Compare/Contrast: BMW i3 Versus Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

JUL 8 2014 BY MIKE ANTHONY 25

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

It is impossible to mistake the BMW i3 and the Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive for each other out on the road.

Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive & BMW i3

Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive & BMW i3

You can absolutely tell them However, both vehicles are alike and different in several ways.

The B-Class ED is based off an existing front-wheel drive model in Europe. The i3 however is designed from ground up as part of the new i-series.

The similarities, according to Los Altos Town Crier, include:

  • Both 100% electric (except then i3 also has a REx option)
  • Designed to meet a certain states mandates.
  • Meet and exceed the needs of city-type traveling.
  • Nearly the same price right around $43,000.
  • A driving range of just over 80 miles on a full charge. (although the B-Class ED has an option to expand range to 104 miles)
  • Charging time takes about 4 hours on a 240v home charger as well as on most public charging stations.

The differences include:

  • The obvious appearances differences.
  • The Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive has more practicality with additional space for cargo and passengers, as compared to the i3.
  • The reviewers claimed a few differences in each drive and handle. i3 has the upper hand with BMW’s typical quick steering, acceleration, and cornering while the B-Class ED has Mercedes’ typical smoother handling and refined responsiveness.

The first i3 was delivered to a Massachusetts resident this last may, while the B-Class ED is expected to be delivered early on in this month.

For buyers, there should be no issue deciding between the 2 vehicles.  Since both vehicles essentially cost the same and deliver the same range, the choice comes down to what a buyer desires: appearances? cargo room? speed? handling? seating for 5?  Weigh your priorities, then decide which of the two is right for you.

BMW i3

BMW i3

*Editor’s note: The i3 tested in this comparison is without the optional range extender.

Source: Los Altos Town Crier

 

Categories: BMW, Mercedes

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

25 Comments on "Compare/Contrast: BMW i3 Versus Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive"

avatar
newest oldest most voted
Rav4 EV
Guest
Rav4 EV

You missed a few major things:
– One has a quick charging option (I3 only which is a major plus).
– One has a ~20% more extended range mode (B-Class) which makes it easy to go over 100 miles per charge.

drucifer
Guest

While the sticker price is fairly close, the Mercedes has MUCH BETTER lease deals than the BMW, which has horrible lease deals.

Vin
Guest

Where did you see the Mercedes lease deals n the B-Class? I couldn’t find it on their web site.

Electric Car Guest Drive
Guest

There was no mention of the infotainment and instrumentation systems, which are quite a bit different between the two cars.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Blue mirrors on the white look awful…but I rather like the silver mirrors on the blue body.

pjwood
Guest
pjwood

Wrapping them white, like people do their whole cars, wouldn’t be too difficult. Could DIY. What a needless mistake, though. I agree.

EV
Guest
EV

both are ugly from car companies that make good looking cars, how the hell did that happen

Jouni Valkonen
Guest
Jouni Valkonen

The philosophy with both companies is that their electric vehicles must be inferior to their comparable ICE cars, so that it will make look electric vehicle technology as not yet ready for mainstream, but it is there only to fill government oblications of low emission cars.

I think that this is the most important reason, why they did not pay much attention to the looks.

Just_chris
Guest
Just_chris

I would say that both BMW and Merc are true to form here and not in anyway treating their EV line up differently to their conventional car line.

Both companies build extremely good looking expensive sports cars with unbelievable performance and handling. They also make some much more modest, affordable and practical cars. They sell a whole lot more of the affordable cars than the top end stuff. That is the way they do and that is the way they are doing it going forward, think i8 vs i3 or SLS AMG electric drive vs b-class / Smart ED.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

The B-class BEV is no uglier than the B-class ICE and the 1-series hatch is not exactly a looker either.

Braben
Guest
Braben

It’s pretty easy to design nice looking sedans and coupes, but it’s not easy at all to make a nice looking compact car. It’s the proportions. I really can’t think of a really sharp looking compact (perhaps the Mini and the new Fiat 500, but more in a “cute” way)

That said, personally I think both the B-Class and the i3 look far better than, say, a Prius, Leaf or i-Miev.

Jouni Valkonen
Guest
Jouni Valkonen

There is no inherent reasons why EV must be a hatchback that is least appreciated form factor for a car.

Just wait third gen Tesla. It should also fit into same price category as i3 and B-Class ED, but it will certainly be very good looking car!

Braben
Guest
Braben

Well, hatchbacks are considered most practical for “city cars”, which is what pure EVs primarily are. There is also the question of efficiency, which is why BMW chose the hatchback format for the i3. It is the most economical format if you want a roomy passenger cabin with the least amount of weight possible.

Anton Wahlman
Guest
Anton Wahlman

By the time 2018 comes around, I’m sure there will be numerous of much better choices.

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

I do agree, a BMW 3-Series or Mercedes C-Class like EV saloons with at least real world 200 miles range would be a game changer for both manufacturers and for this reason I don’t believe they will come so soon as they would compete with the ICE offers of both companies. We need to have in my that the business case of Tesla Motors is (and always will be) electric car, reason why they don’t have to save the sell of outdated technologies (talking about ICE’s). If you want the latest car technology today, have only one way – Tesla Model S. Will take time for other manufacturers catch up and at that time maybe will be to late – see what happened if Motorola and Nokia that never recovered from the launch of the iPhone…

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

I disagree concern the BMW i3! It is a pretty looking futuristic concept like design! And we need to remember that is the first mass production carbon fiber vehicle for the masses – same technology used by McLaren, Zonda, Formula 1 and so on. The i3 is a disruptive proposal while the Mercedes B-Class is a conventional minivan made full of old and heavy steel. No way to compare both. Project by project the i3 is far superior despite the same price tag and range in the BEV model.

Miggy
Guest
Miggy

I think MB should have made their first EV the A-class, it is a far better looking car than the B-class. Both BMW and MB need to make EV’s with a guaranteed range of between 200 – 300 km or even more. Like the four doors of the MB over the i3.

Mikael
Guest
Mikael

No fast-charging for the B-class = not an option for me.
It’s game over on knock-out.

If they added fast charging then the extra range of the B-class would make the choice harder.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

That is a curious omission, along with the heated steering wheel. The LEAF has both a heated steering wheel and heated seats as standard. Heated *front* seats is an option on the B-Class.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Heated seats over rated IMHO…I have them on my ice now and never use them

SparkEVDriver
Guest
SparkEVDriver

Heated seats are significantly more efficient than heating the air. Unlike an ICE which has lots of waste heat, an EV must either use a heat pump or generate the heat, both of which uses a lot more battery power than heating just the seats.

I consider heated seats a requirement for an EV. They don’t add an appreciable amount of weight and have a reasonable cost.

Spec9
Guest
Spec9

Though I’m not a fan of the looks . . . I’d have to go with the BMW i3. BMW actually moved the ball forward with light-weight CFRP materials, the small range-extender idea, DC-fast charging, good efficiency, etc.

The only thing BMW really screwed up on was not making an attractive aerodynamic design. If the BMW looked like the Tesla Model S, it would have been a HUGE success.

Anon
Guest
Anon

The narrow, rut catching wheels will kill many, though. 🙁

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

The i3 was primary designed for Europe where crowded towns and short roads are more common then in the US. The Tesla Model S in the other hand was designed for the US where the wide open spaces and roads stands out.

Tom
Guest
Tom

I would say safety issue is my concern about i3 and b class s according crash test ratings mercedes is better