Polestar I6 or Polestar Drive-E?
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    1. #1
      Junior Member
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      Salt Lake City, Utah
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      Polestar I6 or Polestar Drive-E?

      Fairly simple inquiry. A late model XC60 is at the top of my list to replace my VW Passat but one of things I hate about my Passat is that the 6spd Auto is crap. There are no faults, the software is such that I feel more shifts than I should and I find it stumbles over it's gears and jolts occasionally. I want to avoid this with the XC60. Looking through the threads in here, it seems the consensus is that Aisin 8spd is much smoother than the Aisin 6spd with the 6cyl motor. As far as motors go, I greatly prefer the inline-6 to a four cylinder for numerous reasons such as less strain on the motor, sound, long-term durability. (a twin charged 4-cyl design just screams trouble to me)

      Either way, I will add the Polestar tune and I want to know if it will sharpen AND smooth the shifting in the 6spd auto.
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    3. #2
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      The Polestar optimization (according to their website, at least) does modify the shift logic and programming. However, on the T6 6-cylinder models with the 6-speed auto, they are a bit of a high maintenance unit as well. They like regular fluid changes with high quality fluid (such as Toyota T-IV or Redline D4 or Mobil 1 3309) and if not taken care of well, the valve bodies will start to malfunction and cause similar issues to your VW with shift flare, rough shifts, delayed, shifts, and harsh engagement. Luckily, this is a very well known issue, and valve body rebuilds are (relatively) cheap and (relatively) easy, around $600-900 for a valve body rebuild and about $500 in labor to swap it out. The transmission itself is rather robust and reliable, as long as the valve body is functioning correctly.

      I've had several models with the AW 6-speed and i'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about them.

    4. #3
      I think the older gen II transmissions were more often affected with jerky shifts than the later model year ones. As for the engine itself I think the 6-cyl is a no-brainer. Same performance, better noise and about the same gas mileage. I don't think buying the VEA T6 is to ask for problems but I still think the 6-cyl by design seems like a better engine. Lower stress and a timing chain to name two things.
      "Just change all 4 tires at the same time when needed and it feels always like a flying carpet"
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    6. #4
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      The Drive-E motors use a timing belt? That is a surprise.

      Did they make any enhancements to the transmission or valve body that makes the later model year 6spd less prone to issues?

    7. #5
      Member Bmo Pete's Avatar
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      T6 inline 6 a no brainer. The tranny in our MY15.5 has been flawless (non-Polestar) in nearly 30K miles. Honestly, I even prefer the old T5 to the new drive-e's cheap 4 cylinder noise. The 8 speed vs 6 speed is all hype. If you have this kind of torque, you don't need all those gears (hunting around). We will miss the I6 turbo when it's time to trade-in.
      Rebel Blue, the new red! Intro & Updates Link
      Current: '15 V60 T6 3.0 AWD RD Plat | '15.5 XC60 T6 3.0 AWD Ocean Race Plat
      Prior: '15 S60 T6 3.0 RD Plat

    8. #6
      Member Bmo Pete's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by nathandimond View Post
      The Drive-E motors use a timing belt? That is a surprise.
      This is an important aspect in your comparison. A belt change at around 75K miles will cost you at least $1K.

      Let me add, that the T6 I6 turbo in our V60 has been trouble free for 52K miles.
      Last edited by Bmo Pete; 05-16-2017 at 03:35 PM.
      Rebel Blue, the new red! Intro & Updates Link
      Current: '15 V60 T6 3.0 AWD RD Plat | '15.5 XC60 T6 3.0 AWD Ocean Race Plat
      Prior: '15 S60 T6 3.0 RD Plat

    9. #7
      I have the inline 6 with 86,000 miles and it's been a great engine. When I drive my wife's car and then get back in my Volvo, I appreciate the XC 60's power. Plus, it's been trouble-free so far, just routine maintenance.

    10. #8
      You should drive both, and decide which one you like better. I like my 3.0T in my S60 T6 with the P* tune but it isn't as easy to drive smoothly as many cars I've owned, with an irksome combination of jumpy throttle tip-in, inherently sloppy motor mounts with lots of lash, slushy throttle response at times, and a transmission that is neither smooth nor sporty-feeling. It sounds good at least, and has some decent balls, but it takes a bit of work to drive, and isn't an effortless cruiser if that's something you're looking for. I drove a non twincharged Drive-E V60 with the 8 speed and I liked it better in some respects than mine, and disliked other aspects. The engine sounds mediocre, at least it did in the T5 application. It did, however, cruise very quietly on the highway, and at light throttle around town, although with deeper throttle applications it sounded rather uninspiring and thrashy. It did drive with decent pep even in the low-po version, such that most people would find it thoroughly adequate if not downright peppy, were they not jaded by sportier cars they've owned and driven. Compared with much of what's out there, even the base Drive-E motor feels plenty quick and never felt underpowered. I'm sure the twincharged version feels plenty strong and could keep pace with the 3.0T version under most situations.

      Ways in which the Drive-E felt better to me included a more-linear power delivery with less abrupt reactions to throttle applications, which is likely an e-throttle tuning choice designed to make the car easier to drive smoothly, which is much appreciated when you want to find your chill without drag racing every Honda CR-V on the way to Whole Foods. It's easier and more relaxing to drive smoothly than the 3.0T but decidedly less sporty-feeling, at least the base version is, but in some respects, this characteristic makes it a better appliance for those looking for good transportation with fewer rough edges. It seems to have more sound deadening, which is quite likely in part a result of Volvo trying to hide the coarse 4 banger engine sounds from the discriminating entry-lux customer. The motor mounts felt firm and did not feel sloppy, contributing to the smooth and precise throttle response without any of the jerkiness that plagues the 3.0T drivetrain. The 8 speed transmission is wonderful and shifts like it's decades newer than the decidedly retro-feeling 6AT, providing smoothness when driving gently, and clicking off positive shifts at WOT. It's a thoroughly refined transmission, or at least it seemed that way with my limited seat time in the V60.

      Both setups have their pros and cons, and they are very different in character, but again, I'd drive both and see which combination of attributes you prefer.
      2011 S60 T6 with Polestar tune
      13.1 at 101 mph

      Current mods: KW V3 coilovers, DO88 fmic, Ferrita downpipe, Powerflex "race" torque mount inserts, more to come...

    11. #9
      I'm glad you mentioned the aggressive throttle tip in of the T6 RD with P*. My daily driver is a Fiat 500e with a very linear, non shifting power delivery.(different power league, I know) When I hop into my wife's XC60 I can either roll it out like a grandma, or invariably slap the back of everyone's head into the headrest. If I drive it around for a few days, I mostly get the hang of it but it's still hard to get a smooth, powerful start. My previous car was a MB C450 which was just as powerful with a quicker 0-60 but the tip in was nice and smooth. The T6 RD It really leaps off the line if you give it death.

    12. #10
      Member Ocean Racer's Avatar
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      The XC60 with T6 is like having a detuned S/V60 Polestar SUV.
      All share the same engine although the Polestars have a bigger turbo compressor wheel and exhaust system. All of which you can directly swap into the XC.
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    13. #11
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      Hey guys, thanks for your input. I've driven a twin-charged XC60 but it didn't have the Polestar tune. I do not like the engine note at all and the 8-speed was not smooth through the first three gears. This week, I'm going to drive a 2016 T6 I6 RD with the Polestar tune. I have owned a few BMWs which are know for aggressive throttle tip in. It never really bothered me because I do like to drive in a spirited manner. Hopefully, this T6 will be similar. As far as drivetrain lash that was mentioned earlier, are there any aftermarket engine/transmission mounts that settle this issue without adding any vibration of another sort?

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