When a Suzuki Swift Sport can do 130mph and every EV SUV can rival a superbike away from the lights, a new electric performance car that doesn’t seek to boast (much) about its output is welcome. The Polestar 2 BST 270 is that car. It’s of particular interest when attention has been turned to fitting expensive chassis components instead, like custom Ohlins dampers (with simpler adjustability than the Performance Pack version), stiffer springs, a new strut brace and bespoke Pirelli tyres. The wheels hidden behind the black paint are forged alloys from the Polestar 1 super hybrid, too. Think of even recent specials where the chassis has been the focus rather than outright power – Audi RS4 Competition, the Ford ST Editions, the CS BMWs – and there’s cause to be optimistic about the BST. The standard car is pretty good already, lest we forget.
Now, the 270 being an EV, there is a smidge bit more power than standard, but it’s only the 476hp upgrade that’s available to all 2s over the air now. It also shares the pre-update styling, and is quite a handsome beast in the metal, if not quite as arresting as the actual Beast concept that previewed this car at Goodwood a couple of years back. The 25mm lower ride height works wonders for the stance, the 2 now assuredly a sports saloon rather than a not-quite-crossover – even if the stripe and black accents maybe aren’t as successful.
Like all the best enthusiast cars, the BST is crammed full of geeky details to gawp at and show off to friends: you won’t be able to resist popping the frunk and showing off the Ohlins, for example, which as remote reservoir items are adjustable right there and then rather than requiring the wheelarch lining to come off as in a Performance Pack car. (The rear dampers do still need more work, though). The gold calipers are beautiful, and the ‘POL’-branded Pirelli P Zero tyres are a neat touch. To those paying attention, the BST is clearly not just another EV, and that’s cool. Attention grabbing rather than attention seeking in the finest Scandinavian tradition.
The driving difference is noticeable immediately, as is so often the case when time and money has been lavished on the suspension. Of course, a back-to-back with normal 2s would be even more revealing, but while this 2 rides most tautly of all, it also offers a level of control and composure beyond even the Performance Pack cars. Despite chunky 21-inch wheels, the BST doesn’t thump or crash over imperfections around town, where memory suggests a normal 2 PP might have been more agitated. Though obviously not a direct rival, time spent straight after the Polestar in a Cupra Born showed how well damped the BST had been, the former clumsily smashing over the same bits of urban tarmac.
Furthermore, like so many impressive passively suspended cars, the situation improves with speed. The 2 manages its considerable mass expertly, again to a level unknown in the standard car, and is especially well sorted when it comes to quick direction changes. There’s huge confidence to take from how flat it remains, with just enough feel through the seat of the pants to gauge what’s going on. There are more traditionally engaging ICE saloons, but its good going for an EV. And the fact you could tinker with the setup to your heart’s content (albeit with more effort than simply pushing a button) offers up a new dimension that no comparable car can offer. It’s easier forming a bond with a car that has your preferred compression and rebound settings for your favourite road dialled in rather than flicking a switch. Polestar says this is an EV for performance nerds, and if ever expensive Ohlins were going to appeal to an audience, clearly it’s us lot.
The brake pedal feel is really good, too, which is surprising as Polestar only claims a lighter calliper and it didn’t seem quite so well sorted previously. With one-pedal driving not quite as finessed as some rivals – always offering a bit too much or not quite enough – you tend to employ regular braking a bit more, but that’s a pleasure with a firm, progressive pedal. (Again, the Cupra straight after showed how not to do it.) The P Zeros give mighty purchase, too, proper performance tyres that bleed away their grip rather than abandon it like eco rubber and with a satisfying turn in response: the BST doesn’t contrive an impression of being 500kg lighter, but the tyre gives you faith in the front end from the get-go.
If anything, however, the BST upgrades serve to highlight a few issues in the 2 architecture, or at least this evolution of it. Because while the damping seems to get better with more speed and more commitment, even without any tinkering, it’s at that point that some inherent limitations are exposed. The Polestar will never send more than 50 per cent of its torque rearwards, and even then, seems to do so reluctantly, with the front axle giving up (or spinning up) first. Hardly the worst problem in the world, but when asking BMW i4 M50 money for a car – not far off Porsche Taycan prices, in fact – the nitty gritty of limit handling does come into the equation. Especially when building such an overtly enthusiast focused offering.
The fact that the 2 isn’t on a bespoke EV platform – the CMA toolkit is also used for ICE and hybrid Volvos – probably does cost it the last bit of dexterity the best can offer. Even the ride height drop doesn’t give the car the snake belly COG of some rivals, and the lack of a more rear biased drive mode does limit the fun somewhat. Here’s hoping the recently updated 2, with the “increased rear-wheel drive feel”, gets the BST treatment in time. Polestar could probably spend a little longer on the steering at the same time, which, despite the new tyres and suspension, doesn’t shine. It’s not too bad, but, again, its obvious lack of feedback is underscored by the dynamic nuance being teased out by the rest of the chassis.
Regardless, it’s an exceptionally easy car to like. Not one for the masses, obviously – it’s too expensive, too incrementally improved, too focused on detail and mostly unconcerned with silly numbers. But we’d’ve cheerily driven it much longer and further and agonised over the settings – an investment of time and effort few EVs come close to earning. Having met Polestar’s enthusiastic development team, you get the inkling they would’ve taken the BST’s evolution even further had they been given free rein over the model’s various imperfections – yet the firm definitely gets credit for overhauling what already seems like a fast-ageing product, and rendering genuine driver-focused improvements. A bonafide, tyre-chewing thriller the 270 is not, though perhaps it’s more interesting this way – certainly, it is undeniable evidence that its maker cares about the same things as the rest of us, and is committed to making time spent behind the wheel a pleasurable one. Who could possibly argue with that in this day and age? Not the 40 nerds due to take delivery, that’s for sure.
SPECIFICATION | POLESTAR 2 BST 270 EDITION
Engine: 400V Lithium-ion battery, 78kWh capacity, twin AC synchronous electric motors
Transmission: Single-speed, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 476
Torque (lb ft): 502
0-62mph: 4.4 secs
Top speed: 127mph
Range: 287 miles (WLTP), 150kW max charging