2018 Volvo V60 vs. 2018 BMW X3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo V60 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW X3 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volvo V60 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the V60 and X3 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The V60 offers optional power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The X3’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Volvo V60 offers optional built in child seats. They’re more crash worthy than an added child seat because of their direct attachment to the seat and because they provide five point harnesses like those in race cars. BMW doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child safety seat in the X3. Their owners must carry a heavy child seat in and out of the vehicle; V60 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

The V60’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The X3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the V60 and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the V60 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X3 has not been tested, yet.


The X3’s redline is at 7000 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The V60 has a 6000 RPM redline.


The V60 Polestar’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 7 more horsepower (362 vs. 355) than the X3 M40i’s optional 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the V60 T5 AWD 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (240 HP) gets better fuel mileage than the X3 xDrive30i (22 city/33 hwy vs. 22 city/29 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the V60 Polestar’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the X3:


V60 Polestar

X3 xDrive30i

X3 M40i

Front Rotors

14.6 inches

13 inches

13.7 inches

Tires and Wheels

The V60’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the X3 xDrive30i’s standard 60 series tires. The V60’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the X3’s optional 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the V60 T6’s turning circle is .4 feet tighter than the X3 xDrive30i’s (39 feet vs. 39.4 feet).


The Volvo V60 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 550 pounds less than the BMW X3.

The V60 is 3.4 inches shorter than the X3, making the V60 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The V60 is 7.6 inches shorter in height than the X3, making the V60 much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).


The V60 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The V60’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The X3’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the V60 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The X3 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The V60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The X3 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Model Availability

The V60 is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The X3 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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