2021 BMW 5 Series Sedan vs. 2021 Volvo S90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The 5 Series Sedan offers optional 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.

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 S90 doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the 5 Series Sedan 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, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 5 Series Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 82 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S90 was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

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 S90:

Horsepower

Torque

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid

335 HP

332 lbs.-ft.

M550i 4.4 turbo V8

523 HP

553 lbs.-ft.

S90 T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

S90 Recharge 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the 540i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder is faster than the S90 T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder:

5 Series Sedan

S90

Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

11.1 sec

13.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.2 sec

14.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

109 MPH

101 MPH

Top Speed

155 MPH

133 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the 5 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the S90:

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

S90

AWD

T6 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/32 hwy

The 5 Series Sedan has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The 5 Series Sedan has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T6’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 S90 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 S90:

530i

M550i

S90 T5

S90 T6/T8

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

14.7 inches

12.7 inches

13.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

The 5 Series Sedan stops shorter than the S90:

5 Series Sedan

S90

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

107 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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The 5 Series Sedan’s optional 275/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the S90’s optional 35 series tires.

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 S90 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 S90’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 S90 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 S90, 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 S90.

The M550i xDrive handles at .92 G’s, while the S90 T6 Inscription pulls only .88 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The M550i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the S90 T6 Inscription (24.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s).

Chassis

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The 5 Series Sedan is 4.3 inches shorter than the S90, making the 5 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 S90 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The 5 Series Sedan has 1 inch more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the S90.

Cargo Capacity

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The 5 Series Sedan has a larger trunk than the S90 (14 vs. 13.5 cubic feet).

The 5 Series Sedan’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The S90 Luxury Package doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the 5 Series Sedan 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 5 Series Sedan to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, spark plug replacement and brake pad replacement, 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

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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 S90 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The 5 Series Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the S90’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

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 S90’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park and it doesn’t offer remote control parking.

Model Availability

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The 5 Series Sedan is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S90 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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The 5 Series Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 5 Series Sedan will retain 36.99% to 39.18% of its original price after five years, while the S90 only retains 34.68% to 35.58%.

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 2020/10/27

The BMW 5 Series outsold the Volvo 90 Series by almost 10 to one during 2019.

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