AutoExpress Pits BMW i3 Against Volkswagen e-Golf

OCT 29 2014 BY MARK KANE 17

Volkswagen Golf GTE

How about Volkswagen Golf GTE vs BMW i3 REx?

Volkswagen had once compared the BMW i3 to its e-up!, but now here’s i3 versus e-Golf.

e-Golf just hit the UK and AutoExpress wonders which vehicle is the right choice for those looking to switch to electric drive.

As it turns out, the choice isn’t easy. Range of both cars is similar. The key difference, which catches the eye, is the looks. According to the AutoExpress, the i3 wins because its futuristic looks give it the desirability factor over other EVs.

But to be honest, not all buyers would like have onlookers pointing fingers at them on the street, so both the head-turner (i3) and plain Jane hatchback (e-Golf) will find buyers. And e-Golf is a 5-seater, of course.


1st place: BMW i3

With innovative engineering and the use of advanced composite materials, the i3 is a groundbreaking electric car that’s fast, good to drive and practical. But beyond the technology, the funky cabin and futuristic looks give it the desirability factor EVs have traditionally lacked. If you can cope with the range limitations, then it’s a very tempting proposition. And it just edges victory over the worthy but less exciting VW.

2nd place: Volkswagen e-Golf

The e-Golf is another excellent electric car from Volkswagen. It’s a well engineered and good-to-drive EV, with a similar real-world range to the i3. The Golf won’t turn as many heads as the i3, but its traditional image is a plus for some. However, it trails the BMW on performance, plus the ride is firm and the handling slightly blunted. More importantly, it lacks the all-round desirability of its futuristic rival.”

Source: AutoExpress

Categories: BMW, Volkswagen

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17 Comments on "AutoExpress Pits BMW i3 Against Volkswagen e-Golf"

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And the e-Golf has no option for a range extender.

The RE option is called the GTE!

But then you lose most of your EV range with the GTE.

But you have a proper ICE and can travel effortlessly for long distances.
Its swings and roundabouts.
The AER is just fine for a lot of people anyway, especially here in Europe.
You will have the A3 Sportsback with an identical drivetrain.

With the $35k i3 the consumer can upgrade into the luxury market and get a BMW, but with the eGolf, for $35k the consumer is still getting a basic brand.

I think consumers expect to pay more for a premium brand(BMW), but not pay the same for a basic consumer brand(VW).

At $30k, the eGolf would have a better chance. But matching the BMW in price, it will be hard not to upgrade to a BMW, unless the styling is a big turn off.

Which is why the Focus Electric at $30k($26k with Cash Back), even without a Combo Charger port should do well against the eGolf until it’s replacement.

Isn’t the i3’s MSRP $6k higher than that of the eGolf?

And the e-Golf is already loaded. The BMW of a similar price has no options. Not to mention the e-Golf doesn’t ride on tires that cost $200 each to replace.

I don’t think VW is universally viewed as a “basic consumer brand”. I for one view it as positioned between “basic consumer” and luxury. As such, I take about the same view of these two cars, in terms of their image.

This may be a market-specific thing (I’m in the US), or just a matter of personal preference, I don’t know.

This is market specific. When I travel to Europe, it is very common to see Mercedes Benz vehicles used as simple taxis and many inexpensive A class run around the streets. In the US, MB doesn’t bring the “cheap” models to give the impression of a luxury brand.

My dad tells an anecdote about taking a taxi in Beirut in the 1960s. The taxi driver tried to charge him twice the going rate on the basis that the cab was a Chevy and not a Mercedes.

+1. ^^ This.

It’s all about region (and segment) perception. It’s why we can’t have nice things like the VW Scirocco. It wouldn’t sell in the states because it’s a VW and it’s a hatchback. Two things, which in the US, mark it as “cheap”.

As much as I like the drive of the i3, I would chose the eGolf for practicality. Yes, I can fit my family of 4 in the i3, but with more compromises. Plus I much prefer the ride height of the eGolf to the i3. All very personal preferences, I know. Then again, most of the reasons listed by AutoExpress are personal preference as well.

I would be interested in reading an honest i3 REx -vs- GTE comparison. I’m guessing the i3 would win for the first 70 miles, but after that the GTE would just keep performing while the i3 would eventually have reduced performance.

Yeah, the i3 rides REALLY high, doesn’t it. It’s almost like a CUV instead of a car.

Maybe. If you remember, Autoexpress is in the UK so they have access to the non-gimped i3 REx. THey can use hold mode. Not to mention they get the full HTML web browser 🙁

True. Hold Mode + Shorter distances = fewer compromises compared to the US. But I was actually referring to the BEV version (without the REx).

Compared to the eGolf, the i3 has compromised utility of the back seats (e.g. only seats 4 versus 5, suicide doors) as well as the trunk (12 cubic ft versus 23 cubic ft).

You can turn heads for two reasons, 1) because is beautiful or 2) painfully ugly. Yesterday I saw my first i3 and did not meet the criteria number 1.