In terms of advanced technology and sophistication, the 2016 BMW i3 has no direct competitors.
Its range is comparable to the low end of the electric-car spectrum, but its owners are more likely to cross-shop a Tesla Model S—and the range-extended version is more expensive than the other electric model equipped with an engine, Chevy's Volt.
This year's all-new Volt is cheaper, quieter, better-looking, more powerful, more fuel-efficient, and delivers 53 miles of electric range—only about a third less than the BMW i3 REx.
As for the Tesla Model S, it's easily the best electric car in the world right now.
But it's also a large luxury sedan with seats for five and ranges of 240 miles and up—not to mention a price twice that of the electric BMW—so the BMW i3 wins on suitability for city use and urban transport.
While the Nissan Leaf has nothing like the interior grace and clever details of the i3, nor is it remotely luxurious, this year's model gets a range boost to 107 miles—the highest of any non-Tesla plug-in car.
The VW e-Golf, rated at 83 miles, is the antithesis of the i3's "look at me!" styling; no one will know it's an electric car unless they read the labels, but it retains all of the Golf's virtues.
Finally, there's the hybrid Lexus CT 200h, the smallest luxury hatchback sold today.
It delivers a genuine 40 miles per gallon and lots of more traditional luxury features—at a lower price than the i3.
Get FREE Dealer Quotes
|2016 BMW i3Browse Used Listings||2016 Chevrolet VoltBrowse Used Listings||2016 Nissan LeafBrowse Used Listings||2016 Volkswagen e-GolfBrowse Used Listings||2016 Tesla Model SBrowse Used Listings|
|43 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy|
|Subcompact Cars||Compact Cars||Mid-Size Cars||Compact Cars||Large Cars|
|4-Door HB||5-Door HB LT||4-Door HB S *Ltd Avail*||4-Door HB SE||2016.5 4-Door Sedan RWD 60|
|Rear Wheel Drive||Front wheel drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive|
|Detailed Spec Comparison|
|2016 BMW i3 vs. 2016 Chevrolet Volt||2016 BMW i3 vs. 2016 Nissan Leaf||2016 BMW i3 vs. 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf||2016 BMW i3 vs. 2016 Tesla Model S|