Compared: 2023 BMW X5 vs. 2023 Volvo XC90

This luxury SUV showdown is a classic case of head vs. heart.

Split image of a BMW X5 xDrive45e in white atop a 2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 AWD in Denim BlueBMW | Volvo


The 2023 BMW X5 and 2023 Volvo XC90 take different approaches to the midsize luxury SUV category. The X5 carries the BMW mantle of German performance and engineering with stylish interior appointments and available high-powered V8 models. On the other side, the XC90 represents a more restrained but no-less luxurious take with a focus on fuel economy.

The best vehicle for you is going to come down to a balance of needs and wants. If you want luxury with better fuel economy and plenty of cargo space, the XC90 wins. For those who want that added dash of style and crave the impressive performance of a V8 with more than 600 horsepower, the BMW offers something the Volvo doesn't.

BMW X5 xDrive45e in white, rearBMW

The X5's Pricing Is Much Broader Than the XC90's

The 2023 BMW X5 starts with the sDrive40i at about $63,000 with BMW's 335-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive. Adding xDrive all-wheel drive (AWD) commands a $2,300 premium.

Further up the ladder, the X5 M50i asks around $86,000 with a 523-hp twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, while the X5 M costs about $110,000 with a 600-hp version of the V8. The xDrive45e plug-in hybrid is available for around $67,000 with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six paired with a 111-hp electric motor for a combined 389 horsepower.

2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 AWD in Denim Blue, rearVolvo

For 2023, the XC90 sports a new set of trim level designations, starting with the Core at around $57,000 in B5 mild hybrid trim with a 247-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a 48-volt electric motor. The B6 trim level boosts the powertrain to 295 horsepower for about an extra $5,000 on the Core and adds about $4,000 to the price of the B5 Plus. The XC90 Ultimate models at around $70,000 are available only in B6 spec. All XC90s come standard with AWD.

The plug-in XC90 Recharge starts at about $73,000 for the Core, with the Plus available around $75,000, and Ultimate coming in at about $81,000 with the T8 powertrain featuring an electric motor mated to the 2.0-liter four-cylinder for a total of 455 horsepower.

BMW X5 xDrive45e interiorBMW

The BMW X5 and Volvo XC90 Offer No Shortage of Features

The M Sport Package adds 20-inch wheels, sport seats, and an M steering wheel among other features to sDrive40i, xDrive40i, and xDrive45e models. The Premium Package for 40i models includes a head-up display, wireless charging, and remote engine start.

The Executive Package adds a panoramic LED moonroof and glass control surfaces to the Premium Package. The M50i's Dynamic Handling Package tightens steering. The exciting one is the X5 M's Competition Package, which boosts horsepower to 617 and adds an M Sport exhaust, unique interior surface options, and more.

2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge interiorVolvo

Core XC90 models are available with Climate and Protection packages with optional load bars and a retractable trailer hitch. An upgraded Harman Kardon sound system is available as an option on both Core and Plus B5 models. Plus B5 models are also available with a head-up display.

Those opting for the XC90 Ultimate can go big with the Lounge package and its nappa leather seating, an air suspension, or a Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system.

BMW X5 xDrive45e in white, side viewBMW

The Volvo XC90 Mostly Beats the BMW X5 in Fuel Efficiency

The BMW X5 M is EPA rated at 13/18/15 mpg city/highway/combined, taking a hard hit in efficiency for its extra power. The X5 M50i with its less aggressive V8 engine tune returns a more wallet-friendly 16/22/18 mpg.

The X5's six-cylinder engines show well against the 295-hp XC90s, returning 21/26/23 mpg with rear-wheel drive and 21/25/23 mpg with AWD against the B6's 20/26/22 mpg. At 22/28/25 mpg, however, the B5 Core and Plus edge out the X5.

The obvious economy plays would seem to be the X5 xDrive45e and the XC90 Recharge. The BMW returns 20 mpg combined when functioning as a conventional hybrid and 50 MPGe when in EV mode with an all-electric range of 30 miles. The XC90 Recharge is good for 27 mpg combined in hybrid mode and 58 MPGe as an EV with an all-electric range of 32 miles.

2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 AWD in Denim Blue, sideVolvo

All vehicle pricing includes MSRP plus destination charges (set at the time of publication), and will be rounded to the nearest thousand.

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James Tate
James Tate has been writing about cars professionally for 15 years and he remains obsessed with them. He enjoys digging into the incredible technology of new vehicles as much as he likes the tactility and the driving experience of yesterday’s cars. He has written for a variety of legacy automotive magazines and websites.