BMW i3 vs Volkswagen e-Golf – Comparison

BMW i | October 8th, 2014 by 6
BMW i3 VW E Golf 1200x800 f2d821dbae7c0fa8 750x500

AutoExpress UK test drives and compares the BMW i3 and the Volkswagen e-Golf. The e-Golf is VW’s first bet for the electric market and will launch …

AutoExpress UK test drives and compares the BMW i3 and the Volkswagen e-Golf.

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

2014 bmw i3 front three quarter in orange 750x395

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

BMW i3 Nissan Leaf VW E Golf 1200x800 c1af4ace06b31cec 750x500

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%
Depreciation £17,950 £18,376
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)
Length/wheelbase 3,999/2,570mm 4,349/2,637mm
Height/width 1,578/1,775mm 1,452/1,799mm
Engine AC electric motor AC electric motor
Peak power 168bhp 113bhp
Peak torque 250Nm 270Nm
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
Kerbweight/payload 1,270/425kg 1,510/450kg
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
Top speed 93mph 87mph
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 49.5/38.1/8.7m 57.9/36.6/10.2m
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
Sat-nav/DAB radio/Bluetooth Yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/yes