Just after lunch on Friday 1st July 2011, my motoring year may have just peaked. At a little after 2pm I was treated to a passenger ride in what is probably one of my favourite concept cars of all time, the Volvo C30 Polestar. That’s right, the 405 bhp, all-wheel-drive, fire breathing monster that’s unlikely to ever make it into production. What’s more, the ride took place on the fabled Goodwood hill at the Festival of Speed 2011. I can summarise the whole experience in one four letter word – epic.
Firstly, your eyes are drawn in by the magnificent Polestar-Blue paintwork, a colour that puts me in mind of Porsche Maritime Blue. Indeed, following our trip up the hill, a representative from Porsche was at pains to make this point clear!
Then there’s the noise. The sublime sound of the 2.5 litre 5-cylinder unit from the standard T5 is taken to another level, helped in part by the concept car’s straight-through, centre mounted twin exhaust system. Take my word for it, the C30 Polestar is very, very noisy inside the cabin. And that’s a good thing.
Inside, the car is dominated by suede and a pair of rather brilliant racing seats, but otherwise the interior is standard C30 fare. That means the floating console remains and the car is started using the original key. A starter button would be nice, surely?!
As you’d expect from a 400 bhp family hatchback, the C30 Polestar is blisteringly quick. Under acceleration you stay pinned to the back of your seat and it feels much, much quicker than the 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds suggests. The adrenalin rush was intoxicating enough from the passenger seat, so only my driver, Alex Storckenfeldt can say how good it feels at the wheel. Going on the basis that he was taking every opportunity to ‘give the C30 some beans’, I’d say it felt rather good.
The Goodwood hill itself is such an evocative little track. The narrow lane is cocooned by a line of hale bales, which only go to heighten the overall experience. As does the infamous wall on the left hand side, so I’m thankful that the C30 Polestar is left hand drive, meaning it wasn’t me that passed just inches away from its face. The grandstands, bridges and lines of spectator rush past your eyes in such a blur and no sooner have you come to terms with the fact that you’re actually on the Goodwood hill, the climb is over. Heart thumping and adrenalin flowing, there’s as much drama and excitement in one minute of the Goodwood hill than you’d expect from a whole afternoon on a track day. Wonderful.
Of course, being PetrolBlog, I did make an attempt to capture the whole event on the iPhone. The results are, as usual, rather mixed. It was going OK until the phone decided to stop filming, so I’m afraid this is a little like watching the men’s final at Wimbledon, only to miss the winning shot. D’oh.
I have to say a HUGE thank you to Volvo Car UK for making the passenger ride happen and to Alex Storckenfeldt for taking the wheel. The ex-Swedish Touring Car and Formula Renault driver raced alongside Lewis Hamilton. Alex is typically Swedish, softly spoken, modest and an all round top bloke. I salute you, sir!