BMW 530e vs Audi A6 TFSI e vs Volvo S90 Recharge: verdict and specifications

The BMW's sheer breadth of talents can't be challenged by the either the Audi or Volvo, but all three cars make fine and cost-effective choices

BMW 530e vs Audi A6 TFSI e vs Volvo S90 Recharge

In the end, picking a winner in this test wasn't difficult. While it's no shock to have a BMW be the best car to drive in any comparison test, the 5 Series makes the decision easy by also being efficient and well priced. It's not perfect, but it's not far off.

Both the Audi and Volvo have significant drawbacks, with the A6 feeling a little anonymous to be considered truly premium, as well as lacking driver engagement. The Volvo is an impressive package, but neither handling or comfort are as good as the BMW's and it's on the pricey side. It's a beautiful piece of design, though, as well as being the most practical car here.

BMW 530e xDrive

1st: BMW 530e – 4.5 stars

It's hard to look past the BMW in this comparison: it's the most affordable, most efficient and best-to-drive car here, so it's a clear winner. It's second best to the Volvo for practicality, but still pretty spacious and versatile as four-door saloons go. Great on-board technology seals the deal, even if we'd prefer to see a little more safety kit thrown in as standard rather than being optional.

Volvo S90 Recharge

2nd: Volvo S90 Recharge – 3.5 stars

Volvo has gone all-in on plug-in hybrid technology, recently discontinuing the petrol and diesel version of this car. What's left is an impressive offering, with great interior and boot space, classy design inside and out, and a grin-inducing amount of power on tap for rapid acceleration. But it lacks the handling finesse of the BMW and sheer refinement of the Audi, as well as being a bit pricier than the German duo.

Audi A6 TFSI e

3rd: Audi A6 TFSI e – 3.5 stars

It's tough to split the Audi and Volvo – the German car is the more up-to-date design and boasts fantastic in-car technology, as well as being the quietest and most refined of the bunch. But it's a bit dull to drive, and the Volvo just feels like the more interesting and upmarket choice – as well as being more practical, with a significantly bigger boot. The Audi is far from a bad car – it just feels a little unremarkable in this company.


CarBMW 530e xDrive M SportVolvo S90 T8 Recharge R-DesignAudi A6 50 TFSI e quattro
S tronic Sport
On-the-road price/total as tested£53,535 / £65,010£55,305 / £56,805£52,790 / £53,475
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000 miles)£21,698 / 40.5%£23,748 / 42.9%£22,119 / 41.9%
Engine2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol + electric motor2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol + electric motor2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol + electric motor
TransmissionEight-speed auto, 4WDEight-speed auto, 4WDEight-speed dual-
clutch auto, 4WD
Battery capacity12kWh11.6kWh14kWh
Power / torque288bhp / 420Nm385bhp / 400Nm295bhp / 450Nm
0-60 / top speed5.9s / 143mph5.1s / 112mph5.5s / 152mph
100% charge cost at 14p/kWh£1.96£1.89£2.30
Charge time3hrs 36mins (3.7kW)3hrs (7kW)2hrs 30mins (7kW)
Official MPG / CO2 / electric range135-177mpg / 38g/km / 34 miles105-149mpg / 44g/km / 37 miles188mpg / 35g/km / 34 miles
On-test MPG33.7mpg33mpg32.9mpg
Road tax / BiK rate £465 / 11%£465 / 11%£465 / 11%
Length / height / width4,963 / 1,483/ 1,868mm4,963 / 1,443 / 1,895mm4,939 / 1,457 / 1,886mm
Boot capacity410 Iitres461 Iitres360 Iitres

Most Popular

Best electric motorbikes 2021
Harley-Davidson Livewire
Best cars

Best electric motorbikes 2021

More and more brands are getting in on the electric motorcycle action. Here's our pick of what's out there right now...
13 Sep 2021
How much is the Benefit-in-Kind company-car tax on an electric car?
Mercedes EQA
Company cars

How much is the Benefit-in-Kind company-car tax on an electric car?

The company-car tax, or BiK rate, on electric cars is 1% during the 2021/22 financial year and will rise to just 2% in 2022/23, making a zero-emission…
13 Sep 2021
Top 12 best Motability hybrid cars 2021
Renault Arkana E-TECH hybrid

Top 12 best Motability hybrid cars 2021

Mild, full and plug-in hybrids are all now offered on the Motability scheme, for those who are looking to reduce fuel consumption and emissions but ca…
13 Sep 2021