Both the i3 and the Prius Plug-In Hybrid 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 Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The i3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s (12 vs. 5 years).
BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i3 for 2 years and 25000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the Prius Plug-In Hybrid (4/50,000 vs. 2/25000).
The i3’s electric motor produces 36 more horsepower (170 vs. 134) and 31 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 153) than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.
On the EPA test cycle the i3 gets better fuel mileage on its electric motor alone than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid on its electric motor alone (138 city/111 hwy vs. 95 Combined MPGe).
The i3’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 81 miles, over 7 times as far as the 11 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 Prius Plug-In Hybrid are solid, not vented.
The i3’s optional 155/60R20 front and 175/55R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series front and 55 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s 65 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Prius Plug-In Hybrid. 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 Prius Plug-In Hybrid has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the i3 is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Prius Plug-In Hybrid.
For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s (32.3 feet vs. 34.2 feet).
The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 550 pounds less than the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid.
The i3 is 1 foot, 7 inches shorter than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces. The i3 is 1 foot, 7 inches shorter than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid.
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 Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The i3 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Advanced.
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 Prius Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The i3’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.
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 Prius Plug-In Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.