New Volkswagen e-Golf vs BMW i3

Electric hatchbacks don’t come much more usable than VW’s latest e-Golf. But is it better than the radical BMW i3?...

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What Car? team
23 Sep 2016 06:00 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

The e-Golf is around £1000 cheaper to buy than the i3 if you’re paying cash for it. However, it’s a different story if you’re buying on finance, with the i3 offering lower monthly PCP repayments. It’s cheaper to lease, too.

The money you save initially will be offset by the i3’s higher running costs, though. While the i3 will cost you less per charge (due to its slightly smaller battery), it will be significantly more expensive to service and will lose more in depreciation over three years. Insurance premiums will be higher, too, due to the cost of repairing the carbonfibre body.

Both cars come with the capability of rapid charging, with the i3 able to return to 80% capacity within 40 minutes and the e-Golf taking five minutes longer. It’s possible to charge both cars using a domestic 240V supply, although it’ll take 10 hours in the BMW and 13 hours in the VW just to return to 80%. From a charging station (the home-installed kind), both cars will take around four hours to reach this level.

New Volkswagen e-Golf vs BMW i3

Out of the box, the e-Golf is the better-equipped car. Luxuries such as front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights and a top-spec infotainment system, all of which are standard on the e-Golf, are options on the i3.

As for safety, it’s the e-Golf that comes out on top, receiving a full five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test. The i3, on the other hand, scored highly for adult and child occupant protection but lost a star due to its poor performance in both the pedestrian impact test and safety assist section; unlike the e-Golf, the i3 doesn’t get automatic emergency braking as standard.