2019 Volvo S60 vs. 2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S60 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 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S60 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 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the S60 and 3 Series Sedan have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S60 has 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 3 Series Sedan’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 S60 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The S60 offers optional CTA Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the S60’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The S60’s 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 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the S60 and the 3 Series Sedan 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, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Reliability

The 3 Series Sedan’s redline is at 7000 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The S60 has a 6000-RPM redline.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the S60 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The 3 Series Sedan’s standard 170-amp alternator and largest (Diesel) 180-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

Engine

The S60 has more powerful engines than the 3 Series Sedan:

 

Horsepower

Torque

S60 T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

S60 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

S60 T8 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

320i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

180 HP

200 lbs.-ft.

330i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

248 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

340i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

322 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S60 gets better fuel mileage than the 3 Series Sedan:

 

 

S60

3 Series

 

2WD

 

n/a

23 city/35 hwy

320i/Manual

 

 

n/a

21 city/32 hwy

330i/Manual

 

 

n/a

19 city/29 hwy

340i/Manual

 

T5/Auto

24 city/36 hwy

24 city/35 hwy

320i/Auto

 

 

n/a

24 city/34hwy

330i/Auto

 

 

n/a

21 city/32 hwy

340i/Auto

The S60 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 21 miles. The 3 Series Sedan must run its internal combustion engine to move.

The S60 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo S60 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the BMW 3 Series Sedan (3 to 7). This means the S60 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 3 Series Sedan every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the S60’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 3 Series Sedan:

 

S60 T5

S60 T6/T8

320i/330i

340i

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

13.6 inches

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

13 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S60 has larger tires than the 3 Series Sedan (235/45R18 vs. 225/50R17). The S60’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (235/45R18 vs. 225/40R19).

The S60’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 3 Series Sedan’s standard 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S60 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 3 Series Sedan.

The S60 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 3 Series Sedan; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the 3 Series Sedan don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S60’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the 3 Series Sedan (113.1 inches vs. 110.6 inches).

Passenger Space

The S60 has .3 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front shoulder room and .1 inches more rear legroom than the 3 Series Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S60’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Ergonomics

The S60 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 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the 3 Series Sedan, the S60 has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the S60 Inscription keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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

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