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.

Specifications

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 plug-in hybrid cars 2021
Skoda Superb iV
Best cars

Best plug-in hybrid cars 2021

The best plug-in hybrid cars offer great fuel economy and very low running costs as long as you keep their batteries charged
17 Feb 2021
New Volvo C40 Recharge expands pure-electric range
Volvo C40
Volvo C40

New Volvo C40 Recharge expands pure-electric range

Coupe-SUV model to join XC40 P8 Recharge in Swedish brand's zero-emissions line-up
2 Mar 2021
Volkswagen Tiguan hybrid review
VW Tiguan hybrid
Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen Tiguan hybrid review

The plug-in hybrid VW Tiguan is comfortable, relaxing and good to drive – but no official efficiency figures are available yet
22 Feb 2021