2019 BMW i3 vs. 2019 Lincoln MKZ

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the i3 and the MKZ 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, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and front parking sensors.


The i3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the MKZ’s (12 vs. 5 years).

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. Lincoln only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the MKZ.


A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the i3’s reliability 70 points higher than the MKZ.

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 Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 12 places higher in reliability than Lincoln.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the i3 with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the MKZ Hybrid (124 city/102 hwy MPGe vs. 42 city/39 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the i3 REx running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the MKZ Hybrid (107 city/93 hwy MPGe vs. 42 city/39 hwy).

The i3 REx can drive on battery power alone for up to 126 miles (153 miles for standard is). The MKZ must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the i3’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Lincoln only offers a regenerative brake system on the MKZ Hybrid.

Regardless of its engine, the i3’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Lincoln only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the MKZ Hybrid.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the BMW i3 higher (7 to 10 out of 10) than the Lincoln MKZ (5 to 7). This means the i3 produces up to 19.8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the MKZ every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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 MKZ are solid, not vented.

The i3 stops much shorter than the MKZ:





70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the MKZ. The i3’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the MKZ.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 6.6 feet tighter than the MKZ’s (32.4 feet vs. 39 feet). The i3s’ turning circle is 5.2 feet tighter than the MKZ’s (33.8 feet vs. 39 feet).


The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 800 to 950 pounds less than the Lincoln MKZ.

The i3s is 2 feet, 11.8 inches shorter than the MKZ, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The i3 has 1.7 inches more front headroom and .6 inches more rear headroom than the MKZ.


The i3 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The MKZ doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the i3 has a standard rear wiper. The MKZ doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The i3’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the MKZ’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the i3 is less expensive to operate than the MKZ because typical repairs cost less on the i3 than the MKZ, including $41 less for front brake pads and $68 less for front struts.


Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW i3, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Lincoln MKZ isn't recommended.

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 MKZ isn’t in the top three in its category.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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