New BMW 330e vs new Volvo S60: costs

By paying extra to get yourself a plug-in hybrid executive saloon, you stand to receive incredible fuel economy and cheaper BIK tax. Surely there’s a catch?...

New BMW 330e vs new Volvo S60

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

Right now, plug-in hybrids make the most sense for company car drivers, because their low official CO2 emissions bring relatively cheap benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bills. In fact, these two are the cheapest versions of their respective model line-ups when it comes to monthly salary sacrifices.

The 330e’s lower list price makes it even cheaper than the S60, though; from next April, when tax incentives will improve for cars with low CO2 emissions, a 40% taxpayer will have to sacrifice just £169 per month. The S60 would cost an extra £30 per month.

The 330e is also much cheaper to own privately, partly because it’s so much cheaper to buy but also because it’s predicted to depreciate at a much slower rate. It’s the same story for those looking at a PCP finance deal, with the 330e again working out much cheaper. 

Both cars come with luxuries such as heated front seats and climate control, but while the 330e’s seats are leather, the S60’s are part-leather, part-fabric. Other than metallic paint and a Type 2 charging cable (£50), which allows you to use a proper charging point to charge the battery quicker, there’s no option we’d strongly recommend adding to the S60.

Volvo S60 driving

As well as the bigger wheels and adaptive suspension we talked about earlier, the M Sport Plus Pack for the 330e adds tinted rear windows, red and blue stitching on the seatbelts and some gloss black exterior trim. We’d still recommend adding adjustable lumbar support (£265) and a Type 2 charging cable (from £165), but metallic paint is thrown in. However, it’s worth noting that if you can resist adding any options and eschew the M Sport Plus Pack altogether, the price of the car dips below £40,000, meaning you’ll pay £135 annually in road tax from years two to six, rather than £455.

As for safety, both cars come with automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard, along with lane departure warning, while the S60 adds lane-keeping assistance (part of the £1250 Driving Assistant Professional Pack on the 330e). Blindspot monitoring and adaptive cruise control cost extra on both. 

When it comes to how well these cars are likely to protect you and your passengers in an accident, both scored impressive marks by class standards. The S60 proved fractionally better at protecting children in Euro NCAP’s tests, with the 3 Series edging it for adult occupant protection.

These models were too new to appear in our 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, although Volvo as a whole came a respectable 11th out of 31 brands. BMW finished a rather less impressive 21st, although the 330e does come with a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, with cover for the battery extended to six years (capped at 60,000 miles between years three and six). The S60’s three-year warranty has a 60,000-mile limit, but there’s eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first, of separate cover for the battery.

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