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Both the i3 and the e-Golf have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and front parking sensors.
The i3 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The e-Golf’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The i3 comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. BMW will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the e-Golf.
BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i3 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the e-Golf.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 8 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.
The i3 REx’s standard electric motor produces 36 more horsepower (170 vs. 134) than the e-Golf’s electric motor. The i3s REx’s standard electric motor produces 47 more horsepower (181 vs. 134) than the e-Golf’s electric motor. The i3s’ standard electric motor produces 50 more horsepower (184 vs. 134) than the e-Golf’s electric motor.
The i3’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 153 miles, 22% further than the e-Golf’s 125 mile range. After it exhausts its pure electric range, the i3s REx can then continue for over 82 more miles on its internal combustion engine, while the e-Golf has to recharge for 1 hour for only a 80% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 26 hours.
The i3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the e-Golf are solid, not vented.
The i3 stops much shorter than the e-Golf:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
60 to 0 MPH
The i3s’ 195/50R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the e-Golf’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the e-Golf. The i3 offers optional 20-inch wheels.
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the i3 is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the e-Golf.
For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 3.4 feet tighter than the e-Golf’s (32.4 feet vs. 35.8 feet). The i3s’ turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the e-Golf’s (33.8 feet vs. 35.8 feet).
The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 500 pounds less than the Volkswagen e-Golf.
The i3s is 10 inches shorter than the e-Golf, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 29% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 16th.
When two different drivers share the i3, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The e-Golf doesn’t offer a memory system.
If the windows are left open on the i3 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the e-Golf can’t use the remote to operate the windows.
The e-Golf SEL Premium’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The i3’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.
The i3 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The e-Golf offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The i3’s standard GPS navigation system offers an optional real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The e-Golf’s navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.
Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW i3, based on reliability, safety and performance.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the i3 third among small premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The e-Golf isn’t in the top three.
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