2020 BMW 7 Series vs. 2019 Volvo S90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The 7 Series has standard Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The S90 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the 7 Series xDrive’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The S90 doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the 7 Series helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then projects the image on the windshield, near the driver’s line of sight and even aims one of the vehicle’s headlights in the direction of the person or object. The S90 doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the 7 Series and the S90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

There are over 15 percent more BMW dealers than there are Volvo dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 7 Series’ warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 7 Series has a standard 950-amp battery. The S90 only offers a 800-amp battery.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 7 Series’ reliability 58 points higher than the S90.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 7 Series second among large premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The S90 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 35 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 82 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 21 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Engine

The 7 Series has more powerful engines than the S90:

Horsepower

Torque

740i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

335 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

745e 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid

389 HP

443 lbs.-ft.

750i 4.4 turbo V8

523 HP

553 lbs.-ft.

M760i 6.6 turbo V12

600 HP

627 lbs.-ft.

S90 T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

S90 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

S90 T8 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

The 7 Series’ standard fuel tank has 4.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T6’s standard fuel tank (20.6 vs. 15.9 gallons).

Transmission

The 7 Series’ launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The S90 doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 7 Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the S90:

740i/745e

750i

S90 T5

S90 T6/T8

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

15.5 inches

12.7 inches

13.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

14.5 inches

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

The 7 Series stops much shorter than the S90:

7 Series

S90

70 to 0 MPH

151 feet

161 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 7 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The S90 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 7 Series has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The S90’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The 7 Series offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The S90 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The front and rear suspension of the 7 Series uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the S90, which uses coil springs in front and transverse leafs springs in the rear. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The 7 Series offers an available active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Volvo doesn’t offer an active suspension on the S90.

The 7 Series has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The 7 Series’ height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The S90 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 7 Series’ wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the S90 (126.4 inches vs. 120.5 inches).

The Alpina B7 handles at .97 G’s, while the S90 T6 Momentum pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The 750i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the S90 T6 Inscription (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the 7 Series uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The S90 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 7 Series a Large car, while the S90 is rated a Mid-size.

The 7 Series has 12 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S90 (114 vs. 102).

The 7 Series has 2.1 inches more front headroom, 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 4 inches more rear legroom and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the S90.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the 7 Series’ available rear seats recline. The S90’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The 7 Series has a larger trunk than the S90 (14 vs. 13.5 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the 7 Series is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the S90. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

A Condition-Based Service Display is standard on the 7 Series to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes and vehicle inspection based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Volvo doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the S90.

Ergonomics

The 7 Series’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S90 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the 7 Series has standard extendable sun visors. The S90 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The 7 Series has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the car heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the S90.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW 7 Series has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The S90 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 7 Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Volvo S90 isn't recommended.

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

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