Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 BMW i3 VS 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf Near Phoenix, AZ

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2017 BMW i3

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2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

Safety Comparison

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, 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 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 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the e-Golf.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 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 fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 13th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 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 14th in reliability, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.

Engine Comparison

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

As tested in Car and Driver the BMW i3 is faster than the Volkswagen e-Golf:




Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

2.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

9.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

9.4 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.5 sec

3.9 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.1 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

17.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

79 MPH

Top Speed

92 MPH

85 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the i3 gets better fuel mileage than the e-Golf (MPGe):



i3 60Ah

i3 94Ah




137 city/111 hwy

129 city/106 hwy

126 city/105 hwy

The i3 94Ah’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 114 miles, 37% further than the e-Golf’s 83-mile range.

The i3 REx’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 97 miles, 17% further than the e-Golf’s 83-mile range. After it exhausts its pure electric range, the i3 REx can then continue for 86 more miles on its internal combustion engine, while the e-Golf has to recharge for 30 minutes for only a 80% 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 20 hours.

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:





70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

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 150 to 500 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 two different drivers share the i3, the memory system makes it convenient for both. 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.

If the windows are left down on the i3 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 e-Golf can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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

The i3’s standard 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.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The i3 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the i3 will retain 46.75% to 47.37% of its original price after five years, while the e-Golf only retains 36.73% to 40.05%.

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