Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 BMW i3 VS 2017 Tesla Model Near Phoenix, AZ

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2017 BMW i3

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2017 Tesla Model

Safety Comparison

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 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 i3 and the Model S 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 8 years and unlimited miles longer than the Model S’ (12/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

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. Tesla doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Model S.

There are over 42 times as many BMW dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the i3’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the i3’s reliability will be 7% better than the Model S.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the i3 gets better fuel mileage than the Model S (MPGe):



i3 60Ah

i3 94Ah

i3 REx

Model S 70D

Model S 85



137 city/111 hwy

129 city/106 hwy

118 city/103 hwy

97 city/100 hwy

88 city/90 hwy

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 i3 has a standard Brake Assistant 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 i3 stops much shorter than the Model S:



Model S


60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 4.7 feet tighter than the Model S’ (32.3 feet vs. 37 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1550 to 1700 pounds less than the Tesla Model S.

The i3 is 3 feet, 2.6 inches shorter than the Model S, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The i3 is 7.4 inches narrower than the Model S, making the i3 easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

Passenger Space Comparison

The i3 has .8 inches more front headroom and 1.9 inches more rear headroom than the Model S.

Ergonomics Comparison

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 Model S can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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

The Model S’ optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The i3’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.

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