Polestar opened a new “Polestar Space” in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA this week, and we stopped by to have a look at the upcoming Polestar 3 SUV and Polestar Roadster concept, which will become the Polestar 6.

South Coast Plaza is an upscale mall in an upscale area, so it’s not a terrible place to find customers looking for the hot new thing (when one random customer learned the 3 would cost over $80k, he responded “oh, that’s not bad”). Especially with its since it’s in California, which leads the nation in EV sales, and Orange County, which is one of the hottest EV markets in the state.

Both upcoming cars were on site for the Space’s grand opening ceremony on Thursday. Unfortunately we were not able to sit in the Roadster concept, but we got a chance to have a little time inside the Polestar 3.

But the cars are on the move, and only there for a short time – the 3 has already moved along, and the Roadster is only there until the end of Saturday. Since both are prototypes, they’ll be traveling around the country for various appearances. Keep an eye on Polestar’s events page if you want to find a place to check them out.

The Polestar 3 does maintain a similar shape and dimensions to other popular SUVs these days (it’s a few inches longer than the Model Y, but the same width and height). But as is common in electric SUVs, it feels more spacious on the inside than it would seem from the outside.

EVs have simpler packaging constraints than in gas-powered vehicles, because smaller motors take up less space. This can result in more interior space, and the Polestar 3 is certainly roomy on the inside.

At 6 feet tall, I fit with plenty of room in the back seat with the front seat pushed all the way back – and which was occupied at the time by a 6’4 passenger who was also plenty comfortable. Headroom and legroom are extensive throughout the car.

And it feels even more open with the massive glass roof which runs all the way to the back of the car with no crossbar.

The ventilated leather seats were comfortable and slick, but we only had a few minutes in a stationary car. The car will have a massage function, but we didn’t get to activate it yet. Interior options include leather (sourced in Scotland with animal welfare standards in mind, and by-products of the meat industry… an industry which is not sustainable), vinyl/polyester synthetic vegan interior, and, in a relatively new turn for the auto industry: wool. The wool sounds pretty cool, to me.

The interface is similar to that of the Polestar 2. While we didn’t do anything complex or dig very deep into it, it felt snappy in response to touch inputs. While many drivers consider touch inputs inferior to physical controls, one important part about touchscreens is that they at least respond without lag, and in our limited testing tapping around through the menus, the Polestar 3’s Google-powered interface felt good enough in that respect. Once again, the only companies getting touch interfaces right are EV startups, while the rest of the industry is outsourcing all of their infotainment to the owners’ phones.

We got a look under the hood as well, at the frunk space. It wasn’t particularly large – larger than the frunks in Kia/Hyundai/Genesis EV SUVs, but smaller than that in the Tesla Model Y. It would probably be a good place to store spare charging cables or other tools that stay in the car long-term, though there will also be rear under-floor storage in the trunk which would be useful for the same. We didn’t get to see the underfloor trunk storage on the prototype.

Both the front and rear of the car have small “wing”-like design features intended to maintain the profile of the car while increasing aerodynamic efficiency – similar to the R-Wing at the front of the Dodge Banshee concept.

These wings change the angle at which the car cuts through the air, reduce the total flat space at the front and rear of the vehicle, and channel air more smoothly along the top surfaces of the car (called “attached flow”). This all makes the car more aerodynamic by reducing the amount of disturbed air flowing off of the vehicle, while also adding some downforce by channeling air downward at the rear.

Under that front “wing” is Polestar’s sensor suite which it calls the “SmartZone”. An additional option is available which adds a LiDAR bump to the top of the car, which will enhance the car’s sensing abilities (and processing, through addition of an NVIDIA DRIVE Orin chip).

The Polestar Roadster concept is another thing entirely. While the 3 is coming out at the end of this year, the Roadster is still a concept, though slated to go into production as the Polestar 6. So things will likely change before it hits the road.

Since it’s so far out, it was a look-only, no-touch affair. So we’ll keep this part a bit shorter.

Polestar was showing the convertible in topless mode. The final vehicle will have a retractible convertible top. Retractible tops can add weight and complexity and reduce chassis rigidity, but Polestar says that its bonded aluminum chassis increases rigidity so much that this shouldn’t be an issue.

It recently opened an office in Coventry, UK, right in the middle of England’s “Motorsport Valley” where several Formula 1 teams are headquartered, to help develop the various performance aspects of the 6. Polestar says the 6 will have 884hp and 0-60 in about 3 seconds, and is going after Porsche in driving dynamics.

Polestar wants the 6 to emphasize its motorsport heritage, and to bring some performance DNA to the brand. It’s also one of the first cars the company will build on its own platform – the Polestar 2 and 3 are on platforms shared with Volvo, the 4 will be on a platform shared with Geely, and the 5 and 6 will finally branch out to Polestar’s own. This is where the aforementioned bonded aluminum chassis comes into play.

The Polestar 3 starts shipping in the US at the end of this year with a starting price of $84k, and the US-built version with optional LiDAR will hit the road in the middle of 2024. The Polestar 6 is slated for 2026 deliveries and we don’t yet have a price for the standard model, though an “LA Concept” special edition sold out the first 500 launch models in a week, with a $25k deposit and an expected price of $200k. So you can probably expect the base model’s price to have 6 numbers in it, rather than 5.