BMW i3 Versus Volkswagen Polo GTI – Drag Race Video

NOV 14 2015 BY ELECTRICCARSTV 22

BMW i3 Races VW Polo GTI

BMW i3 Races VW Polo GTI

In its video titled “Drag Race: BMW i3 vs New Polo GTI – Electric vs Petrol,” Cars.co.za pits electric drive versus gasoline in a matchup that see the i3 face off against the similarly-sized Polo.

This particular Polo is the high-performance GTI version, but it can hang with the electric i3?

Watch the video to find out.

Categories: BMW, Racing

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22 Comments on "BMW i3 Versus Volkswagen Polo GTI – Drag Race Video"

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I didn’t even know they made a polo gti – golf gti I know. Polo is more low end, isn’t it called Rabbit in the US? A rabbit gti lol

VW does not bring the polo to the USA. we only have the Golf. A few years ago we had the ‘rabbit’ but it was really a Golf.

We don’t get the Polo in any form, in the US. AFAIK, Rabbit = Golf.

For some reason, I believe the i3 has software limited acceleration after about 50mph.

I3 vs Mercedes B Class

2853 vs 3935 pounds
170Hp vs 177Hp
6.5sec vs 6.8 sec 0-60mph
15.3 sec vs 15.4 sec

However look at how slow the BMW is at the later half of the acceleration runs:

16.4 sec vs 14.7 sec 0-90mph
86mph vs 92 mph trap speed.

6mph in trap speed is huge!
And no way this should occur in a car that only has 7hp less and weighs over 1000lbs less!

This also exemplifies how important the start is for those of you who keep saying 0-30mph is important. The i3 pretty much stops accelerating at higher speeds, but the Merc still doesn’t catch it at the end of the quarter mile.

No gears

Does the B Class have gears? We are talking about both of them being fully battery electric vehicles.

The mainstream EVs don’t have gearboxes, just reduction gears. The early Tesla Roadsters had a two-speed transmission, but because of numerous problems, they went to a reduction gear.

Greater aerodynamic drag for the i3 vs. the B Class?

The B class is bigger, probably no less total aero drag. When you drive the i3 you can tell the power cuts way down on the upper end. The car would be very quick if they gave it full power at the launch and upper end.Otherwise 20-50mph is its strongest range of accel.

I’m pretty sure it’s hardware differences. The i3 uses a PMSM (Permenant Magnet Synchronous Motor) as do nearly all EVs other than Tesla drivetrains, which are ACIM (AC Induction Motor). ACIM has no permenant magnets, and thus fewer rare materials on the inside, they are, however, more complicated to control and have some other disadvantages. There are subtle differences in the control strategy of the two different motor types, I’m no expert but there is a lot of good material online about the different types. One advantage of the Tesla drivetrain is better power higher in the revs, as ACIM tend to have a much higher top speed than PMSM. I believe this is what is causing the phenomenon you’re seeing here. Also, one of the biggest reasons Teslas have a much higher top speed than nearly all other EVs that top out at 90 or less.

It is all about gearing.

Most BEV sacrifice high end acceleration by gearing the motor signficantly for low end acceleration.

Once you reach about 50mph ish, most EV motors reaches their max torque RPM and soon HP starts to drop after that. That is they feel like running into a wall in terms of acceleration.

Tesla has the same issue at 71mph (max torque reached at 43mph) on P85s. P85/90D reduces the gear ratio slightly and combines two motors to achieve better high end power but still suffers a bit in acceleration compares with low end. But since Tesla has higher voltage, it can hold the high rpm slightly better. Once the back emf kicks in, you are done, unless you got much higher drive voltage which effectively requires a much bigger battery pack. You will also generate more heat at those higher rpm.

The best way to deal with it is by either adding a gear for top end acceleration or do what Voltec does, by modulating 2nd motor somehow to reduce the rpm of main traction motor.

Or do what Tesla does by adding a 2nd motor that has taller gearing…

Thought it could have something to do with gear ratio, but the i3 has a 9.70:1 ratio compared to 9.73:1 for the B class, so a wash.

That leaves software limitation or the fact that the Tesla drivetrain in the B class is an AC induction motor which does better at higher rpms than the Permanent Magnet AC motor used in the i3.

In terms of aerodynamic drag, the B class has a cdA of 0.59 compared to 0.69 for the i3 BEV and 0.71 for the i3 REX.

So better Aero of the b class does play a role at higher speeds.

Though it depends just as much on the frontal area too.

Yeah. The CdA is a product of the drag coefficient(cd) and the frontal area(A). The b class still does have a lower drag despite its larger frontal area.

Model/cd*Area=cdA
B class/.24*2.43= 0.59
i3 BEV /.29*2.38= 0.69
i3 REx /.30*2.38= 0.71

0.24 for B class?

Just like how Mercedez claimed that CLA has a Cd of 0.28 and it only got a 0.30 in Car and Driver’s drag test.

Where is the data on that?

Larger pack and higher drive voltage allows higher rpm out of the B-class motors.

of course the I3 can do this at every stop light without panicking the neighborhood, while the GTI is roaring and screaming and wearing itself out.

Some people still like the sound of an engine revving. Those people are the ones most surprised in their first drives in an EV.

My wife HATED the sound of revving engines, so she loves my LEAF. I can nail the accelerator and not get a dirty look from her like I would in my Mazda 3. (Still love the Mazda though!)

The i3 killed the gti of the lights. In the real world the ev will leave the gti for dead every time. Even when the gti is revving like no tomorrow at the lights.

But wow..if the i3 could trap 6mph faster…no way the GTI would come close to taking it in the quarter mile. But realistically we are talking 90mph before the GTI would catch the i3. So for most instances, the race would be over by then in any run around the city, lol.

Yes, that is true.

It is often the excuse of a drag race loser to switch topic about how much “faster” a drag loser is in the real world.

And I love the i3 way more than any GTIs out there. But a loss is a loss on drag trip.