Son's Automotive Group Compares 2009 BMW X5 VS 2009 Volvo XC90 Near Buford, GA

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2009 BMW X5

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2009 BMW X5

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2009 Volvo XC90

Safety Comparison

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All Wheel Drive is standard on the X5. But it costs extra on the XC90.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the X5’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The XC90 doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The X5 offers optional parking sensors to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The XC90 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The X5 offers optional BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The XC90 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies.

Both the X5 and the XC90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

The X5’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the XC90’s (12 vs. 10 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X5 for 1 year and 14,000 miles longer than Volvo pays for maintenance for the XC90 (4/50,000 vs. 3/36,000).

Reliability Comparison

The X5’s reliability is better than the XC90’s. In Consumer Reports, the X5’s reliability is 29% better.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics which show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 48 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 22nd.

Engine Comparison

The X5 3.0si’s standard 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl. produces 25 more horsepower (260 vs. 235) than the XC90 3.2’s standard 3.2 DOHC 6 cyl. The X5 4.8i’s standard 4.8 DOHC V8 produces 39 more horsepower (350 vs. 311) and 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 325) than the XC90’s optional 4.4 DOHC V8.

As tested in Car and Driver the X5 4.8i is faster than the Volvo XC90 V8:



Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.6 sec

18.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.8 sec

7.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

92 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the X5 gets better fuel mileage than the XC90:




6 cyl./Auto


14 city/20 hwy


6 cyl./Auto

15 city/21 hwy

14 city/20 hwy


14 city/19 hwy

13 city/19 hwy

The X5 has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the XC90 (22.5 vs. 21.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the X5 4.8i’s brake rotors are larger than those on the XC90:

X5 4.8i


Front Rotors

13.7 inches

13.2 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

12.1 inches

The X5 stops much shorter than the XC90:



70 to 0 MPH

165 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the X5 has larger standard tires than the XC90 (255/55R18 vs. 235/60R18). The X5 4.8i’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the XC90 (F:275/40R20 & R:315/35R20 vs. 255/50R19).

The X5’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the XC90’s standard 60 series tires. The X5 4.8i’s optional 275/40R20 front and 315/35R20 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the XC90 V8 R-Design’s 45 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X5 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The XC90 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The X5 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The XC90’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The X5 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The XC90’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X5’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the XC90 (115.5 inches vs. 112.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X5 is .4 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than on the XC90.

The X5 4.8i handles at .82 G’s, while the XC90 AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the X5 3.0si is quieter than the XC90 V8 AWD:



At idle

39 dB

51 dB


73 dB

77 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The X5 has 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the XC90.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the X5’s middle row seats recline. The XC90’s middle row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the X5 easier. The X5’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 30 inches, while the XC90’s liftover is 32 inches.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the X5 offers an optional power rear tailgate, which opens and closes completely automatically by pressing a button on the key fob. The XC90 doesn’t offer a power tailgate.

Ergonomics Comparison

The X5 offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and navigation instruction readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The XC90 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The X5’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The XC90’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left down on the X5 the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the XC90 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The XC90’s standard power locks don’t automatically lock the doors. The X5’s standard doors lock when a certain speed is reached. This is an important feature for occupant safety. Locked doors are proven to open less often in collisions, and they are also effective in preventing crime at traffic lights. (The power lock’s automatic feature may have to be activated by your dealer.)

The X5’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The XC90’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the X5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The XC90 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the X5’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the XC90’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

The X5 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The XC90 doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

When the X5 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The XC90’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

With optional voice command, the X5 offers the driver hands free control of the navigation computer by simply speaking. The XC90 doesn’t offer a voice control system.

Wireless connectivity is optional on the X5, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Volvo doesn’t offer wireless connectivity on the XC90.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the X5 owner. The Car Book rates the X5 with a number 5 insurance rate while the XC90 is rated higher at a number 8 rate.

The X5 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the X5 will retain 62% of its original price after two years, while the XC90 only retains 51% to 55%.

The X5 is less expensive to operate than the XC90 because of its higher resale value and lower insurance rate. It also costs $750 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the X5 than the XC90, including $105 less for a water pump, $122 less for a starter, $56 less for fuel injection, $263 less for a fuel pump and $410 less for a power steering pump.

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