The i3 offers optional crash mitigation brakes, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The ELR has a collision warning system without the crash-mitigating brake feature which could reduce stopping distances.
Both the i3 and the ELR have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.
The i3’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the ELR’s (12 vs. 6 years).
On the EPA test cycle the i3 gets better fuel mileage on its electric motor alone than the ELR on its electric motor alone (138 city/111 hwy vs. 85 city/80 hwy MPGe).
On the EPA test cycle the i3 gets better fuel mileage running its optional range extender than the ELR running its gasoline motor (39 vs. 33 Combined MPG).
The i3’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 81 miles, over two times as far as the ELR’s 37 mile range.
The i3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the ELR are solid, not vented.
For superior ride and handling, the BMW i3 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The ELR has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 6.1 feet tighter than the ELR’s (32.3 feet vs. 38.4 feet).
The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1150 to 1400 pounds less than the Cadillac ELR.
The i3 is 2 feet, 4.6 inches shorter than the ELR, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The i3 has 2.7 inches more front headroom, 2.5 inches more rear headroom and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the ELR.
The i3 has two rear doors to provide better access for cargo and rear passengers. The ELR doesn’t offer rear doors.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the i3 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The ELR doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The i3 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The ELR has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.