What Car? Pits BMW i3 Against Volkswagen e-Golf

DEC 29 2014 BY MARK KANE 18

BMW i3

BMW i3

What Car? released an interesting review of the BMW i3 and the Volkswagen e-Golf in which it’s trying to find out the best EV from the user point of view in the UK.

Both cars are rated positively.  However, the vehicles are from different classes and for What Car? the e-Golf wins as more practical with 5 seats, a larger trunk and a more relaxing, quieter ride experience.

BMW i3 has stronger acceleration. However, those skinny tires makes fast driving nervous at times.


These are two of the best electric cars on sale today. The i3 continues to wow with its superb cabin, while its strong performance and real-world range also give it plenty of appeal.

The e-Golf wins, though. It might be slightly more expensive to own, but it’s considerably more practical, has a more comfortable ride, is better to drive and comes with more standard equipment. Considering all that, we think it’s just worth the extra.

1st – Volkswagen e-Golf

  • For Great to drive; well equipped; spacious inside
  • Against Ride isn’t as good as standard Golf’s; not as quick as the i3
  • Verdict The most convincing electric car yet

2nd – BMW i3

  • For Impressive performance; stunning cabin; brilliant infotainment system
  • Against Choppy ride; nervous handling; small boot
  • Verdict Hugely desirable, but the e-Golf makes more sense”

Source: What Car?

Categories: BMW, Volkswagen

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18 Comments on "What Car? Pits BMW i3 Against Volkswagen e-Golf"

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Many people will argue with the statement “The most convincing electric car yet”

IMO the eGolf is a serious contender in a field of very similar vehicles, it does not stand out, or sell well.

yeah – most convincing electric car yet – whatever. I and everyone that owns Ford Focus electric might disagree. So funny how my car is totally under the rader. Great price, handling, interior package, but unknown to most people.

+1. It really is too bad our FFE’s dont have QC capabilities. Then it really would be a compelling argument to make as far as best EV for the price.

There are some good aftermarket QC options coming soon. We’re covering one of them in the next EV Show.

this is a UK review, no Ford EV’s sold in the UK yet.

Hmm, #1 per capita EV sales state, Washington State, e-Golf not available. i3 widely available in my state, i3 for the win.

Apparently (insideevs.com/hawaii-2-behind-california-electric-car-registrations-per-1000-vehicles/), Washington is now #3. Nevertheless, it is surprising that the eGolf isn’t available there.

I’m confused on the pricing. Isn’t the e-Golf cheaper than the i3? I don’t know what the “It might be slightly more expensive to own” comment regarding the e-Golf. I’m pretty sure the e-Golf is less expensive to buy, $36k vs $42k [roughly], while you’d never make up that difference for the ever-so-slightly better efficiency per mile on the i3. I agree availability is better for the i3 (I could buy one where I live [PA], but I’d have to go to Maryland to get the e-Golf.

I was confused on that too.

We shopped EVs in October and November. I live in SoCal. The i3 was ~ $10k more than an eGolf with comparable trim levels. We compared the FFE, Leaf, Rav4 EV, i3, eGolf and Soul EV. The VW was the best option for us, and I’ve been thrilled with it over the 5 weeks we’ve owned it.

The i3 sells based on the first two words of its verdict: Hugely Desirable. It is a weird looking spacemobile with hot hatch performance…nothing else like it on the market.

Volt 215mm, ELR 245mm, Tesla 245mm, Leaf 215mm, Focus EV 225mm….and so on. i3:

155mm – What Car got this part right. Still seems crazy to me too, to have tires this narrow.

It is all about reducing drag …

U.S. pricing U.K pricing.

Apparently the ‘does not equal’ sign (opposed ‘less than greater than’) doesn’t post, so consider my previous post to read “U.S. pricing isn’t the same as U.K. pricing.”

Because the e-Golf is the loaded SEL model, it’s MSRP is $9600 less than the comparable i3. In addition, it has non$ advantages. 4 full doors, 40% more cargo space, etc

I bought a Limestone Gray e-Golf after much research


i3 MSRP 42,400 MSRP Mega World (includes 950 shipping)
CCS charging 700
Heated seats 350
Parking Assist 1000
Sub Total 43,450 * 1.08 tax = 46,925 versus e-Golf 36,365 MSRP * 1.08 = 39,275
Net Difference 7650

Unpriced e-Golf things est value:
Partial power seats 500
Leatherette seats 1000
SIRI radio 300
Total 45,250 * 1.08 = 48,875 versus 39,275
Final net difference 9600

Additional qualitative +: 40% more cargo space, can see some of the hood, 2 full rear doors with electric windows, 5 passengers vs 4, more traditional look, 100 mile towing guarantee, 4 levels of braking regen vs one on the i3, display in dashboard rather on top of dash

Possible minus: Battery not cooled, not as peppy, too conventional looking for some, not aluminum frame/carbon body, no REX option (but this has weight/range penalty and you lose the heat pump}