2021 Volvo S60 vs. 2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/10/23

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.

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, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the S60 has a standard 800-amp battery. The 3 Series Sedan’s 720-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

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

Horsepower

Torque

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.

330i 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

255 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

M340i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder

382 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/10/23

The S60 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 22 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.

Brakes and Stopping

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

S60 Polestar

330i

M340i

Front Rotors

14.6 inches

13 inches

13.7 inches

The S60 stops shorter than the 3 Series Sedan:

S60

3 Series

70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

165 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

110 feet

114 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S60 has larger tires than the 3 Series Sedan (235/45R18 vs. 225/45R18). The S60’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (235/45R18 vs. 225/35R20).

The S60 has a standard space-saver spare (not available on Recharge) 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 tire options on the 3 Series Sedan don’t have a run-flat feature, either.

Suspension and Handling

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The S60 R-Design AWD handles at .94 G’s, while the 330i xDrive pulls only .89 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The S60 Polestar executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the 330i xDrive (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 26.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the S60’s turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the 3 Series Sedan’s (37.1 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The S60’s turning circle is 2.1 feet tighter than the 3 Series Sedan xDrive’s (37.1 feet vs. 39.2 feet).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the S60 Momentum is quieter than the 330i (68 vs. 69 dB).

Passenger Space

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Towing

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The S60 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The 3 Series Sedan has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the 3 Series Sedan, the S60 R-Design/Inscription has a 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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the S60 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the S60’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the 3 Series Sedan’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Both the S60 and the 3 Series Sedan offer optional heated front seats. The S60 T6/Recharge also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the 3 Series Sedan.

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.

The S60 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the 3 Series Sedan.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S60 is less expensive to operate than the 3 Series Sedan because it costs $36 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the S60 than the 3 Series Sedan, including $276 less for a water pump, $235 less for a muffler, $21 less for front brake pads, $115 less for a starter, $96 less for fuel injection, $362 less for front struts, $723 less for a timing belt/chain and $361 less for a power steering 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 2020/10/23

J.D. Power and Associates rated the S60 second among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 3 Series Sedan isn’t in the top three.

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