Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 BMW i3 VS 2016 Chevrolet Volt Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 BMW i3

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2016 Chevrolet Volt

Safety Comparison

Both the i3 and the Volt 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, available crash mitigating brakes and rearview cameras.

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 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).

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 Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 7th.

Engine Comparison

The i3’s electric motor produces 21 more horsepower (170 vs. 149) than the Volt’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Car and Driver the BMW i3 is faster than the Chevrolet Volt:



Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

7.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

7.9 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.5 sec

3.2 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.1 sec

4.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

16.1 sec

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the i3 with its standard motor gets better fuel mileage than the Volt on its electric motor alone (137 city/111 hwy vs. 113 city/99 hwy MPGe).

On the EPA test cycle the i3 REx gets better fuel mileage running on electricity alone than the Volt on its electric motor alone (127 city/107 hwy vs. 113 city/99 hwy MPGe).

The i3 REx’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 81 miles, 53% further than the Volt’s 53 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 on the Volt are solid, not vented.

The i3 stops much shorter than the Volt:



70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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.

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 Chevrolet Volt 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 1.3 inches wider in the front and .2 inches wider in the rear than on the Volt.

The i3’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (48.2% to 51.8%) than the Volt’s (58.5% to 41.5%). This gives the i3 more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 4.1 feet tighter than the Volt’s (32.3 feet vs. 36.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 650 to 900 pounds less than the Chevrolet Volt.

The i3 is 1 foot, 11 inches shorter than the Volt, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space Comparison

The i3 has 1.8 inches more front headroom and 1.4 inches more rear headroom than the Volt.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The i3 has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Volt (15.1 vs. 10.6 cubic feet).

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 Volt doesn’t offer a memory system.

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

The i3’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet charges extra for heated mirrors on the Volt.

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 Active 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.

Recommendations Comparison

The BMW i3 won two awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue.

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

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