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 Volt offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature which would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.
Both the i3 and the Volt 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 comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Volt’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The i3’s corrosion warranty is 6 years and unlimited miles longer than the Volt’s (12/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).
BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i3 for 2 years and 26000 miles longer than Chevrolet pays for maintenance for the Volt (4/50,000 vs. 2/24,000).
The i3’s electric motor produces 21 more horsepower (170 vs. 149) than the Volt’s 1.4 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.
On the EPA test cycle the i3 gets better fuel mileage on its electric motor alone than the Volt on its electric motor alone (138 city/111 hwy vs. 101 city/93 hwy MPGe).
On the EPA test cycle the i3 gets better fuel mileage running its optional range extender than the Volt running its gasoline motor (39 vs. 37 Combined MPG).
The i3’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 100 miles, over two and a half times as far as the Volt’s 38 mile range.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 17-inch wheels are available on the Volt. The i3 offers optional 20-inch wheels.
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 Volt has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 3.7 feet tighter than the Volt’s (32.3 feet vs. 36 feet).
The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 900 to 1150 pounds less than the Chevrolet Volt.
The i3 is 1 foot, 7.7 inches shorter than the Volt, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces. The i3 is 1 foot, 7.7 inches shorter than the Volt.
The i3 has 1.8 inches more front headroom and 1.2 inches more rear headroom than the Volt.
The i3’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Volt’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.
The i3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Volt’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
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 Volt 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 Volt offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the i3 offers an optional adaptive cruise control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Volt doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.