The BMW i3 might be the Bavarian brand’s most polarizing car. Some fans love it for its quirky looks, impressive rear-drive dynamics and eco-friendliness. However, it also has many detractors who claim its range to be unacceptably small and its design to be strange. So it’s very much a love it or hate it type of car. But one thing we can all agree on is that it definitely sprung other automakers into action to develop something similar.
Chevy, most recently debuted the new Bolt, which is also an electric hatchback that even has similar styling to the i3. One of the other companies to be inspired by the BMW i3 was Audi, who developed its own alternative powertrain hatchback, the A3 e-tron.
We compared these two cars awhile back and deemed the BMW i3 the winner. It’s just the better overall car, with a proper electric powertrain, more impressive technology and better driving dynamics. The Audi A3 e-tron is a good car, but it feels a bit half-baked, as it started life as a standard diesel hatchback and then Audi packed it with batteries. It feels that way and never feels like the polished product that the i3 is. Plus, it’s simply not as efficient, which is the whole point of these cars.
But, to make sure we weren’t just biased BMW fanboys, we took a look at a recent review from Auto Express, who recently reviewed both cars head-to-head.
AE found similar results. The new BMW i3, with its larger battery and 114 mile range, took on the Audi A3 e-tron and pretty much beat it in every way. While both cars are priced about the same, the i3 is the more affordable car, as it offers a pure electric powertrain that will save money on fuel over the A3 e-tron. It also has a much nicer interior that feels more upscale. The Audi A3 e-tron’s cabin, while nice, started life as a cheap compact hatchback and it shows. It’s filled with great materials for a small hatch, but it just doesn’t have the quality or luxury of the i3.
In terms of how they drive, the BMW i3 won that as well. Its rear-drive nature and incredibly low weight make it an absolute blast to drive for an electric car. It’s nippy and fun and dynamic. The A3, however, feels heavy for its size (because it is), doesn’t handle as well as you’d hope and rides very harshly for something that costs as much as it does.
Overall, the BMW i3 feels like an electric car that was designed from the ground up to be an electric car. It’s so intelligently made and brilliantly put together that it really changes the way we look at electric cars. The Audi A3 e-tron is a good car, don’t get me wrong, but it just lacks the sort of polish that the i3 has and it isn’t even that efficient. So AE seems to mirror our sentiments on both cars — the Audi A3 e-tron is good but the BMW i3 is great.[Source: Auto Express]