The midsize luxury sedan scuffle: Volvo S90 vs BMW 5 Series


When it comes to luxury sedans, it’s comfort and amenities that matter. And while having a dynamic drive and good fuel economy is a plus, those who are in the market for executive cars rarely sit behind the wheel and have gas money to burn. What they’re after are roomy interiors, comfy seats, and advanced connectivity — with a dash of opulence and luxury, of course.

Today, we pit two of the most popular vehicles in the segment: the Volvo S90, and the BMW 5 Series. We'll break down the differences between both midsize luxury sedans to help you pick which among them is the best.

Let’s start by checking at some stats.


Volvo S90:

  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 4,969mm x 1,879mm x 1,440mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,941mm

BMW 5 Series:

  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 4,936mm x 1,868mm x 1,479mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,975mm

The BMW 5 Series does have a slight advantage in terms of height allowing it to stand taller than the Volvo S90 by a hair. Its wheelbase is also longer. In terms of overall length, the Volvo S90 slightly edges the BMW 5 Series.



Both cars look sleek and sophisticated from the outside with very minimal embellishment. The BMW 5 Series sports the iconic kidney grille paired with adaptive LED headlights, and LED fog lights. Depending on the variant, you can either have 19- or 18-inch light-alloy wheels. The Volvo S90, on the other hand, dons the brand’s hallmark badge at the front coupled with LED Illumination headlights which can automatically switch between dipped and full beam. And although the S90 is only offered locally in a single variant, it can be had with either 22-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels or 21-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.

With the same simple and elegant design cues, both cars are neck and neck, exterior-wise.


Inside is where you see the difference between executive models and daily drivers.

The cabin of the Volvo S90 boasts the best of Scandinavian design and Swedish craftsmanship. Exquisite details, such as the diamond-patterned starter button, Orrefors crystals, and linear walnut trim, can be found in the interior. The cockpit boasts a touchscreen center display in portrait mode that can be used even while wearing gloves. The instrument panel automatically adjusts brightness, plus an optional HUD projects information onto the windshield. Climate control, navigation, media, and phone can be operated using the voice control function.

Seats on the Volvo S90 are designed to provide exceptional support with bolsters and extending seat cushions. Passengers sitting in the rear get the same level of comfort with optional heating, and plenty of legroom.

BMW’s 5 Series models are also packed with similar interior amenities. The 520i Sport and 520i Luxury models offer seats in Dakota leather upholstery while the 530d Luxury model comes with seats in exclusive Nappa leather upholstery. Across the board, all three models offered locally come with sport leather steering wheels. The 530d Luxury has the best interior features among the three with electrically adjustable comfort seats, lumbar support for the driver and front passenger, trim finisher in fine-wood trim, dark burled walnut with pearl chrome highlight, and velour floor mats.

Because of the large selection, the Series 5 models have to offer, they make for a better choice when it comes to finding the right interior.


Under the hood, the S90 from Volvo sports a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC diesel engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Depending on the trim level, you can either have BMW TwinPower Turbo, in-line four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission (520i Sport and 520i Luxury) or a BMW TwinPower Turbo, in-line six-cylinder diesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission (530d Luxury).


Both cars offer the best in terms of safety with the Volvo S90 having features like Volvo City Safety, which automatically applies the brakes when a collision is imminent, and Volvo Steering Support, which helps you to steer away from danger as effectively and safely as possible. The Volvo S90 also boasts a rigid safety cell constructed from ultra-high-strength boron steel to protect the car’s occupants.


The 5 Series from BMW like the BMW Active Protection, which pretensions safety belts, return electric seats to upright positions, and closes windows when the onboard computer detects signs of tiredness and the BMW passive protection for pedestrians — a similar technology to the aforementioned Volvo City Safety.

In 2017, both the Volvo S90 and the BMW 5 Series received a five-star Euro NCAP rating.

Pricing and Variants

BMW 5 Series:

Volvo S90:


If we're looking at variety, the BMW 5 Series model offering makes it the winner of this scuffle. While both cars do offer optional accessory packages, having different options right off the bat makes deciding easier even for the pickiest of luxury car shoppers.

Photos from Volvo and BMW

Also read: 

BMW updates 5 Series, adds electrified powertrain options

Volvo and Geely-backed ECARX to develop new infotainment platform

Volvo to go full electric by 2030

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