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Polestar 4 lands in Ireland this year costing €68,500 – can it rival the Porsche Macan?

Young brand is optimistic of the future for its sleek EV crossover, but is carmaker on rocky financial ground?

Polestar 4

No sooner has Porsche revealed its new all-electric Macan SUV than Polestar – the Volvo spin-off that very much wants to be considered a rival to Porsche – has announced an Irish price for its Macan-rivalling 4. It’s €68,500 if you’re wondering. That gets you the single-motor long-range model which combines 272hp with a claimed one-charge range of up to 610km.

Not Porsche-y enough for you? Well, that’s okay because for €76,200 you can have the Polestar 4 Dual Motor long-range which has 544hp, can hit 100km/h in just 3.8 sec, and has a still-usable range of up to 580km. Both cars use the same 94kWh battery which can be recharged at up to 200kW on a DC fast charger, and both of those prices should be considerably lower than that for an equivalent Macan too.

The 4, along with the larger and more luxurious 3, will both go on sale this year and should be in Ireland by the summer, or at least the late summer. They are critical models for this young brand, which so far has built its reputation and sales entirely on one model, the very obviously Volvo-based Polestar 2.

The 2 is a decent EV fastback saloon, but you can’t build a new brand with just the one car, and hence the importance of the new models. Equally, even the 2 is getting on a bit now, and has been replaced in most other markets by an updated version with rear-wheel drive (the current Polestar 2 is still predominantly front-wheel drive) and a longer range. Ireland will only start to get that upgraded version later this year.


As for the Polestar 4, it’s a low and sleek crossover which has one big defining feature – it has no rear window, and instead offers a view of the world behind the car via a rear-facing camera. This, Polestar says, is for aerodynamic reasons as it means that the rear part of the roof can swoop further backwards over the rear-seat passengers’ heads.

One wonders if it’s also something of a tacit admission that there’s not much point in having a rear screen if you’re not going to fit a rear screen wiper, as is the current fashion with most car makers. Whatever the true reason or reasons, Polestar claims that the rear-facing camera offers a much wider and clearer field of view than you’d get with a conventional mirror.

Low slung the Polestar 4 might be, but it should be roomy with a wheelbase that stretches for near-as-dammit 3m (9.8ft), and a boot that provides 526 litres of luggage space.

Polestar boss Thomas Ingenlath is feeling bullish about the new model’s prospects, saying: “The introduction of the Polestar 4 into all our markets through the course of 2024 is key to our success. Adding this third model to our line-up tackles the premium performance class in the D-SUV segment. Polestar 4′s innovative interpretation of an SUV coupe offers great interior space and a stunning appearance.”

Polestar is also bigging up the 4′s environmental performance. Quite apart from the fact that it will never be sold with a combustion engine, the company claims that the factory where it is made – in Hangzhou Bay, China, as it happens – uses a mixture of hydroelectric and solar power, while the aluminium used in the body and battery comes from low-carbon smelting techniques.

Inside, many of the cabin materials are recycled or eco-friendly, and even the bits of real leather that are used come from Scottish farms that have been rated by the Animal Protection Index. Polestar claims that the 4 long-range, single-motor version has a cradle-to-gate carbon footprint of 19.9 tCO2e, while the long-range, dual-motor model has one of 21.4 tCO2e. The company remains the only one to fully release its estimated full-life CO2 emissions for its cars.

Will it be enough, though? Polestar has been in the news for the wrong reasons lately, confirming that it’s going to axe 450 jobs worldwide – about 15 per cent of its workforce – citing “challenging market conditions”.

While Polestar does expect to start turning a profit in 2025, it will rely on cash injections from its parent companies – Volvo and the Chinese carmaker Geely, which essentially owns both brands – until then. Because Polestar was spun off as a publicly traded company, that fact and Polestar’s reduced sales forecasts for 2024, have spooked investors, with one leading industry analyst suggesting that Polestar may have to become a private company once again if it’s going to navigate these choppy financial waters.

In fact, Bernstein analyst Daniel Roeska – who made the private buyout suggestion – has also been quoted as saying that Polestar is “on a road to nowhere” because it hasn’t made dramatic price cuts to match Tesla nor incoming competition from Chinese giant Geely. Polestar has since said that it will increase its cost-cutting efforts to try to boost its profits.

The competition in this sector is seriously heating up, with not only Porsche revealing the similarly-specified Macan this week, but Jeep also joining the party with the first official images of its sporty, long-ranged Wagoneer S SUV. That too is claimed to have 600hp, and be able to sprint to 100km/h at similar rates to that of the Polestar 4, and the new STLA-Large platform on which it rides is claimed to have a maximum range of 800km if it’s specified with the maximum 118kWh battery pack. The Wagooner S’s tall, blocky styling will likely mean a range rather closer to the 600-odd-km of the Polestar 4, but it will certainly be a contender.

Because Jeep is part of the vast Stellantis Group, this STLA-Large platform will also be used by Alfa Romeo, Maserati and DS, increasing the pressure on Polestar from brands with which buyers are already familiar. “Our goals for our STLA platforms are ambitious but this is what our customers need from us today,” Stellantis chief executive Carlos Tavares said.

“Creating a family of vehicles from a well-engineered set of components that is flexible enough to cover multiple vehicle types and propulsions, over-performing any of our current products, will address each of our iconic brands’ customers. The flexibility and agility of this platform is its hallmark and will be a driving force for our success in the shift to electrification.”

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Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring