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Virtual Adviser's™ opinion
Two significantly similar cars, no doubt about that. Still, each one has something different to offer. Having both cars powered by diesel engines and utilizing the 5-door wagon body style within the same 'Luxury car' segment, the only major difference here really is their wheel drive configuration (rear for the BMW and front in the case of the Volvo). The first one has a BMW-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 218hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 5-cylinder, 20-valves 163hp engine designed by Volvo.Safety
A starting point here would be to take a look at the results from European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) tests which were performed on both of the cars, with the same number of safety stars gained in the process. Still, apart from the official crash test results there are other things we need to be aware of. Both vehicles belong to the luxury car segment, which is generally a very good thing safety-wise, but that fact doesn't break the tie between the two cars. Furthermore, taking kerb weight as an important factor into account, the German car offers a marginal difference of 9% more metal.Reliability
I don't like generalizing things when it comes to reliability, although it does seem that Volvo does have a slight advantage, when all the models are taken into account. That's the official data, while our visitors describe reliability of BMW with an average rating of 4.2, and models under the Volvo badge with 4.6 out of 5. Some independent research have also placed 5 Series as average reliability-wise, and V70 is more or less at the same level.We should definitely mention that owners of cars with the same powertrain as the German car rank it on average as 3.2, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 4.9 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
BMW is undoubtly more agile, reaching 100km/h in 2.7 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 236 kilometers per hour, 26km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy the winner has to be the Swedish car, averaging around 4.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (63 mpg), in combined cycle. We can't ignore that 18% difference compared to the German car.
Volvo is apparently more reliable, not too much, but just enough. The most important thing when deciding between any two vehicles should always be safety, both passive and active. In my opinion, everything taken into account, the German car offers slightly better overall protection and takes the lead. It all continues in the same direction, with BMW being considerably quicker, thus putting more smile on driver's face. It does come at a cost though, and that's the fuel consumption... No mistake, whatever you decide here, but I'd still go for the Volvo. Anyway, that's the most objective conclusion I could've came up with and it's based solely on the information found on this website. Aspects such as design, practicality, brand value and driving experience are there for you to measure them out. In case you have two minutes to spare I invite you to define your needs, desires and budget and see which car would be chosen by the virtual adviser™, among thousands of similar, yet so different vehicles.