The e-Golf is VW’s first bet for the electric market and will launch this fall. The i3 is the only one of the three electric vehicles to be considered a premium product and has recently launched in the United States.
The e-Golf and Leaf follow a conventional design with seating five passengers and a look and feel that resembles a “regular” vehicle. BMW gave the i3 a more futuristic look and a departure from the classic BMW design, a move that is equally loved and hated by the media and consumers.
The e-Golf’s 114bhp electric motor delivers all 270Nm of torque from standstill. The 0 to 62 mph is 10.4sec and 85mph top speed. Far more telling is the 4.2sec time from 0-37mph, which is even faster than the Golf GTI hot hatch.
The BMW i3 is the first of the BMW i vehicles constructed from the ground up primarily of carbon fiber to enter the U.S. market. With 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque hybrid-synchronous electric motor, the fully electric BMW i3 is electrified by a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery, good for 80-100 miles of emission-free driving. Agile and engaging to drive, the BMW i3 is ideally suited for dense urban areas. The BMW i3 has a base MSRP of $41,350 and the range-extender model will have a starting MSRP of $45,200.
Here is the full review and the verdict:
1st place: BMW i3
With innovative engineering and the use of advanced composite materials, the i3 is a groundbreaking electric car that’s fast, good to drive and practical. But beyond the technology, the funky cabin and futuristic looks give it the desirability factor EVs have traditionally lacked. If you can cope with the range limitations, then it’s a very tempting proposition. And it just edges victory over the worthy but less exciting VW.
2nd place: Volkswagen e-Golf
The e-Golf is another excellent electric car from Volkswagen. It’s a well engineered and good-to-drive EV, with a similar real-world range to the i3. The Golf won’t turn as many heads as the i3, but its traditional image is a plus for some. However, it trails the BMW on performance, plus the ride is firm and the handling slightly blunted. More importantly, it lacks the all-round desirability of its futuristic rival.
W e-Golf vs BMW i3: key specs
|BMW i3||Volkswagen e-Golf|
|On the road price/total as tested||£25,680/£25,680||£25,845/£27,090|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£7,730/30.1%||£7,469/28.9%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||N/A||N/A|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||21/£332/A/£0||10/TBC/A/£0|
|Servicing costs||£375 (5yrs/60k)||£384 (3yrs/30k)|
|Engine||AC electric motor||AC electric motor|
|Transmission||Single speed/rwd||Single speed/fwd|
|Battery warranty (miles)/spare wheel||8yrs (100k)/sealant||8yrs (99,360)/sealant|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||260/1,100 litres||341/1,231 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||9.9 metres/0.29Cd||10.0 metres/0.28Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (unltd)/3yrs||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||Variable/47||10,000/24|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||10th/22nd||19th/31st|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||86/81/57/4||94/89/65/5*|
|0-60/30-70mph||7.1/6.5 secs||9.6/10.2 secs|
|30-50mph||2.3 secs||3.8 secs|
|50-70mph||4.2 secs||6.4 secs|
|Claimed range||120 miles||118 miles|
|Full charge time (mains)||13 hours (est)||13 hours (est)|
|80 per cent charge time (fast charger)||30 minutes (est)||35 minutes (est)|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||N/A||N/A|
|Airbags/park sensors/reversing cam||Six/yes/£790||Seven/yes/£165|
|Leather/heated seats/climate control||£2,000/£260/yes||£2,095/£375/yes|
|Met paint/LED lights/cruise control||£530/£710/yes||£535/yes/yes|
|Split/fold rear seats/Isofix||Yes/yes||Yes/yes|