Volvo XC90 T8 Versus BMW X5 xDrive 40e – Plug-In SUV Comparison Test
Autocar recently had the opportunity to run a very detailed comparison of the Volvo XC90 T8 and the BMW X5 40e.
The test route ran 190 miles and was split into two distinct parts. Part one was a 40 mile commuter route in a primarily urban setting. Part two was 150 miles of more open road, rural areas, and some mountainous terrain.
Both cars use downsized turbocharged four-cylinder engines with hopes of being able to pull off fuel economy to compete with conventional diesels. The Volvo engine, which is also supercharged, boasts 313bhp compared to the BMW’s 242bhp. Add to this that the Volvo also has the ability to engage its second, smaller motor for additional power. Needless to say, Autocar was much more impressed with the Volvo’s accessibility and power on the road.
Although both vehicles house a 9.0kWh battery, Volvo was able to maintain its seven seat configuration, while the BMW is a five-seater. Aside from seating, the SUVs ring in pretty close on space. The Volvo has a bit more trunk space, but the BMW has more comfy seats and a “useful split tailgate”.
In terms of MPG, the Volvo came out ahead at 44.6. This number could be good enough to beat a conventional diesel. The BMW fell short at 34.9.
The XC90 made it further with less battery use and maintained response and power throughout the drive. This is because the rear axle is fully electric. The X5 showed noticeable degradation of power and some hesitations similar to that of a conventional gas engine. This is to be expected since the electric motor and the gas engine are driven through the same transmission.
Volvo took the cake in ride and handling as well. It was reported to corner better, feel more balanced, and have tighter steering. The BMW steering and overall responsiveness seemed “slow and muted”.
Overall, the Volvo outmatched the BMW on all fronts. It’s proof that there may be a market for a luxury plug-in SUV that can deliver competing numbers against the conventional diesel model.
Detailed Specs Per Autocar:
Volvo XC90 T8 AWD R-Design
Price £63,555; 0-62mph 5.6sec; Top speed 143mph (limited); Economy 134.5mpg (combined); CO2 emissions 49g/km; Kerb weight 2296kg; Engine layout 4 cyls, 1969cc, turbo and supercharged, petrol, plus two electric motors; Installation Front, transverse, frontwheel drive (IC); rear, transverse, rear-wheel drive (AC); Power 401bhp at 5700rpm; Torque 472Ib ft at 2200-4500rpm; Power to weight 175bhp per tonne; Specific output 160bhp per litre; Compression ratio 10.3:1; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Length 4950mm; Width 2008mm; Height 1776mm; Wheelbase 2984mm; Fuel tank 50 litres; Range 24 miles (AC), 360 miles (IC, approx); Front suspension Double wishbones, air springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bars; Rear suspension Multi-link, air springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bars; Brakes 345mm ventilated discs (f), 320mm ventilated discs (r); Wheels 9.5Jx22in; Tyres 275/35 R22, Pirelli Scorpion Verde
BMW X5 xDrive40e M Sport
Price £56,705; 0-62mph 6.8sec; Top speed 130mph (limited); Economy 83.1mpg (combined); CO2 emissions 78g/km; Kerb weight 2305kg; Engine layout 4 cyls, 1997cc, turbocharged, petrol, plus electric motor; Installation Front, longitudinal, four-wheel drive (IC and AC); Power 309bhp at 5000- 6500rpm; Torque 332Ib ft at 1250-4800rpm; Power to weight 134bhp per tonne; Specific output 121bhp per litre; Compression ratio 10.0:1; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Length 4886mm; Width 1938mm; Height 1762mm; Wheelbase 2933mm; Fuel tank 85 litres; Range 19 miles (AC), 560 miles (IC, approx); Boot 500-1720 litres; Front suspension Double wishbones, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bars; Rear suspension Multi-link, air springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bars; Brakes Ventilated discs (f), Ventilated discs (r); Wheels 9.5Jx20in (f), 11.5Jx20in (r); Tyres 275/40 R20 (f), 315/35 R20 (r), Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT runflats