New BMW i4 vs Tesla Model 3: practicality

Hammer and tongs, tooth and nail; the rivalry between these musclebound electric cars will be seriously hard fought...

New BMW i4 rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

In both cars, front seat occupants have an abundance of head and leg room, but the same can’t be said for those sitting in the back of the BMW i4. Despite having a fairly tall roofline for a four-door coupé, an elevated rear seating position (both the floor and rear bench are higher than they are in the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé) means occupants will have to tilt their heads to avoid making contact with the ceiling. You can get around this by slouching down a little; there’s enough leg room to allow you to do that, but it’s not ideal when you’re on a long journey.

The Tesla Model 3 is much better in this respect. Although the measurements are little different, its roof curves in such a way that there’s actually appreciably more rear head room than in the i4, and the feeling of spaciousness is enhanced by the Model 3’s taller side windows and standard-fit panoramic glass roof.

Tesla Model 3 rear seats

In addition, because the Model 3 has been designed from the ground up to be an EV, and only an EV, there’s no central floor hump for the middle seat passenger to straddle – an obstacle they’ll encounter in the i4.

The Model 3 continues to pull out a lead when it comes to luggage capacity, because it has both a rear boot and a smaller ‘frunk’ under the bonnet. The i4 doesn’t afford you this luxury; open its bonnet and all you’ll find is a plastic cover sitting atop its front electric motor. So, despite having a wider rear boot aperture than the Model 3 (due to it being a hatchback rather than a saloon), the i4 can accommodate only eight carry-on suitcases, compared with the 10 that can be swallowed by the Model 3 – nine in the rear boot and one in the front.

Boot space

BMW i4

New BMW i4 boot space

Boot 470 litres Suitcases 7

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 boot space

Boot 450 litres (r) 92 litres (f)  Suitcases 10

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