Figuring out the competitors for the 2014 BMW i3 may be the toughest challenge face by buyers--and by BMW's own marketers.
The all-electric city car costs more than $40,000 and yet is shorter than any other five-door luxury car sold in the U.S.
Many buyers view it as similar to the Chevy Volt, when the i3 is fitted with its optional range-extending engine, but the Volt is far less radical in design, materials, or conception.
The highly lauded Tesla Model S may be the best electric car in the world, but it's a large luxury sedan with seats for five and ranges of more than 200 miles--not to mention a price roughly twice that of the electric BMW.
The Nissan Leaf is the best-selling electric car in the world, but it has nothing like the interior grace and clever details of the i3, nor is it remotely luxurious.
In some ways, the i3's closest functional competitor may be the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, the battery-powered two-seat city car.
But the Smart is now aged, crude, and spartan against the wider, quicker, and far more pleasant i3.
Finally, there's the Lexus CT 200h, the smallest luxury hatchback sold today.
It uses gasoline, unlike all the others, but it delivers a genuine 40 miles per gallon and a healthy dose of luxury features--at a price somewhat lower than the plug-in BMW i3.
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|2014 BMW i3Browse Used Listings||2014 Chevrolet VoltBrowse Used Listings||2014 Lexus CT 200hBrowse Used Listings||2014 Nissan LeafBrowse Used Listings||2014 smart fortwoBrowse Used Listings||2014 Tesla Model SBrowse Used Listings|
|35 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy||43 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy||34 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy|
|Electric||Gas/Electric I4||Gas/Electric I-4||Electric||Premium Unleaded I-3||Electric|
|Subcompact Cars||Compact Cars||Compact Cars||Mid-Size Cars||Two-Seaters||Large Cars|
|4-Door HB||5-Door HB||5-Door Sedan Hybrid||4-Door HB S||2-Door Coupe Pure||4-Door Sedan 60 kWh Battery|
|Rear Wheel Drive||Front wheel drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive|
|Automatic||Automatic||CVT w/OD||Automatic||Auto-Shift Manual w/OD||Automatic|
|Detailed Spec Comparison|
|2014 BMW i3 vs. 2014 Chevrolet Volt||2014 BMW i3 vs. 2014 Lexus CT 200h||2014 BMW i3 vs. 2014 Nissan Leaf||2014 BMW i3 vs. 2014 smart fortwo||2014 BMW i3 vs. 2014 Tesla Model S|