Need help deciding. BMW 530e or Volvo V90
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    1. #1

      Need help deciding. BMW 530e or Volvo V90

      I know its a ridiculous question. My wife already has a new xc90. I love the way the wagon looks. The BMW is a hybrid sedan. I like the volvo cars since they are less ostentatious than Merc and BMW. Which would you choose? Most people are telling me to go with BMW.

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    3. #2
      Quote Originally Posted by sunman View Post
      I know its a ridiculous question. My wife already has a new xc90. I love the way the wagon looks. The BMW is a hybrid sedan. I like the volvo cars since they are less ostentatious than Merc and BMW. Which would you choose? Most people are telling me to go with BMW.
      I have a 2015 BMW 335i and a V90 CC on order for my wife. I love driving the BMW, but I'm looking forward to the Volvo for longer trips and a bit more comfort and technology.

      I could give you more feedback in September, but that's probably too late

    4. #3
      Global Moderator GrecianVolvo's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by sunman View Post
      I know its a ridiculous question. My wife already has a new xc90. I love the way the wagon looks. The BMW is a hybrid sedan. I like the volvo cars since they are less ostentatious than Merc and BMW. Which would you choose? Most people are telling me to go with BMW.
      What is the reason for "most people" to tell you to go with the BMW?

      What are your needs, as you are considering the V90 instead of an S90?
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    6. #4
      Quote Originally Posted by GrecianVolvo View Post
      What is the reason for "most people" to tell you to go with the BMW?

      What are your needs, as you are considering the V90 instead of an S90?
      The S90 is a fantastic vehicle but I can't get use to it's rear end.

    7. #5
      Quote Originally Posted by GrecianVolvo View Post
      What is the reason for "most people" to tell you to go with the BMW?

      What are your needs, as you are considering the V90 instead of an S90?
      Most people are strictly saying BMW simply for the name and brand. Two things that are not important to me.

    8. #6
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      Always tough IMO to answer this kind of question for someone else. I think on a Volvo forum you'll get a lot of opinion favoring a Volvo, because most of the people here have made that decision for a Volvo. If you haven't done so, I think you should ask the same question on a BMW forum to get the opposition view. A lot of the opinions I fear will be very biased towards the marque of the forum. People buy cars for many reasons, many emotional, some logical.

      For my wife and I, a logical evaluation of our requirements and mission led us to a V90. I'm an engineer and typically when buying a car set up a spreadsheet with a lot of the quantitative specs of all the cars I'm considering. Then I'll calculate other things like power-to-weight ratios, etc. to try to help with understanding the expected performance. Its essentially a quick engineering trade study. We wanted a long distance touring car for some travel we intend to start (we're just retiring). For this car I considered an Audi A6, Mercedes E-class, Toyota Avalon Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Lexus GS, Acura TLX, Jag XE diesel and a Volvo S90 and started this process in 2016. Because we mostly wanted a long distance tourer, I biased my analysis towards comfort and fuel economy and of course overall cost. At first I thought we'd end up with the E-class because a diesel was available, which I liked due to its thermodynamic efficiency. But then the VW scandal hit and Mercedes stopped importing the E diesel for 2017 and the Audi diesels were gone too. The BMW 328d is too small and there is no longer a 5 series diesel and didn't want an SUV. Then I was drawn to the A6 mostly due to road tests I'd read over the years -- Audi's seem to get a lot of good press (at least in Road & Track, the mag I read religiously). I spent a lot of time on car forums for all these cars trying to learn what I could from actual owners (filtering out the brand bias if I could). I really wasn't considering an S90 at all, but I kept on bumping into it when I was reading about other cars in its class. It was getting very good press but nearly everyone (except Consumer's Reports) so I looked into it more. Then found out about the V90 and thought "station wagon", wouldn't that be a little more practical. After a lot of thought we decided on the V90, but T5 FWD (for fuel economy) Inscription (for comfort features). Doesn't seem like most people want a T5 Inscription. Now by nature, I'm a total sports car guy, own a mid-90's 911, sport bike, and think a Caterham 7 is the perfect car, so buying a Volvo is totally out of character for me. But the logic of the decision, at least to me, led to the V90.

      The thing is, these are our requirements and may bear absolutely no resemblance towards your requirements. I understand you want to get it right, I don't know how often you replace a car, but we keep them for nominally 10 years or so and I really want to get it right. Good luck with your decision.

    9. #7
      Global Moderator V70 Brad's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by sunman View Post
      I know its a ridiculous question. My wife already has a new xc90. I love the way the wagon looks. The BMW is a hybrid sedan. I like the volvo cars since they are less ostentatious than Merc and BMW. Which would you choose? Most people are telling me to go with BMW.
      What kind of car do you NEED? I have a 120 pound dog, so I need a wagon. Sedan would be out of the question, except as a second car.
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    10. #8
      I went through the same decision to make. the 530 or the S90. I went S90 for the following reasons. These are my reasons and they of course may not match up with that you believe are important in determination.

      1. Cost - The S90 is just a better deal than the BMW, To have the BMW with all i have on the S90 would have cost me about 12 grand more.

      2. Unique - There are far less S90 on the road than BMW's. and the BMW still have the stigma of being driven by A-Hole's. I am a huge A-hole, I do not need to draw attention to that.

      3. Interior - I love the interior of the S90.

    11. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by Batdog View Post
      ... I do not need to draw attention to that.
      Well, at least you're introspective.

      Quote Originally Posted by sunman View Post
      I know its a ridiculous question. My wife already has a new xc90. I love the way the wagon looks. The BMW is a hybrid sedan. I like the volvo cars since they are less ostentatious than Merc and BMW. Which would you choose? Most people are telling me to go with BMW.
      The best cars we've owned/enjoyed have been a 1996 Audi S6 Quattro Wagon and a 2002 Audi A6 allroad. Since we can no longer get replacements for those in the US, and because we are now 15 - 20 years older, we started looking around for what IS available. When Volvo anounced the V90 as being available in the US, we immediately knew what would be our next car.

      Personally, I don't drive with so much gusto as I did years ago, so I don't need super acceleration or race track handling. And since my spouse broke her back a few years ago (falling down the stairs), the comfort of the Volvo seats made the V90 an easy choice for us. The MB E400 estate seats hurt my spouses' back within the first 15 minutes of driving, even after having played with the seat position controls for some time.

      We've had several BMWs over the years, too, and really enjoyed them. I've driven cross country rallies in BMWs though all sorts of terrain. I've also driven hundred of miles north of the Arctic Circle (in the winter, on the ice roads) in four wheel drive BMWs. What a hoot!

      But this time around the V90 estate is simply what we wanted. As mentioned by others...it's a personal decision.

    12. #10
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      I think the only way to pick between those two cars you have to drive them back to back and see which one speaks to you and you like better. I know that sounds obvious, but I truly believe it is the only way to find the best fit. Both are nice cars, very hard to decide on paper without extensive test drives in my opinion. Good luck!

    13. #11
      Member matt1122's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by sunman View Post
      Most people are telling me to go with BMW.
      Most sheeple (sic) would. It's both a BMW and a sedan. Volvo is a less popular brand, and many people don't care for wagons anymore.

      Don't follow the herd. The Volvo is a far nicer car for the money. It's only competitor is the E-Class wagon, making it far more exclusive than just another German sedan. And there will be very few on the road. It's a unicorn. Car people will see one and gawk and it will make their day.

      The BMW is just another BMW. It's not special at all aside from its electrified powertrain, and that puts it just above the base line of the 530i. Alpina and M models are beautiful vehicles, and if you want a great engine the 540i and 550i offer something Volvo doesn't so I'd consider them. BMW's convertibles also offer something way above the norm. But a BMW sedan is the Honda Accord of the luxury car world, and BMW falls short of the competition in a lot of ways. The ride quality is poor with stock run flat tires. Steering feel and road feel is not like it used to be, Volvo's is actually far better in the 90 series cars. BMW's interior materials and design are generally not worth what they're charging for them, especially in contrast to the Volvo. The only impressive thing I've ever taken away from a BMW test drive is how flat the car is on an exit ramp. Who cares?

      Buying a BMW sedan probably won't leave you dissatisfied, but they are nothing special. You have experience with the XC90 and know what it's like to live with these cars. BMWs have their own quirks.

      Quote Originally Posted by sunman View Post
      Most people are strictly saying BMW simply for the name and brand. Two things that are not important to me.
      You know what you need to do. This is a case where people who don't know what they're talking about are telling others what they would do because they don't know any better. I have friends and family who are the same way and I love them, but when it comes to cars I am lucky enough to know something they don't and not be as swayed by popular opinion and brand recognition.

      Edit: And I'm not just saying this because I'm a Volvo fan. If you were asking about an Audi A7 or a Jaguar sedan or even an E-Class or A6, I'd say it was worth really considering carefully both on a test drive. But BMW sedans are a let down IMHO. They've lost their touch and are putting sales figures over what they used to stand for. They're the last luxury car I'd recommend anyone buy because if you're asking and seeking opinions and researching it like this, you probably don't want to settle for mediocre.
      Last edited by matt1122; 05-16-2017 at 01:25 PM. Reason: small correction: above the base line of the 530i
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    15. #13
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      Quote Originally Posted by matt1122 View Post
      Most sheeple (sic) would. It's both a BMW and a sedan. Volvo is a less popular brand, and many people don't care for wagons anymore.

      Don't follow the herd. The Volvo is a far nicer car for the money. It's only competitor is the E-Class wagon, making it far more exclusive than just another German sedan. And there will be very few on the road. It's a unicorn. Car people will see one and gawk and it will make their day.

      The BMW is just another BMW. It's not special at all aside from its electrified powertrain, and that puts it just about the base line of the 528i. Alpina and M models are beautiful vehicles, and if you want a great engine the 540i and 550i offer something Volvo doesn't so I'd consider them. BMW's convertibles also offer something way above the norm. But a BMW sedan is the Honda Accord of the luxury car world, and BMW falls short of the competition in a lot of ways. The ride quality is poor with stock run flat tires. Steering feel and road feel is not like it used to be, Volvo's is actually far better in the 90 series cars. BMW's interior materials and design are generally not worth what they're charging for them, especially in contrast to the Volvo. The only impressive thing I've ever taken away from a BMW test drive is how flat the car is on an exit ramp. Who cares?

      Buying a BMW sedan probably won't leave you dissatisfied, but they are nothing special. You have experience with the XC90 and know what it's like to live with these cars. BMWs have their own quirks.



      You know what you need to do. This is a case where people who don't know what they're talking about are telling others what they would do because they don't know any better. I have friends and family who are the same way and I love them, but when it comes to cars I am lucky enough to know something they don't and not be as swayed by popular opinion and brand recognition.

      Edit: And I'm not just saying this because I'm a Volvo fan. If you were asking about an Audi A7 or a Jaguar sedan or even an E-Class or A6, I'd say it was worth really considering carefully both on a test drive. But BMW sedans are a let down IMHO. They've lost their touch and are putting sales figures over what they used to stand for. They're the last luxury car I'd recommend anyone buy because if you're asking and seeking opinions and researching it like this, you probably don't want to settle for mediocre.
      The bmw you are describing is the old one, a new one is imminent, and from what Ive read is extremely comfortable, refined, drives great and has a great interior. Besides the 535i has a 6 cylinder engine which is superior to Volvo's 4...

    16. #14
      Quote Originally Posted by volvocu View Post
      The bmw you are describing is the old one, a new one is imminent, and from what Ive read is extremely comfortable, refined, drives great and has a great interior. Besides the 535i has a 6 cylinder engine which is superior to Volvo's 4...
      I don't know how it drives, but I sat in the new BMW 5 at the auto show. It was a letdown in terms of interior styling and not a big departure from the previous generation. Volvo's current generation interior is much more distinctive.

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      Quote Originally Posted by volvocu View Post
      ... Besides the 535i has a 6 cylinder engine which is superior to Volvo's 4...
      Superior in what way? Power? Torque? Fuel consumption? Number of spark plugs or connecting rods? This assertion is relevant only given a specific aspect of performance that is important to the user. If one wants a sports sedan, I might agree with you (though there would be a lot of other things I'd compare too). If one wants a more fuel efficient car with adequate performance, then I probably don't agree. I'm sure the new 5 series is a great car and I hope better than the previous model, but to judge its superiority is to make assumptions about the use to which it will be put. It isn't a black and white judgement at all IMHO.

    18. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by volvocu View Post
      The bmw you are describing is the old one, a new one is imminent, and from what Ive read is extremely comfortable, refined, drives great and has a great interior. Besides the 535i has a 6 cylinder engine which is superior to Volvo's 4...
      There is no 535i anymore, it's the 540i which would be superior. The 530e is a 4-cylinder plug-in hybrid. And from what I've read, the new 5-series is almost identical to the current 3-series and the ride and drive are about identical to the outgoing 5-series (which is to say boring and "un-BMW-like").


      Quote Originally Posted by sawitt View Post
      Superior in what way? Power? Torque? Fuel consumption? Number of spark plugs or connecting rods? This assertion is relevant only given a specific aspect of performance that is important to the user. If one wants a sports sedan, I might agree with you (though there would be a lot of other things I'd compare too). If one wants a more fuel efficient car with adequate performance, then I probably don't agree. I'm sure the new 5 series is a great car and I hope better than the previous model, but to judge its superiority is to make assumptions about the use to which it will be put. It isn't a black and white judgement at all IMHO.
      There's no replacement for displacement. The 540i's turbocharged 3.0L 6-cylinder is much faster than the S90 T6 AWD's 2.0L twincharged 4-cylinder.

      The 2.0L T6 is a fine engine, but it's more comparable to a good naturally aspirated 6-cylinder than a turbocharged or supercharged 6-cylinder. The 530e performs similarly.

      But if OP is used to the XC90 and considers its engine powerful enough for him, the V90's engine probably would be, too. ;-)
      Last edited by matt1122; 05-16-2017 at 01:42 PM.
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    19. #17
      Regarding the BMW (x)35 engine fuel economy, I regularly get low to mid 30's mpg in my 335i driving 75-80 mph. I'm guessing the S/V90 is a heavier car so it would be hard to compare, but the BMW N54 engine is definitely not a fuel hog.

      Personally, I'll always prefer the natural balance of an I6 over a four cylinder, but the Volvo engine sounds great overall as well.

    20. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by sunman View Post
      I know its a ridiculous question. My wife already has a new xc90. I love the way the wagon looks. The BMW is a hybrid sedan. I like the volvo cars since they are less ostentatious than Merc and BMW. Which would you choose? Most people are telling me to go with BMW.
      V90 basically on any level except fuel mileage, but at that price point, why worry about ~$200 extra a year. You'll easily make that up with the purchase price difference.

      Since Matt mentioned it, I wouldn't sleep on the A7 or even the new A5 sportback. For the price of an average equipped 530 or V90, you could get a well equipped A5 (even S5) sportback. Audi has really upped their game in reliability lately. Just throwing them out there, to add to your comparison.

      Don't get me wrong, I love just about everything I see in the V90, including value, but the engine options are unfortunately limited (for me) and I'm not completely sold on the all touch screen interface (I prefer more redundant buttons..ok, and a google based nav). Not doing the best sell job on the V90 am I? Well, versus the Bimmer 530e, it wins.
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    21. #19
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      Volvo just announced that it is working with Google to incorporate into their cars. I did not see if they are making it backward compatible, but that seems doubtful. Anyway, the future of a google based nav for Volvo seems closer than ever.
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      Although I've never driven a V90 or a 530e, I did have a test drive in a V90CC (back-to-back with an E400 Wagon) and did an autocross with a 540i and 540ix. I also own a 340ix (with the same engine as the 540) and an '07 V70R.

      I went with the 340 because of the sublime B58 inline-6 engine and I also like the non-touchscreen infotainment. Yet, for long distance trips I always take the V70. The seats and steering are steps above that of the 340. The 540 has some of the same attributes, including the numb steering.

      As for the V90CC, it's a wagon which is a big plus, the interior stands out, but pick the E400 wagon for it's V6 and transmission.

      As for V90 vs 530e, I would have several extended back-to-back test drives with the V90CC and the 530e before making a decision, but if the seats of the V90 as are comfortable as the V70 it would be hard to pass up on.

    23. #21
      Member matt1122's Avatar
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      I notice that everyone preferring a BMW in this thread prefers it primarily for an engine, and not the hybrid 2.0L. ;-)

      I'm curious to see where the Android-based infotainment system deal goes. It does seem doubtful it will run on the same hardware as the current Sensus, in which case it would probably be backwards compatible. We'll see. And hopefully Google maps comes along for the ride.
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    24. #22
      Thank you all for the replies. I do currently have a 530e loaded on it's way but am going to cancel it. I like the rarity of the volvo. This would be our third volvo. Wife currently has a 2016 XC90. My local volvo dealer is telling me 4 months.

    25. #23
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      Yeah, ordering right now means you're getting into MY18 orders and waiting for the summer break (they stop producing cars for a few weeks each summer).

      The V90 order list is probably getting a bit long, too. I'm sure it would be worth the wait though if you can manage it!
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