Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2015 BMW i8 VS 2015 Tesla Model Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2015 BMW i8

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2015 Tesla Model

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the BMW i8 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Tesla Model S doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive is standard on the i8. But it costs extra on the Model S.

The i8 has a standard Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Model S only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The i8 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 Model S 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 i8 and the Model S have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty Comparison

The i8’s corrosion warranty is 8 years and unlimited miles longer than the Model S’ (12/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i8 for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Tesla doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Model S.

There are almost 44 times as many BMW dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the i8’s warranty.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW i8 is faster than the Model S 85:


Model S

Zero to 30 MPH

1.5 sec

2.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

3.8 sec

5 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

6.3 sec

7.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

9.7 sec

10.8 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

1.8 sec

1.9 sec

Quarter Mile

12.4 sec

13.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

112.1 MPH

110.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The i8’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel and a full charge is 343.9 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model S’ maximum range is only 270 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 54% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 82 hours and 53 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The i8 has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model S doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The i8 stops much shorter than the Model S:


Model S

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The i8’s 245/40R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Model S’ standard 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i8 has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the Model S.

Chassis Comparison

The BMW i8 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1200 to 1500 pounds less than the Tesla Model S.

The i8 is 11.1 inches shorter than the Model S, making the i8 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the i8. The Model S doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics Comparison

The i8 has a standard heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Model S doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left down on the i8 the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Model S can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Model S’ optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The i8’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

The i8 has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. A middle row seat center armrest costs extra in the Model S.

Recommendations Comparison

The i8 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The Model S has never been an “All Star.”

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