2015 BMW i3 vs. Its Competition

2015 BMW i3 REx  -  Driven, Portland OR, April 2015

At this point, the BMW i3 has no real direct competitors.

It fits into the EV market between the small all-electric cars at the bottom end and the Tesla Model S, and the range-extended version is more expensive than the other EV model equipped with a generator, Chevy's Volt.

When fitted with the two-cylinder engine, the i3 is perhaps most like the Volt, although the Chevy is far less radical in design, materials, and conception.

The Tesla Model S is easily the best electric car in the world right now, 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--so it's not as well suited to urban transport as the i3.

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 compared to the wider, quicker, and far more pleasant i3.

Finally, there's the Lexus CT 200h, the smallest luxury hatchback sold today.

It is a gasoline hybrid, 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 that of the plug-in BMW i3.

2015 BMW i3 REx  -  Driven, Portland OR, April 20152015 BMW i3
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Quick Specs
7.4
The 2015 BMW i3 is not just a new kind of BMW, but a different sort of car, one that aims to reimagine the way people get around in crowded cities.
7.6
The 2015 Chevrolet Volt remains the only range-extended electric car, and Chevy hasn't done a good job of explaining it, but if you can live with four seats, it's smooth, quiet, comfortable--and one way into the future of cars.
7.4
The 2015 Nissan Leaf is the best-selling electric car in the world, and while it's a little appliance-like, it's a real car that delivers a quiet, smooth ride for only pennies per mile.
8.8
The 2015 Tesla Model S has no direct competition; the electric luxury hatchback is the benchmark among its kind in a market with more than 20 plug-in models. It's likely the most advanced car on the planet.
MSRP From    
$42,400$34,345$29,010$13,270$69,900
Gas Mileage    
35 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy34 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy
Engine    
ElectricGas/Electric I4ElectricPremium Unleaded I-3Electric
EPA Class    
Subcompact CarsCompact CarsMid-Size CarsTwo-SeatersLarge Cars
Style Name    
4-Door HB5-Door HB4-Door HB S2-Door Coupe Pure4-Door Sedan RWD 60 kWh Battery *Ltd Avail*
Drivetrain    
Rear Wheel DriveFront wheel driveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
44525
Passenger Doors    
N/A4N/AN/AN/A
Body Style    
HatchbackHatchbackHatchbackCoupeHatchback
Transmission    
AutomaticAutomaticAutomaticAuto-Shift Manual w/ODAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2015 BMW i3 vs. 2015 Chevrolet Volt2015 BMW i3 vs. 2015 Nissan Leaf2015 BMW i3 vs. 2015 smart fortwo2015 BMW i3 vs. 2015 Tesla Model S