Video: CNET On Cars – BMW i3 First Drive Review


CNET on Cars recently reviewed the BMW i3 and it was this line that caught our attention:

CNET Drives the BMW i3

CNET Drives the BMW i3

“BMW i3 gives the Nissan LEAF a German accent.”

This may well be the first time that the BMW i3 was compared in any way, shape or form to the Nissan LEAF, but we doubt it’ll be the last.

While the i3 certainly outperforms the Nissan LEAF, BMW’s electric vehicle isn’t an extraordinary performance machine like the Tesla Model S, nor is it a long-haul road-tripped like the Chevy Volt.

The i3 sits in a unique place occupied by no other electric available in the US today.

It beats the low-range EVs in performance, yet falls short in versatility (only 4 seats and limited cargo area).

Why do we think the LEAF comparison will pop up more and more?  The exterior design of the two vehicles is so quirky that they both have that look-at-me, polarizing appearance.  We think it’s in this regard that the LEAF / i3 comparisons will become common.

Back on topic, this CNET on Cars review is professionally done and well executed.  If it weren’t for how well it’s put together, it wouldn’t appear on these pages, as we’ve all by now seen dozens of i3 reviews.

Categories: BMW, Videos


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5 Comments on "Video: CNET On Cars – BMW i3 First Drive Review"

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Tony Williams

What, no more ridiculous BMW i3 to Tesla Model S comparisons?

Yes, the i3 far more likely to compete with the Nissan LEAF than a Tesla Model S, with the i3 and LEAF sharing 70-100 mile all electric range, 4-5 passenger, quirky styling, and both companies eager to actually sell EV’s, as opposed to virtually all other major manufacturers who are just going through the motions for regulatory compliance.

I doubt the LEAF will ever have an oil burning motorcycle engine, but I equally doubt that the LEAF will adopt the almost non-existent BMW “Frankenplug” quick charge standard. BMW is wisely offering the CHAdeMO world standard quick charge port for i3’s sold in Japan. Perhaps, with almost 4000 CHAdeMO stations around the world, BMW will make it optional elsewhere, too. Or, they could very wisely team up with Tesla Superchargers !!!

David Murray

I’m pretty excited about this car. Yes, BMW is definitely putting effort into this and they see a future selling these cars. Chademo would be great, but since I would almost certainly buy the range-extender version of this car, fast charging would be less important to me.

The Volt may end up being a better deal from a perspective of “more bang for your buck.” Both are 4-seaters, both are PHEV, and the only real difference the BMW has going for it is more all-electric range and a bit more acceleration power. BMW will have to look out for the next generation Volt.


Excited about this car? This is a Nissan-Leaf like with a BMW badge on it. Jesus this is insane. Not only this car looks weird, I can’t see any specification that makes a meaningful distinction between a Leaf and this car.


leaf sucks


Those who do not understand about cars and buy purely based on a name badge can get fooled and buy this car. For God’s sake, BMW managed to make a car as ugly as the LEAF. This car doesn’t even dream to be compared to a Tesla Model S. I also saw the i8 and it is not a functional car at all. Certainly there are lot of people out there with bad taste who buys any garbage BMW, Audi and Benz throws at them without evaluating what they are getting. Amazing how BMW and others do not get it and continue to produce odd, creep looking cars only because they think it is electric.

Hats are off to Tesla.