Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2008 Volvo C70 VS 2008 BMW 3 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2008 Volvo C70

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VS

2008 BMW 3

Safety Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo C70 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW 3 Series Convertible doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The C70 has a standard Whiplash Protection Seating System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The 3 Series Convertible doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The C70’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 3 Series Convertible doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the C70 and the 3 Series Convertible have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

In a 31 MPH side-impact test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crashes a 3300 pound sled into the side of new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volvo C70 is safer than the 3 Series Convertible:

C70

3 Series Convertible

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Structure

GOOD

GOOD

Driver

Head Protection Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Head Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Torso Injury Rating

ACCEPTABLE

POOR

Pelvis/Leg Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Head Injury Criterion

212

385

Shoulder Movement

41 mm

64 mm

Rear Passenger

Head Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Torso Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Pelvis/Leg Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Head Injury Criterion

261

Shoulder Movement

15 mm

33 mm

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the C70 is safer then the 3 Series Convertible:

C70

3 Series Convertible

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

35 mm

38 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

30 mm

34 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

POOR

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Torso Acceleration

7.9 g’s

12.2 g’s

Neck Force Rating

Low

High

Max Neck Shearing Force

35

231

Max Neck Tension

530

960

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in frontal, side and rear impact tests, and its standard Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the C70 as a “Top Pick for 2007,” a rating only granted to 24 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 3 Series Convertible was not a 2007 Top Pick.

Engine Comparison

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The C70’s 2.5 turbo 5 cyl. produces 36 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 200) than the 328i Convertible’s standard 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the C70’s engine produces its peak horsepower at lower RPM’s than the 3 Series Convertible:

Horsepower

C70 2.5 turbo 5 cyl.

5000 RPM

328i Convertible 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

6500 RPM

335i Convertible 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

5800 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the C70 Manual gets better fuel mileage than the 328i Convertible Manual (18 city/27 hwy vs. 17 city/27 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volvo C70 uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 3 Series Convertible requires premium, which can cost 25 to 50 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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For better stopping power the C70’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the 3 Series Convertible:

C70

3 Series Convertible

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.3 inches

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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For better traction, the C70 has larger tires than the 3 Series Convertible (235/45R17 vs. 225/45R17). The C70’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Convertible (235/45R17 vs. 225/40R18).

The C70 offers an optional space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 3 Series Convertible, it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the 3 Series Convertible don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the C70 is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the 3 Series Convertible.

Passenger Space Comparison

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The C70 has .2 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front legroom and 2 inches more rear legroom than the 3 Series Convertible.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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The C70 has a larger trunk with its top up than the 3 Series Convertible with its top up (12.8 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

With its convertible body style, valet key and remote trunk release in the glovebox, the C70 offers cargo security. The 3 Series Convertible’s non-lockable folding seat defeats cargo security.

Ergonomics Comparison

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The 3 Series Convertible’s power locks don’t automatically lock the doors. The C70’s standard power locks automatically lock the doors when a certain speed is reached. This is an important feature for occupant safety. Locked doors are proven to open less often in collisions, and they are also effective in preventing crime at traffic lights. (The power lock’s automatic feature may have to be activated by your dealer.)

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