2021 BMW 5 Series Sedan vs. 2021 Volvo S60

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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A passive infrared night vision system optional on the 5 Series Sedan helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The S60 doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the 5 Series Sedan and the S60 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

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There are over 23 percent more BMW dealers than there are Volvo dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 5 Series Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 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 18th in initial quality. With 34 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 31st.

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 2019 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 7 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Engine

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The 5 Series Sedan has more powerful engines than the S60:

Horsepower

Torque

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid

335 HP

332 lbs.-ft.

M550i 4.4 turbo V8

523 HP

553 lbs.-ft.

S60 T5 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

S60 T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

S60 Recharge 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Consumer Reports the 530i 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder is faster than the S60 T5 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder:

5 Series Sedan

S60

Zero to 30 MPH

2.9 sec

3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

7.3 sec

As tested in Motor Trend the 540i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder is faster than the S60 T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder:

5 Series Sedan

S60

Zero to 60 MPH

4.9 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.5 sec

14.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

106.2 MPH

99.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the 5 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the S60:

MPG

5 Series Sedan

RWD

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

25 city/32 hwy

AWD

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

23 city/31 hwy

M550i 4.4 turbo V8

17 city/25 hwy

S60

FWD

T52.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

21 city/32 hwy

Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the 5 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Volvo only offers a regenerative brake system on the S60 T8.

The 5 Series Sedan has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the S60 FWD’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The 5 Series Sedan has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the S60 AWD’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 15.9 gallons).

Transmission

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The 5 Series Sedan’s 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 S60 doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 5 Series Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the S60:

530i

M550i

S60 T5

S60 Polestar

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

14.7 inches

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

The 5 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the S60:

5 Series Sedan

S60

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

114 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 5 Series Sedan has larger standard tires than the S60 (245/45R18 vs. 235/45R18). The 5 Series Sedan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the S60 (F:245/35R20 & R:275/30R20 vs. 235/45R18).

The 5 Series Sedan’s optional 245/35R20 front and 275/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the S60’s optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 5 Series Sedan offers optional 20-inch wheels. The S60’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 5 Series Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The S60 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 5 Series Sedan has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The S60’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The 5 Series Sedan 540i/M550i 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 S60 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The front and rear suspension of the 5 Series Sedan uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the S60, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

The M550i offers an available adjustable 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 S60.

The 5 Series Sedan offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The S60’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 5 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 4 inches longer than on the S60 (117.1 inches vs. 113.1 inches).

The M550i xDrive handles at .92 G’s, while the S60 Polestar pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The M550i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the S60 R-Design AWD (24.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 25.8 seconds @ .71 average G’s).

Chassis

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The front grille of the 5 Series Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The S60 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 540i is quieter than the S60 Momentum:

5 Series Sedan

S60

At idle

38 dB

42 dB

Full-Throttle

68 dB

75 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 5 Series Sedan a Mid-size car, while the S60 is rated a Compact.

The 5 Series Sedan has 2.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S60 (98.8 vs. 96).

The 5 Series Sedan has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the S60.

Cargo Capacity

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The 5 Series Sedan has a much larger trunk than the S60 (14 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the 5 Series Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the S60. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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The 5 Series Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S60 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

A power rear sunshade and manual rear side window sunshades are optional in the 5 Series Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The S60 doesn’t offer a rear or rear side window sunshades.

The 5 Series Sedan’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. Optional Remote Control Parking will park and retrieve your car remotely: press a button and watch it park itself. This is ideal for tight locations. The S60’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park and it doesn’t offer remote control parking.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the 5 Series Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 5 Series Sedan with a number “1” insurance rate while the S60 is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 5 Series Sedan is less expensive to operate than the S60 because it costs $345 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 5 Series Sedan than the S60, including $309 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/26

The BMW 5 Series outsold the Volvo 60 Series by almost two to one during 2019.

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