Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2015 BMW i3 VS 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2015 BMW i3

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2015 Volkswagen e-Golf

Safety Comparison

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 e-Golf doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The i3 has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The e-Golf doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the i3 and the e-Golf have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

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 e-Golf’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i3 for 3 years and 40,000 miles longer than Volkswagen pays for maintenance for the e-Golf (4/50,000 vs. 1/10,000).

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in reliability. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th.

Engine Comparison

The i3’s electric motor produces 55 more horsepower (170 vs. 115) than the e-Golf’s electric motor.

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW i3 is faster than the Volkswagen e-Golf:



Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

9.1 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89 MPH

80.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the i3 with its standard motor gets better fuel mileage than the e-Golf (137 city/111 hwy vs. 126 city/105 hwy MPGe).

On the EPA test cycle the i3 with its optional range extender gets better fuel mileage running on electricity alone than the e-Golf (117 vs. 116 Combined MPGe).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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 e-Golf are solid, not vented.

The i3 stops much shorter than the e-Golf:



60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the e-Golf. The i3 offers optional 20-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the i3 is 1.1 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than on the e-Golf.

For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 3.5 feet tighter than the e-Golf’s (32.3 feet vs. 35.8 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 750 pounds less than the Volkswagen e-Golf.

The i3 is 10.7 inches shorter than the e-Golf, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Ergonomics Comparison

When different drivers share the i3, the memory system makes it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The e-Golf doesn’t offer a memory system.

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 e-Golf 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 e-Golf has 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 e-Golf doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Optional BMW Apps for the i3 allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later, following twitter accounts and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The e-Golf doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The i3’s available GPS navigation system offers an optional real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The e-Golf’s navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

The i3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The e-Golf doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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