2020 Lincoln MKZ vs. 2020 BMW i3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/12

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lincoln MKZ are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW i3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The rear seatbelts optional on the MKZ inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The i3 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Pre-Collision Assist in the MKZ as “Superior.” The i3 scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The MKZ offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The i3 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The MKZ’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The i3 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the MKZ’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The i3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The MKZ’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The i3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the MKZ and the i3 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 and available front parking sensors.

The Lincoln MKZ weighs 443 to 1337 pounds more than the BMW i3. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the MKZ is safer than the i3:

MKZ

i3

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

15 mm

15 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Neck Force Rating

Low

Low

Max Neck Shearing Force

0

5

Max Neck Tension

524

561

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the MKZ the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 204 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The i3 was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the MKZ 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the i3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the i3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 2 times as many Lincoln dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the MKZ’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lincoln vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lincoln 2 places higher in reliability than BMW.

Engine

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The MKZ has more powerful engines than the i3:

Horsepower

Torque

MKZ Hybrid 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid

188 HP

MKZ 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

245 HP

275 lbs.-ft.

MKZ 3.0 turbo V6

350 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

MKZ 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

i3 REx 0.6 2-cylinder hybrid

170 HP

184 lbs.-ft.

i3s electric motor

184 HP

199 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The MKZ Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 11.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the i3 Range Extender (14 vs. 2.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The MKZ AWD’s standard fuel tank has 15.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the i3 Range Extender (18 vs. 2.3 gallons).

The MKZ has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The i3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the MKZ’s brake rotors are larger than those on the i3:

MKZ Hybrid

MKZ 2.0T/3.0T

i3

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

12.4 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.4 inches

11 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the MKZ has larger tires than the i3 (245/45R18 vs. 155/60R20). The MKZ’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the i3 (245/45R18 vs. 175/55R20).

The MKZ’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the i3’s standard 70 series front and 60 series rear tires. The MKZ’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the i3s’ 55 series front and 50 series rear tires.

The MKZ has a standard space-saver spare (not available on Hybrid) so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the i3; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The MKZ has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the MKZ flat and controlled during cornering. The i3’s suspension doesn’t offer stabilizer bars.

The MKZ has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The i3’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The MKZ’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The i3 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the MKZ’s wheelbase is 11 inches longer than on the i3 (112.2 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

The MKZ AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the i3 pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the MKZ a Mid-size car, while the i3 is rated a Subcompact.

The MKZ has standard seating for 5 passengers; the i3 can only carry 4.

The MKZ has 13 cubic feet more passenger volume than the i3 (96.6 vs. 83.6).

The MKZ has 3.8 inches more front legroom, 4.1 inches more front shoulder room, 5.1 inches more rear legroom and 6.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the i3.

Cargo Capacity

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A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the MKZ. The i3 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the MKZ offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The i3 doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Towing

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The MKZ has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The i3 has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 18% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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The MKZ has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The i3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The MKZ’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The i3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The MKZ’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower all of them with the lock engaged. BMW does not offer a locking feature on the i3’s power windows.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the MKZ’s exterior PIN entry system. The i3 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its BMW Assist can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the MKZ detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The i3 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the MKZ has standard extendable sun visors. The i3 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

A power rear sunshade is standard in the MKZ Reserve to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The i3 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Both the MKZ and the i3 have standard heated front seats. The MKZ Reserve also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the i3.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the MKZ Reserve keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The i3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the MKZ Reserve’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The i3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The MKZ has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The i3 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The MKZ Reserve offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the i3.

The MKZ’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The i3 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The MKZ offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The i3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the MKZ owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the MKZ with a number “5” insurance rate while the i3 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MKZ is less expensive to operate than the i3 because it costs $318 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the MKZ than the i3, including $497 less for a water pump and $55 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/12

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Lincoln MKZ and the BMW i3, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lincoln MKZ outsold the BMW i3 by almost four to one during 2019.

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

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