Here's how Volvo is going to compete with high-performance BMWs and Mercedes

Volvo S60 T6 Polestar 2015.5Benjamin Zhang/ Business Insider2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 Polestar 38/40.

When it comes to racing and performance cars, Volvo may not be the first name that comes to mind.

But the reality is that Volvo is more than just the purveyor of safe, practical family transportation.

In recent years, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker has sold variants of its C30, S60, and V60 models that have been beefed by Swedish performance tuning firm Polestar.

This week, Volvo Cars announced its purchase of the firm responsible for the critically acclaimed performance cars.

“Driving a Volvo Polestar is a special experience,” Volvo Cars president and CEO HÃ¥kan Samuelsson said in a statement.

“We have decided to bring this experience to more Volvo drivers, placing the full resources of Volvo behind the development of Polestar as the model name for our high performance cars.”

Polestar Racing — which has assisted Volvo with the company’s racing efforts since 1996 — was not included in the deal and will continue to operate independently.

No financial details of the deal have been announced, but Volvo’s statement on the deal indicated existing Polestar employees will become Volvo employees.

Recently, Business Insider had the opportunity to spend a few days with one of Volvo’s 2015.5 S60 T6 Polestar sedans.

Simply put, we were impressed.

Volvo S60 PolestarVolvoLooks sharp!

In fact, I found the $US60,000 S60 Polestar to be more enjoyable than some of the industry leading BMW M cars I’ve driven.

The Volvo’s 3.0 litre turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine feels powerful and responsive. In fact, drivers could easily be convinced that it produces a lot more juice than its 345 horsepower rating.

Together with a Polestar-tuned 6-speed automatic, the car gave us a greater sense of speed than its claimed 4.8-second 0-60 mph time would indicate.

The S60’s Polestar-tuned suspension and Haldex all-wheel drive system combines to offer impressive levels of grip around corners.

At the same time, the Volvo’s seats were comfortable as expected on long drives and yet provided incredible levels of support when the driving gets dynamic.

Volvo S60 V60 PolestarVolvoPolestars at the Volvo factory.

In 2015, Volvo brought just 120 Polestar-tuned cars to the US — 40 S60 sedans and 80 V60 wagons.

For those who missed out, Car and Driver reports that the company is expected to up that figure to 274 cars for 2016. And based on how well received this year’s cars have been, don’t expect them to sit on showroom floors for very long.

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