BMW 3-Series Touring: Germany versus Sweden

Volvo V50 feels quicker than BMW

Time for a face-off. Simon Harris, Parker's consumer editor, is running a Volvo V50 2.0-litre diesel - an direct alternative for anyone considering a premium, family estate. We swaped keys to see what we thought of each other's cars.

The first thing that strikes me is how lively the V50 feels in comparison. The acceleration feels more immediate and stronger, which is odd because on paper the 320d is both quicker to 62mph and has a higher top speed.

It's down to perceptions. The BMW's power flows so there are no noticeable steps or peaks, where as the Volvo feels quick to start with but as the revs increase the power starts to fade so you need to change gear quite quickly.

In the 320d the power builds progressively which is particularly useful in the 50-70mph area - typical of when overtaking on A-roads. While the Volvo feels like it is overtaking quicker you have to use at least one gear change to stay in the power. In the BMW a change down is only occasionally required to make the overtake.

Despite the better performance figures, the 320d also visits the petrol pump less frequently than the V50. Where the Volvo turns in a claimed 49mpg, the 320d averages 58mpg and thanks to a much larger fuel tank manages a full 216 extra miles between fill-ups.

 

Criteria

Volvo V50 2.0D    R-Design

BMW 320d

SE Touring

Price (including options) £26,030 £30,030
Top speed 127mph 142mph
0-62mph 9.6 seconds 8.1 seconds
Economy 48.7mpg 57.6mpg
Annual Road Tax £150 £120
Tank range 557.1 miles 773.1 miles
Boot Space 417 litres 460 litres

Current mileage: 6353

Average mpg: 47.2