Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 BMW i3 VS 2016 Cadillac ELR Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 BMW i3

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2016 Cadillac ELR

Safety Comparison

Both the i3 and the ELR have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rear parking sensors, available crash mitigating brakes and rearview cameras.

Warranty Comparison

The i3’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the ELR’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 21st, below the industry average.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the i3 with its standard motor gets better fuel mileage than the ELR on its electric motor alone (137 city/111 hwy vs. 85 city/80 hwy MPGe).

On the EPA test cycle the i3 REx gets better fuel mileage running on electricity alone than the ELR on its electric motor alone (127 city/107 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 (41 city/37 hwy vs. 31 city/35 hwy).

The i3 REx’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 81 miles, over twice as far as the ELR’s 39 mile range.

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 standard on the ELR are solid, not vented.

The i3 stops much shorter than the ELR:



70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

173 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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 Cadillac ELR has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The i3’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (48.2% to 51.8%) than the ELR’s (61.1% to 38.9%). This gives the i3 more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 6.1 feet tighter than the ELR’s (32.3 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1150 to 1450 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.

Passenger Space Comparison

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.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The i3 has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the ELR (15.1 vs. 10.5 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the i3’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. The ELR’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Ergonomics Comparison

The i3 has two rear doors to provide better access for cargo and rear passengers. The ELR doesn’t offer rear doors.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the i3 has a standard rear wiper. The ELR doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

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.

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 ELR doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations Comparison

The BMW i3 won two awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue. The Cadillac ELR only won one award.

 The i3 is ranked first in its class and received the 2015 “Total Quality Award.” The ELR is not ranked.

The BMW i3 outsold the Cadillac ELR by over 9 to one during the 2015 model year.

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