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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S90 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 530e doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S90 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 530e doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
Both the S90 and 530e have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S90 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 530e’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 Volvo S90 offers optional built in child booster seats. They’re more crash worthy than an added child seat because of their direct attachment to the seat. BMW doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the 530e. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; S90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.
The S90 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The 530e doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the S90. But it costs extra on the 530e.
Both the S90 and the 530e have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 around view monitors.
The 530e’s redline is at 7000 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The S90 has a 6000 RPM redline.
The S90 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder produces 28 more horsepower (316 vs. 288) than the 530e’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder hybrid. The S90 Recharge’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 112 more horsepower (400 vs. 288) and 162 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 310) than the 530e’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder hybrid.
The S90’s fuel tank has 3.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the 530e (15.9 vs. 12.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The S90 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 530e doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
The S90 stops much shorter than the 530e:
60 to 0 MPH
For better traction, the S90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 530e (255/35R20 vs. 245/45R18).
The S90’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 530e’s 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S90 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The 530e’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
The S90 T6 has a standard space-saver spare (not available on Recharged) so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 530e; 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.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S90’s wheelbase is 3.4 inches longer than on the 530e (120.5 inches vs. 117.1 inches).
The S90 T6 Inscription handles at .88 G’s, while the 530e pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
For better maneuverability, the S90 18” wheels’ turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the 530e’s (38.7 feet vs. 39.4 feet). The S90 19” wheels’ turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the 530e xDrive’s (40 feet vs. 40.8 feet).
The Volvo S90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 350 pounds less than the BMW 530e.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the S90 a Mid-size car, while the 530e is rated a Compact.
The S90 has 3.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 530e (102 vs. 98.8).
The S90 has .8 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more rear headroom and 3.9 inches more rear legroom than the 530e.
The S90 has a much larger trunk than the 530e (13.5 vs. 10 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S90’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The 530e doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the S90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 530e doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S90 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The 530e doesn’t offer headlight washers.
The S90 Inscription has standard front air conditioned seats and offers them optionally in the rear. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 530e doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.
The S90 has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The 530e doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The S90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2017. The 530e has never been an “All Star.”
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