Tesla Model S vs. BMW i3 – Comparison & Test Drive

Test Drives | December 10th, 2013 by 76
bmw-i3-vs-tesla-s

By Jeff Southern I have always been an auto enthusiast.  Recent, I have become an electric vehicle enthusiast.  I spent about a year from July …

By Jeff Southern

I have always been an auto enthusiast.  Recent, I have become an electric vehicle enthusiast.  I spent about a year from July of 2012 until May of 2013 restoring a 1974 VW Thing and converting it to electric drive.  You can see my work and the car at www.EVThing.me.

The EVThing is a great car for cursing around town on nice days and frequenting car shows.  I absolutely love owning and driving the car.  After driving this car for a few months I knew that I wanted to also own a modern electric vehicle with more creature comforts.  I work in sales and have a sales territory that is roughly a 50 mile radius of Atlanta GA.  I have to keep a mileage log, so I know my daily driving habits quite well.

Tesla Model S vs. BMW i3   Comparison & Test Drive

I drove a Nissan Leaf, but knew that the range was not suitable for my daily needs. It was close.  I also tried the Chevy Volt which could work for my primary vehicle, but I wanted a vehicle with more electric range.  At the time, the Tesla Model S was my only option with enough range to cover my daily driving needs.  So, I scheduled a test drive.

Driving the Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S vs. BMW i3   Comparison & Test Drive

I first test drove the Tesla Model S on July 14th.  I found the car to be an excellent vehicle with only a couple of issues for me.  It was a quiet, fast car with excellent handling.  It is a large sedan with plenty of cargo space and seating for five adults.  However, I am almost 50 years old, 6’4” tall, about 230 lbs and have a bad back.  I found the low slung Tesla Model S difficult to get in and out of.  I also noticed that I had limited visibility out of the windshield.  I would have to lean forward and look up to see traffic lights and overhead road signs.  I also notice that my head hit the headliner in the back seats of the Model S.  My head also just brushed the head liner in the drivers seat.  I am not sure the seat was all the way down, although I did try to get it down as low as possible.  Since the Model S is a large sedan, I actually though there would be more room inside the car.

Tesla Model S vs. BMW i3   Comparison & Test Drive

I recently owned a 2008 Chevy Corvette that had similar issues.  It was not a deal breaker for the Corvette as I owned it for four years and enjoyed the car.  However the Model S would be a $80,000 to $90,000 car and I just would not have wanted to live with these annoyances in such an expensive sedan.  However I did like the driving dynamics of the Model S, so I put a deposit down on a Tesla Model X thinking it would likely be more comfortable for me.

The New Kid On The Block – BMW i3

Tesla Model S vs. BMW i3   Comparison & Test Drive

Shortly afterwards, I began reading more and more about the new BMW i3.  The one with the Range Extender seemed quite interesting to me and would cover about 90-95% of my driving needs on electric drive, and the REx could handle the 5-10% of the time I need an extra 5 to 20 more miles of range.  On November 6th I was able to get a test drive in the BMW i3 here in Atlanta.

My first impression was “I’ll never fit it that thing”.  (Which is ironic since I actually own a Thing).  However, when I got inside I was quite surprised at how much room it had.  I had plenty of head, shoulder and leg room.  The telescoping steering column had a good deal of travel.  It is a feature that really helps tall drivers find a comfortable driving position.  I also noticed that I had excellent vision out of the vehicle in all directions.

Tesla Model S vs. BMW i3   Comparison & Test Drive

When I got in the back seat.  I was again surprised to have more than enough headroom.  With the driver’ seat all the way back, the leg room was quite tight, but I as able to move the seat up a little and still found a comfortable driving position that also allowed me to sit comfortably in the back seat.  I did this test because I need to be able to carry three adults in my car if I intend to used it as my company vehicle. as we often carry our clients out to lunch.  I felt this vehicle would be fine for that role.  In summary,  I found the i3 to be more comfortable for me than the Model S due to the ease of entry, the upright seating position and much better all around visibility.

After my test drive, my wife, who is only 5’2”, quickly snuggled down into the i3’s driver seat and found what she described as a comfortable driving position for her.  I can assure you that it is rare for both of us to find a comfortable driving positions in almost any car due to the difference in our physical size.

On the test drive, I was impressed with the i3’s quickness.  It is not Model S fast, but still quick.  The i3 is smooth, quiet and has solid performance.  The handling is what you would expect from a lightweight BMW. It is quick, precise and well balanced.  Of course it’s not an M3 or a Corvette, but still a joy to drive.  Just like my EVThing, it actually makes driving in traffic a pleasure.

Tesla Model S vs. BMW i3   Comparison & Test Drive

I know some people do not like the look of the i3, but I find its styling to be refreshing.  To me, It looks different and futuristic. I especially like the interior.  For such a small vehicle it is amazing how much usable space this vehicle has.  There are useful little cubby holes to hold all kinds of items.  The trunk is a little small, basically a big cube.  I often carry some demo equipment around with me and the shape of the trunk is well suited to rectangular demo cases. The height of the cargo deck is IDEAL for people like me with a bad back.  It would also be great to hold a weeks worth of groceries (as the wife pointed out).  If you lower the back seats there is actually a solid cargo area for many larger items like a 50” LCD TV.

Tesla Model S vs. BMW i3   Comparison & Test Drive
Which One Would I Buy?

Just after our test drive, the wife and I both agreed (also rare) that this will be our next vehicle.  I would have ordered one on the spot if they were taking orders in the U.S. at this time.  I hope to get one as soon as they are available next year.  If it turns out be be as good as I think it is, I will request a refund of my Model X reservation.  I am sure that the Model X will be an excellent vehicle, but I think the i3 is just as great and it is about half the price and well suited to my needs and quite comfortable…. and fun to drive.

  • auaq

    Nice. Glad to know that it is a comfortable car and that there is plenty of room inside. What about the range on the i3 compared to the Tesla? That would be interesting to know.

    • sranger

      It depends on the model. The 85Kwhr model S has about 250 miles of range. The 60Kwhr has about 200 miles of range. The BEV only i3 has about 80-90 miles of range and the REx version has about 70-80 miles of EV range and about 70-80 miles of gas range without a fill up. However, you can fill the small tank in the REx i3 and keep driving it as far as you need. Then of course Tesla is building out the supercharger network which will be a nice advantage for them….

      These are different cars, with significantly different price points. However, both are quite good and well equipped to fill the role for which they were designed…

    • rebel_sal

      For those looking for a detailed and valid comparison, here’s a German car magazine, Auto Zeitung’s, detailed comparison article for

      BMW 750Li (€105,000)
      Mercedes S 500 Long (€ 107,636)
      Tesla Model S Performance (€ 95,900)

      http://www.autozeitung.de/auto-vergleichstest/bmw-750li-mercedes-s-500-lang-tesla-model-s-performance-2013-luxuslimousinen-vergleich?page=0,0

      For the record, they pick the cheaper Model S over the BMW and Mercedes;)

  • jason bourne

    Not bad for an “IKEA car.”

    Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen can suck it.

    • Michael Kostukov

      Hey, why the hate for Franz? Just because the guy designed the car of the year 2013 and 2014 (as awarded by multiple sources such as CR, Car & Driver, etc) is no reason to hate him, eh?

      P.S. IKEA is a Swedish company – not German. But you summed it up pretty well – it is an IKEA car. As in doing its job but not impressing anyone.

      • sranger

        You are right about the Model S significances. Without the Model S, there very well might not be a BMW i series…

        However, Michael, I think you are very wrong to think that the i3 will not impress people. It is a very good car and does what it was designed to do very well…

        • teslame

          i can agree with you, sranger. The i3 has it’s funky points but is backed by a real company and naturally will serve a purpose. Plus i would like to add that the model s already looks dated. Car of the future with a design from the 90s. bravo to franz from the 90s

      • jason bourne

        Just because the Tesla garnered all of those kudos doesn’t give him the right to bad mouth a competitor’s car. It’s an insecure, low-class comment.

        Again, Franz can suck it.

    • teslame

      seriously. based on that last article, he sounds like an insecure little prick.

  • Nada

    “cursing” around town? ;-)

    • Michael Kostukov

      Freudian slip. It was clearly an i3 AD – but the truth comes out unintentionally.

      • sranger

        I wrote the article and I assure you it is my honest thoughts on the two cars….

  • Vito

    The range is only 1/3 – but with 1/4th of the battery, it is realy a different car. i3 is a perfect second car, In the city for commuting, w/o dragging on a ton of batteryes…

    • Also…

      Also don’t forget that i3 only charges/discharges to 80% / 20% to maximize battery life. So you’re actually using much less battery capacity whereas the Tesla allows 100% / 0% charge/discharge. I did some calculations and the i3 electric efficiency (battery capacity vs. range) is basically off the charts compared to current EVs.

  • Michael Kostukov

    Nice job comparing Porsche Panamera to a Smart on the basis that they are both gas cars and concluding that Smart is “better” because it is 1/3 the price. That’s basically what you did – compared oranges to apples.

    Model S is a completely different car – it can seat 5+2, has cargo space of a minivan and performance of M5. It is FULLY electric and free of unnecessary clutter of a range extension engine. It can be charged for free and has 3 times the range of BEV and 2 times the range of REx I3 overall.

    I3 is just another range-extended electric drive or mediocre rande EV – depending on your choice of BEV or REx models. I’m sure it is miles ahead of Volt in terms of quality – but it is still just another Volt. Only made by BMW.

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      No one said those cars are alike, but it shows that a regular consumer looks at both. The EV segment is different than conventional one, not many options and not clear what the customer really wants. As you can see some car about range, others about space, and of course price.

      Until there are enough players in each EV segment, you will see many of those comparisons, even by consumers.

      • Michael Kostukov

        “The EV segment is different than conventional one” – this is the fallacy of this argument. The thing is – Tesla is not just competing in “EV segment”. It is the “best car ever tested” by C.R. Note the absence of “EV” in that sentence.

        It is competing against similarly priced GAS luxury sedans (such as Panamera, BMW M5, M7, Audi A7, etc). It is matching or EXCEEDING those models in sales, performance and long-term value as well. Now, i3 HAS to compete in EV segment because any similarly prices gas BMW would completely trounce it.

        Thus, there is simply no completion between Model S and i3 – so comparison has no value.

        • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

          You’re right, they are, clearly a crossover. But I have no doubt that the i3 will steal some customers from Tesla.

          • sranger

            ….

    • sranger

      Well, there is a lack of options in EV’s world right now. I believe the i3 is as good as you can do for under $50K. The model S is as good as you can do for $70-100K. These are obviously quite different vehicles…

    • fredyschiftan@aol.com

      Yep, at least it wont catch a fire in an accident!! time will tell where we tesla will be…

  • Lake Salt

    Meh, the i3 looks like a swollen hideous Prius, er something.

    • sranger

      I agree the looks are polarizing….

  • Lake Salt

    Great write up though, thank you!

  • Lake Salt

    And… I LOVE your EVThing!! Totally Awesome!!!

  • rebel_sal

    50% of the article is about how a 6’4″ (1.93cm) man fits in Tesla Model S vs BMW i3.
    Very informative, changed so many lives!:)

    • sranger

      As you get older, comfort becomes a big issue in cars….

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      As I said, some customers look for other things in cars, and being 6″3, I can resonate with him also. My biggest fear before sitting in the i3 was that it’s too small. So to me two important things were: space and range.

      • rebel_sal

        Title of your article is “Tesla Model S vs BMW i3 – Comparison & Test Drive”.
        Not “Tesla Model S vs BMW i3 – Seating Comfort & Not Bad Design”.

        Look, I’m glad you guys found a comfortable car, I just don’t understand why you would “compare” Tesla Model S which has better performance, design, safety, price tag, total cost of ownership, etc. than BMW M5 or any of the 7 Series with BMW i3 aka “Glorified Volt”?

        There you go, compare i3 to Volt, both hybrids that still use gasoline, both have electric range for “city driving”, both have boxy, bloated design (i3 is worse), both have performance of a Prius and so on.

        • sranger

          The i3 is the second best performing EV. It is not slow and certainly performs and handles much better than a Prius so your statement is simply wrong.

          The Tesla is a fun car to drive, but so is the i3…..

          • rebel_sal

            “The i3 is the second best performing EV”

            This is exactly why you shouldn’t be writing car comparisons since you don’t even know what type they are.

            i3 you test drove is not an EV. It’s a Plug in Hybrid. You could have popped the trunk and see the thing some people call “Range Extender” which is an internal combustion engine that has the performance of a lawn mower.

            Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Spark, Ford Focus Electric, Tesla Model S, Toyota RAV4, Mercedes B Class… now those are EVs.

          • sranger

            Actually I drove the BEV model as the REX units are not a valuable in the Us at this time…

          • rebel_sal

            Well my friend, you wrote

            “Shortly afterwards, I began reading more and more about the new BMW i3. The one with the Range Extender seemed quite interesting to me and would cover about 90-95% of my driving needs on electric drive, and the REx could handle the 5-10% of the time I need an extra 5 to 20 more miles of range”

            and didn’t mention anything about the actual EV version you claim to test drive.

            Anyway, I’m glad your larger than average frame finds the i3 more comfortable than the Model S and I hope you enjoy it for many years.

            The only reason I criticized you is that the title of your post is misleading. I and many others, were expecting an actual, detailed “i3-Model S Comparison & Test Drive”, not 5 paragraphs about front and rear seat comfort, 3 paragraphs about your background and two fact-free, highly opiniated paragraphs about your decision.

            Next time, that’s if you insist on comparing two cars from completely different categories, please provide a more factual, objective, comprehensive report rather than the time waster I described above.

            Thanks!

          • sranger

            I compared the two because I was interested in both. I see NO reason to apologies for that.

            I did find the i3 to be more comfortable and that is important to me.

            Unlike you I did not make childish negative and overly exaggerated statements about the Model S. I simply gave you my opinion of the two cars.

            I actually think the model s is better than the i3 in many ways. It is just not more comfortable to me and that is more important to me at my age than all out performance.

          • rebel_sal

            “I actually think the model s is better than the i3 in many ways. It is just not more comfortable to me and that is more important to me at my age than all out performance”

            Then you should have a title that fits the content of your article, maybe

            “Comfort Is Priority For Larger Drivers Hence I Picked BMW i3 over Tesla Model S”

            It’s a great article informing big & tall drivers that Tesla Model S may not be comfortable enough for them.

            Not your title “i3 vs Model S, Comparison & Test Drive”
            (Also you might want to read below comment from Weekendmoe (6’3″ dude) how much he likes his Model S)

          • sranger

            So basically you think I set out to deceive people and trick them into wasting 5 minutes of their day by reading a highly deceptive blog entry?

            I assure you that was not the case. I simply drove both vehicles and wrote a post on why I picked one over the other. I actually posted much of this in a reply to another blog entry and was asked by an editor to submit a more complete account of my experience. I did and they published it. However, It was by definition a comparison. I reached my conclusion for reasons that were important to me. I understand that they were obviously not important to you and probably many other people.

            I suspect that your real irritation is that you do not like the i3 and did not like the fact that, for my own reasons, I preferred it over the Model S.

            P.S. I did write the contents of the blog entry, but the editors of the blog selected the title…

          • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

            Hi. I would ignore all the mean comments. We already explained what the comparison was about. Can’t wait for a major magazine to do the same.

            Thank you again for entry, it’s informative for many people in your situation. We can’t satisfy everyone.

          • rebel_sal

            “I did write the contents of the blog entry, but the editors of the blog selected the title”

            Interesting… Editors picking titles for blog entries… I’ve never seen that before, sounds pretty sad actually. So you can ignore my criticism, just forward it to the blog dictators, ehm!, I mean editors.

            “I suspect that your real irritation is that you do not like the i3 and did not like the fact that, for my own reasons, I preferred it over the Model S”

            I have nothing against i3 or thousands of other models from hundreds of manufacturers. But I do have a problem when a post has a title like “Product A & B Comparison” when the actual content is how Product A is better than B if you belong to a small percentage of consumers like the author.

          • sranger

            Look, I was very interested in both vehicles and I test drove both. I see ABSOLUTELY NO REASON why I should not post my opinion on the subject….

            There are many valid reasons why people select any give vehicle. It is NOT uncommon for people to compare significantly different vehicles.

            Again, I think you just do not like my decision and that is the only reason you are upset. I can’t for the life of me see why reading a 5 minute blog entry would cause you so much pain….

            If you are that worried about wasting your time I would suggest that you not read ANY Blogs…

          • rebel_sal

            Hey, it’s not your fault, let it go. Editors picked a deceitful title for your personal experience blog, my criticism is all for them, not you.

          • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

            How is it deceitful? It’s a comparison of two cars. It could be a driving comparison, a features comparison, space, range etc….

            Let’s not get stuck on this, the article is great and it touches on some things that other people didn’t. We can all move on now.

          • rebel_sal

            Because the post is not a “Comparison & Test Drive” one as the editors titled, it’s simply a blog post about the personal comfort of a big & tall driver in an i3 over a Model S.

            Again, below is an actual comparison and performance article by Auto Zeitung magazine in case you want to learn what a “Comparison & Test Drive” post should look like:

            http://www.autozeitung.de/auto-vergleichstest/bmw-750li-mercedes-s-500-lang-tesla-model-s-performance-2013-luxuslimousinen-vergleich?page=0,0

          • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

            Last reply:

            1. Was there a comparison in the article?
            2. Was there a test drive or two?

            Could have been a far more extensive one? Sure, we will have that also.

          • rebel_sal

            Yes, there was…only if you only believe

            1. How comfortable a 6’4″ man feels in Car A vs Car B deserves “Car A vs Car B Comparison” title

            2. Someone saying “Car A drives great, we all know that but Car B is also pretty good” deserves “A vs B Test Drive” title

          • sranger

            So you lost 5 minutes of your time reading this evil deceptive blog and felt the need to waist hours of your time complaining about it…

            That makes absolutely no sense…

          • rebel_sal

            “Could have been a far more extensive one? Sure, we will have that also”

            “You” will have that?

            I thought company blogs are for actual customers’ genuine experiences, not biased editors’ attention grabbing posts. Well, at least try to keep “your” future post somewhat objective mr. editor.

          • sranger

            Let what go?

            You are the one who keeps whining about a minor issue with the title of a blog. You have already waisted more time complaining about how you were deceived than the time it took to read the post….

          • rebel_sal

            “You are the one who keeps whining”

            No need to get offensive Jeff. You should learn how to take valid criticism and improve your posts, both titles and contents, rather than name calling like a little kid in a schoolyard.

            Good luck on your future posts!

          • sranger

            You have to be kidding that you do not think you are whining about more or less nothing…

          • sranger

            You are right, the arguments get pointless after a while…

            My blogging days unfortunately go back to the 300 baud models and BBS’s…

          • rebel_sal

            “We already explained what the comparison was about. Can’t wait for a major magazine to do the same”

            Here’s a major German car magazine, Auto Zeitung’s, detailed comparison article for

            BMW 750Li
            Mercedes S 500 long
            Tesla Model S Performance

            http://www.autozeitung.de/auto-vergleichstest/bmw-750li-mercedes-s-500-lang-tesla-model-s-performance-2013-luxuslimousinen-vergleich?page=0,3

            Major magazines, like Auto Zeitung from Germany here,

            1. Know not to compare products from completely different categories,
            2. Do not put misleading titles, etc. to gain attention
            3. Run comprehensive, factual and objective comparisons before publishing articles.

            For the record, they pick the cheaper Model S over the BMW and Mercedes;)

  • Weekendmoe

    I`m 6’3″ and I had no problem finding a comfortable driving-position in the Model S. I can see traffic lights, my head toes not touch the ceiling (I have the pano roof), and the telescope steering column ensures perfect grip and dashboard visibility. The A-column is a bit big, and the mirror covers some visibility on the passenger side. But other than that I have nothing to complain about in the Model S. Well, actually I would have preferred a bit more sideways support in the seat, but no big deal.

    Totally in love with the screens, power and effortless drviing. And the range is spectacular, and cover all my needs :)

  • digivue

    I checked out the i3 at the auto show and the overall quality of materials was underwhelming. This seems to be a trend with BMW as the newest BMW X5 was the only car at that show that had a side panel of the driver seat broken off.

  • Giom

    Nice to read. Informative.

  • shark28-28

    my friend Michael kostukov mr franz was the one who felt a threat from the genuine car i3 bmw who was laughing on it since the launching and then after that called it ikea car and then people start to realize that this is the rightfull car even i’m not a fan of an electric car how ever let see what the I 8 will do with mr franz that he had never comment on this car and what will it do on the road comparing to the tesla s model that was burned and sued :) let see facts my friends

  • Pingback: Anonymous

  • Guy Mansterson

    That’s very interesting. I am also 6′ 4″. I have never hit my head on the headliner. My wife is 5′ 1″. She had no problem finding a comfortable position.

    I guess it looks too much like a Pontiac Aztek for me to like the exterior.

    • sranger

      I don’t know what to tell you. That was my experience with the vehicle. I did note that I could tilt the seat back far enough to clear the head liner, but that made the visibility worse and the steering too far forward to be comfortable to me…

      My wife’s only complaint of the Model S was that it was difficult to get in and out of…

      And I do not think the i3 looks anything like the Aztec, but that is purely a matter of opinion…

  • harveybeck

    I haven’t seen the i3 yet. However, I’m surprised there’s no discussion of another important feature of Teslas – the ability to upgrade software easily and its outstanding blend of software, hardware and cloud. I have a 2012 Tesla that by 2016, will have been upgraded at least a dozen times and still benefit from future developments – like my iPhone and iPad. By contrast, my 2012 BMW 335i will be just that in 2016 – a 4 year old car .

    • oh

      Oh, you’re one of “those” guys based on your Apple reference. Steve Jobs had people eating out of his hands believing minor bug fixes and adding features already included in competitors 2 year old products were “upgrades”.

      Musk is just as good at marketing as Jobs. Possibly even better. I hate to break it to you, but your 2012 Tesla will just be a 4 year old car in 2016, too. Software updates and bug fixes to the giant in-car “iPad” or cars firmware do not constitute an “upgrade.” Nor is the ride height update an upgrade, it’s a fix. Pretty much all new cars are easy to update software wise through the OBDII port. While wireless syncing is not standard, many cars like Audi and BMW are including these features in upcoming vehicles.

      I hate to break it to you (and most people), but the Tesla does not run on unicorns and magic farts. It’s made of COTS parts. For that reason, anyone with a technical background will tell you how unimpressive the Tesla actually is from a technological standpoint…. it’s common sense, put more batteries in a car, it goes further… and as time goes by and the seals start to loosen and dirt/debris sneak their way in “gunking” up the lubrication, the drive actuators will fail in 5-10 years and the car will be useless.

      (flame suit on)

      • harveybeck

        Spoken like a real car guy. You may be underestimating the importance of the software/cloud world and its integration as part of the automotive experience.

        Don’t make me laugh about most new cars’ ability to upgrade. I’m probably one of the 1-2% of BMW owners that actually does it … and frankly, the “upgrades” have hardly been worth the effort. As for Tesla, significant improvements come monthly, from enabling “creep” as an option in the early days to adding “delayed start time” for charging more recently, etc. The ride height issue is a ridiculously biased choice, demonstrating you’re merely trying to win an argument. But even in that example, will BMW be able to quiclkly make a change like that globally in their i3 if new information emerges? Or will they do as current – suggest you buy a newer car?

        Like BMW, I don’t think you get it yet. It took a while for RIM to understand that people valued more things in a smartphone than just email, security and battery life. The value equation changed, capabilities changed, and RIM didn’t until to late.

  • sranger

    I have received so many replies to this post from larger Tesla Model S owners I have decided to give the car another test drive. As some have pointed out, you can raise the cars with the air ride suspension nearly 2″ and that (according to some owners) makes the cars a little easier to get in and out of…

    I am going to spend a little more time in the car this go round to find the best possible seating position.

    I do not know if any of this will make a difference, but I though I would at lest give it a shot. I’ll reply here after the test drive…

    If I were to get a Model S and found it a little too difficult to get in and out of, the worst I would lose is the traid value for a Model X (or Even an i3) in a year or two. Owning a C6 Corvette for four years, I know I could live with it for at least two years…

    Do not get me wrong, I still like the i3 and it is a much less expensive option, but I do want to make the best decision I can on my next vehicle…

    • sranger

      Ok, I gave the Model S another chance. I spent a couple of hours on two different days with the Model S at the local show room. I found that cars with the Air ride suspension that can raise the car 2″ higher than the normal setting definitely made it easier to get in and out of. I still have the issue of limited visibility out of the car but it is no worse than the 2008 Corvette that I had.

      I still find the BMW i3 to be more comfortable over all, but the air ride does help the Model S significantly.

      I love the EV range of the Model S. It is it’s best selling point to me. I can easily do 100% of my daily driving in the model S. The biggest draw back to the i3 for me is it’s limited EV range. I drive between 100-140 mile in a day about once or twice a week. This is just outside the comfortable range of the BEV i3. That means that I have to get the REx version of the i3. The problem for e s that I just do not want to have to put gas in my electric car.

      So The BMW i3 is more comfortable to me, but it wins in ever other category except for price. It is approximately double the price of the i3.

      I have decided to buy the Model S for the EV range. Yes it is less comfortable to me to get in and out, but I have spent the last two months working ot and losing weight. I think I can now live with the Air Ride version of the model S…

      I thought I would post this in the interest of fairness and full disclosure. The BMW i3 is still a fun comfortable EV, but the range of the Model S won me over in the end…

  • Seriously?

    I’m a bit surprised that nobody has brought up the “elephant in the room” observation that the best case practical travel radius of the most decked out Tesla S is 125 miles for all but a handful of drivers. For less than 1/2 the price (even less after USA federal tax credit is considered), the BMW i3 REx has no travel radius – you can travel straight line for at least 160 miles and it’s range after 5 minute gas stops is unlimited after that. No way any Tesla can come close to that. That the i3 is as zippy as you could want (honestly, have you ever floored a Tesla? – I could barely hang on flooring the i3 up a steep hill) more comfortable, with better visibility and more practical storage access, and superior electronics, there simply is no comparison for those shopping in the $45,000 to $90,000 price range. As for looks, it ain’t as bad in it’s darkest variant (Arivanni Grey) and is certainly more pleasing to the eye than the Hyundai inspired Tesla S when viewed from the front 3/4.

    • Seriously?

      Oh, yeah. Forgot to mention that the Tesla S is a fantastic choice as a second car. If my funds were unlimited, it would certainly have a place in my garage for infrequent trips between a radius of 40 and 120 miles. For shorter trips, the i3 would be about 1/3 more fuel efficient (miles per wH) than the Tesla, and would be the only practical option for longer trips.

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      Both are great cars, no doubts, pros and cons for both. But you brought up some really good points.

  • Guest

    I would be very skeptical of this article, as the reviewer’s statements don’t add up.

    Here are the facts. The Tesla Model S is the widest automobile sold in America. It has two trunks, and a storage capacity that exceeds more mini-vans. It is also a five passenger vehicle, and with the space to option of two rear facing seats for two small children. Its headroom accommodates persons who are up to about 6′ 9″.

    The BMW is a four passenger vehicle. It is a relatively upright EV passenger car, with relatively high rear seating, but relatively little rear legroom (this EV is 17 inches shorter than a Nissan Leaf). It has very little storage room.

    Here are the Specs of the Tesla and the BMW i3:

    Tesla Model S:

    Five Passenger sedan
    Two Trunks / max capacity:
    Head room (front/rear): 38.8/35.3″
    Leg room (front/rear): 42.7/35.4″ (Note, Tesla’s rear legroom exceeds that of a Rolls Royce Phantom)
    Wheel base: 116.5
    Shoulder room (front/rear): 57.7/55.0
    Rear cargo volume (seats up/down): 26.3/58.1 cu ft
    Front trunk cargo volume: 5.3 cu ft
    Ground clearance: 6 inches

    BMW:

    Headroom (front/rear) 39.6/37.2
    Wheel base: 101
    Luggage volume (seats up/ down): 2.8-11.8 (with relatively high lift-over height)
    Ground clearance: 5.5 inches

    BMW has not released other specifications on the car’s interior dimensions. Reviewer agree that it is big inside and comfortable for front seat passengers. They state the rear legroom is good so long as the front passenger’s seats are not extended backwards).

  • IM

    I would be very skeptical of this article, as the reviewer’s statements don’t add up.

    Here are the facts. The Tesla Model S and upmarket luxury vehicle that boast of being, among other things, the widest automobile sold in America. It has two trunks, and a storage capacity that exceeds most mini-vans. It is also accommodates five adult passengers, and may be optioned with two rear facing seats for two small children. Its headroom accommodates persons who are up to about 6′ 9″.

    The BMW is a four passenger vehicle. It is the same market segment as a Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf. It is a box shaped and relatively upright EV passenger car. It has high front and rear positions, but relatively little rear legroom (this EV is 17 inches shorter than a Nissan Leaf). It has very little storage room.

    Here are the Specs of the Tesla and the BMW i3:

    Tesla Model S:

    Five Passenger sedan
    Two Trunks / max capacity:
    Head room (front/rear): 38.8/35.3″
    Leg room (front/rear): 42.7/35.4″ (Note, Tesla’s rear legroom exceeds that of a Rolls Royce Phantom)
    Wheel base: 116.5
    Shoulder room (front/rear): 57.7/55.0
    Rear cargo volume (seats up/down): 26.3/58.1 cu ft
    Front trunk cargo volume: 5.3 cu ft
    Ground clearance: 6 inches

    BMW:

    Headroom (front/rear) 39.6/37.2
    Wheel base: 101
    Luggage volume (seats up/ down): 2.8-11.8 (with relatively high lift-over height)
    Ground clearance: 5.5 inches

    BMW has not released other specifications on the car’s interior dimensions. Reviewer agree that it is big inside and comfortable for front seat passengers. They state the rear legroom is good so long as the front passenger’s seats are not extended backwards).

  • Pingback: Tesla Motors’ $40000 car set to debut in early 2015 – Los Angeles Times | pregunta?

  • Biz2Biz

    Most people don’t need TM current model S 85kw range. They are perfectly fine with something like i3. I’m not saying i3 is a messiah here but it’s a good approach to transition from 100 year old gasoline habit to electric range anxiety. People need time to see all this in action. So far people that purchased model S are people that can gamble with $100k toy if it fails and own 2 or more vehicles.
    Your average Joe/Jane doesn’t have time to research Panasonic battery tech stuff and look for wall outlets as they drive around. They just need a vehicle to move them around the city or suburbs to the city; nothing too complicated.
    This is where i3 will shine because at half price and electric/gas approach it’s somewhat attainable to much larger audience. Plus you get some security if there’s no more juice you can switch to gas. Gas is here to stay for many many many more years.
    Let’s see whose approach is better; balls out all electric OR gas/electric combo.

  • melissa brittany

    The i3 will retail for about $41,350, while the i8 will sell for about
    $135,000, a lot more than the Model S which starts at $71,000. However,
    the i8 will be packed with high-end features and better performance. The
    i8’s top speed of 155 mph and 4.4 second 0-60mph time exceeds the Model
    S’s top speed of 125 mph and 5.4 second sprint from 0-60mph.

  • Pingback: Cross-country electric record in Tesla: 3,331.9 miles

  • Pingback: Cross-country electric record in Tesla: 3,331.9 miles | labmw.com

  • Pingback: BMW & Tesla Taking Different Approaches But Will Ultimately Face Off

  • Pingback: BMW & Tesla Taking Different Approaches But Will Ultimately Face Off | labmw.com

  • Pingback: BMW i3 Successor: Steel from ThyssenKrupp instead of Carbon Fiber?

3D Design 125 125 125 125 Endurance Warranty

Find us on Facebook

BMWBLOG

NEWSLETTER