BMW X5 PHEV vs Volvo XC90 T8 - Which is the better buy?

Shaun · Jul 05, 2020 11:32 AM

BMW Malaysia recently unveiled the BMW X5 PHEV, priced from RM 440,745 (without SST). Meanwhile, the Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription Plus goes for RM 391,150 (without SST).

Volvo XC90

We’ve yet to get our hands on the X5 so we won’t get into driving impressions. Instead, we’ll walk through the spec sheets of the BMW X5 xDrive45e and the Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription Plus.


Underneath the bonnet of the BMW X5 xDrive45e lies a 3.0-litre B58 turbocharged straight-six petrol engine that does 286 PS from 5,000 rpm to 6,000 rpm and 450 Nm from 1,500 rpm to 3,500 rpm.


The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that also houses an electric motor that does 113 PS and 265 Nm, allowing for a combined system output of 394 PS and 600 Nm. Claimed electric range is up to 87 km.

In the XC90 T8, a 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged 4-cylinder engine powers the front wheels, making 320 PS/400 Nm. At the rear axle, there’s an electric motor that provides 87 PS/240 Nm, giving a combined output of 407 PS/640 Nm. Volvo claims up to 50 km of pure electric range.

Given the smooth nature of straight-six engines, we’d expect the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid powertrain to be more refined.


Dimensions and weight
  X5 xDrive45e XC90 T8
Length (mm) 4,922 4,950
Width (mm) 2,004 1,958
Height (mm) 1,745 1,776
Wheelbase (mm) 2,975 2,984
Weight (kg) 2,510 2,350

Both cars are fairly close to each other in exterior dimensions, at just centimeters apart.

However, the BMW X5 xDrive45e is 160 kg heavier than the XC90 T8. This is likely attributed to the much larger battery (24 kWh) on the X5 compared to the XC90 (11.6 kWh). Not to mention the larger engine as well.

Both are on 20-inch wheels but the X5 has a staggered setup whereby the rear wheels are wider than the front, measuring 305/40 R20 at the rear and 275/45 R20 at the front. The XC90 wears 275/45 R20 at all corners.


Inside the Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription Plus, the seats are upholstered in Nappa leather, dashboard and door panels are covered in leather, and a matte finish wood trim.

The Plus model gets the 1400-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system with 19 speakers. The finishing touch would be the Orrefors crystal gear knob.

Over to the X5 xDrive45e, there’s also wood trim but finished in gloss. And the infotainment screen is horizontal, measuring at 12.3-inch, which is also the size of the digital instrument display.

It gets 464-watt Harmon Kardon sound system with 14 speakers and rear seat entertainment featuring dual 10.2-inch touchscreens.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems

The BMW X5 xDrive45e is equipped with Driving Assistant package that bundles AEB, LDW, RCTA and blind spot monitoring. No adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow here.

The Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription Plus gets the full suite of IntelliSafe with AEB, LKA, CTA, BLIS, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, and Run-off road Mitigation.

There’s also Pilot Assist that works from 0 - 200 km/h (that is, until the 180 km/h speed cap is implemented), it can give steering assistance from stationary up to 140 km/h.

So there we have it, a quick run through between the BMW X5 xDrive45e and the Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription Plus. Based on the spec sheets alone, the XC90 has the upper hand especially with a more comprehensive ADAS and a lower price. 

But how it drives and rides compared to the X5 may be another story. As usual, we’d suggest testing both cars before deciding between the two.