P Zeroes are doing up front, further boosting the car's agility.
On slippery winter roads and in the Sport setting for the stability control system, the Polestar 2 is a blast. It's simple to get the rear end kicking out under provocation, but it's also easy to catch before the front motor pulls the car back into line.
The trade-off for this sporty feel at higher speeds is a firm ride at lower speeds. Our car came with the manually adjustable dampers in a medium/firm setting, and the car certainly felt stiff when trundling around town, thumping over potholes and bumps. At least it smooths out on the motorway, where the Polestar 2 still is a relaxing long-distance cruiser.
How long that distance is will of course depend on weather conditions. Polestar quotes a range of 462km from a full charge, although the freezing conditions of our test drive - plus the car's sporty character - meant we didn't get near that figure. We did achieve efficiency of 27kWh/100km over about 500km of driving, though, and a range of about 400km from a full charge is reasonable when compared with the official maximum.
What you get for your money
The Polestar 2 range starts from €51,135 for the Single motor model with a 69kWh battery, while the Long range models feature the 78kWh battery (75kWh usable) as found in the BST 270 here. With the Dual motor set-up, the Polestar 2 costs €63,850, while the Performance pack bumps this up to €70,270, so the €83,500 asking price for the BST 270 isn't quite the steep jump that it first appears. That's especially true when you consider all of the extras you get, such as the unique wheels, enhanced chassis upgrades and lowered suspension, as well as the Pilot and Plus packs. Overall, the BST 270 isn't bad value for a limited-run model.
This special edition Polestar 2 won't be for everyone, but it does show that Polestar hasn't forgotten its roots in motorsport. It's a lot of fun on the right road, although the stiff suspension means it's an acquired taste around town, and we wonder if anybody will really bother with the effort of adjusting the Öhlins dampers beyond their factory settings.
In some ways, the BST 270 is a bit out of sync with the rest of the eco-conscious, sustainable resource-focused Polestar range, but we're glad that it exists. It bodes well for the future of electric performance cars, even if only a select few buyers will be able to experience it for now.