GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,003 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
While taking advantage of free charging for my Volt at a BMW dealership, I went ahead and test drove their used i3. I still think it if fugly, but I liked the acceleration and handling. How does it compare to a Bolt?

Oh, and the sales dork was completely clueless. He was telling me that the i3 I was driving had "just under 200 miles of range"... if you call 119 miles less than 200 "just under" then I guess he was telling the truth! The one I test drove was a non-rex with the old smaller battery (81 miles of range), not the new battery that gets you 114 miles of range.

Later,

Keith
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,431 Posts
Before the test drives, just begin by comparing the physical and power specifications. The Chevy Bolt EV will beat ithe BMW i3 standing still. Then do the test drives.

I haven't seen the Chevy Bolt EV yet, but I have the BMW i3, and took a picture of one next to my 1995 Buick Regal, both cars waiting at the same distance at a traffic light (I posted a picture of it in the forum):
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?167874-BMW-i3-seen-in-Puerto-Rico

The I3 was so short that the tail matched the rear door on my Regal, as seen in the picture. So immediately it is less car for that high price. It has been on sale here since July 2014, yet I have seen just three (maybe only two since I may have seen the same silver and black one twice).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,468 Posts
Handling is roughly the same although if you're okay with bringing your range down, summer only tires on the Bolt would be a huge improvement over the an i3...BMW offers a luxury badge, ACC and moonroof all at a higher MSRP, however CARB state dealers will offer big discounts and they get highly subsidized leases with lease deals reportedly cheaper for a fully loaded i3 rex cheaper than a base Bolt...The Bolt is quicker; just got to test drive them both and pick which you like better...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,193 Posts
I've driven both. BMW i3 feels a bit quicker off the line but the Bolt EV has power that does not fade at higher speeds. The Bolt EV just keeps pulling. For passenger comfort I would put front seat comfort as similar (in some ways better for the Bolt and in some ways for the i3). Rear seat comfort Bolt EV wins hands down. Cargo space Bolt EV wins. Materials in the i3 are nicer (as they should be) but I find the layout better in the Bolt EV.

You can feel that the i3 is lighter and RWD. However you can also feel the limitations of those skinny tires. Bolt EV feels more planted and solid.

For me if they were the same cost the Bolt EV would still win. And since the i3 is more expensive it's no contest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
While taking advantage of free charging for my Volt at a BMW dealership, I went ahead and test drove their used i3. I still think it if fugly, but I liked the acceleration and handling. How does it compare to a Bolt?

Oh, and the sales dork was completely clueless. He was telling me that the i3 I was driving had "just under 200 miles of range"... if you call 119 miles less than 200 "just under" then I guess he was telling the truth! The one I test drove was a non-rex with the old smaller battery (81 miles of range), not the new battery that gets you 114 miles of range.

Later,

Keith
I have an i3. I've also driven the Bolt several times and I also have a Volt.

If you consider the i3's REX as a total sum mileage-wise, yes, it does over 200 miles. I routinely charge to 140 miles of range on EV alone and also get around 80 miles showing for the REX when fully charged.

The acceleration is very very good on the i3. It really moves off the line and especially in mid-range. I love the quick response of the steering and the handling is extremely good considering the tires it's on.

Overall the car is fantastic and rides very smoothly and is very quiet...considerably quieter than my Volt actually on similar or identical surfaces.

It doesn't have as much of a minivan feel as the Bolt. And I'd say it's quicker in most situations than a Bolt because it's RWD and can simply put power down better. The Bolt will probably out-accelerate it on the highway but not by much.

Fit and finish is excellent. The REX can be a tad noisy when on but it's rarely on and doesn't require a yearly FFM like the Volt does.

Yes I'm sure people here will hype up the fact that the Volt can go a lot further, etc etc etc...you can go to the moon and back blah blah...whatever. The i3 is a fantastic urban car and will meet 99.99% of your needs. The other 0.01% when you absolutely HAVE to drive across the country for whatever God-forsaken reason, then either rent a car or if you BMW gives you their trade-in deal where you can drop off the i3 for a full 2 weeks a year and take a loaner, then you can do that.

Also, I got the i3 REX for a lot less than a Bolt...even though it's a more expensive and more premium of a car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Before the test drives, just begin by comparing the physical and power specifications. The Chevy Bolt EV will beat ithe BMW i3 standing still. Then do the test drives.

I haven't seen the Chevy Bolt EV yet, but I have the BMW i3, and took a picture of one next to my 1995 Buick Regal, both cars waiting at the same distance at a traffic light (I posted a picture of it in the forum):
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?167874-BMW-i3-seen-in-Puerto-Rico

The I3 was so short that the tail matched the rear door on my Regal, as seen in the picture. So immediately it is less car for that high price. It has been on sale here since July 2014, yet I have seen just three (maybe only two since I may have seen the same silver and black one twice).
You can't compare a car's value by it's size...lol. That's the same as saying a car with 4 exhaust pipes is better than one with only 2.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,359 Posts
I did a 3 day test drive of the original BMW i3 rex and got to test drive the Bolt ONCE at the Dallas auto show (they aren't available here in Texas yet). As a "car guy" (but one who is getting old), I want a combination of fun, performance and comfort. I really liked a lot about the i3 (see my review in the BMW section from a few years back) - the performance and lightweight are really its defining qualities Indeed, I argued then, as now, that it was really a "hot hatch" play from BMW. It was the "most fun" of any EV I've driven.

Having said that, it also had a number of downsides. The short wheelbase and a bit too firm suspension gave it a mediocre ride quality and darty freeway handling - I really believe BMW simply got both the shock damping and steering calibration wrong (note: the skinny tires don't help). As a reference, I've owned a few BMWs including two M cars, so I'm familiar with BMW's usual ride quality. My comments here were seen often in reviews and on the BMW i3 Facebook page (the best source for all things i3). Once you add in the additonal compromises like the suicide doors (cool while showing them off to your friends and then a pain in almost every other use case), odd looks, higher sticker price, and pesky check engine lights (early models especially, but man that has continued WAY too long), the shine starts to wear off. The 2017 models are heavier and slower across the board, but owners seem to indicate the ride quality has improved and freeway dartiness is better. I'm not sure if this is because of the weight or improved suspension calibration - probably both. I still have a soft spot for the i3 because of its fun factor. It kind of "sticks with you".

Now, as to the Bolt EV, my test drive had three of us in the car, was about 10 minutes long and was in city streets. I may have gotten up to 60 mph for a second or two - take all of that into account. My INITIAL impression was (as Jupitermoon notes) that it just felt much softer off the line. Indeed, I nailed the throttle on at least 4 seperate occassions, the last 2 in sport mode, and just didn't feel that initial hit of EV torque. I did notice, however, that as I eclipsed 50 it just kept on pulling (unlike my old gen 1 Volt where power fell off a cliff at 45 mph or so). Honestly, I can't explain it. I have Car and Driver's test results for both cars right here in front of me and the Bolt EV is quicker in, well, every measure: 0-30, 30-50, and 50-70 (the latter by a full second). It may be the "Miata" effect here with the i3. Lighter cars often "feel" faster than heavier cars and, as a result, can be "more fun" to drive. I plan on test driving the Bolt again though and giving it a good thrashing! Having said all that, the Bolt seemed to have really decent ride quality compared to the (early, but I suspect even current) i3. We drove over some rougher patches and the car remained composed, with good road feel and little of the "head toss" experienced in the i3. I even commented to the sales rep and the end of the drive that I felt GM had really nailed the ride/ handling balance (at least at lower speeds...but that's where it is often most noticeable). The car was plenty roomy and way more usable in the rear seating area. The Bolt seats aren't great, but I also felt the i3 cloth seats were marginal (BMW leather were fine) - still, BMW cloth seats were more comfortable than Bolt cloth and BMW leather were more comfortable than Bolt leather.

I would have some trouble recommending the early i3's because of their issues and ride quality. It also appears BMW is changing direction with regard to the whole i series (doesn't look like we'll see much more from that division...maybe one more i3 and the i8 spyder and that's it).

I do actually prefer smaller cars (am currently driving a - NOT small - Model S P85+) so I look forward to my next Bolt EV test drive (hopefully a longer one on the freeaway and over some more marginal road surfaces).

I'm sorry, what was the question again?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
678 Posts
I think Cab nailed it... We also did the BMW three day i3 drive (a Rex) and despite really wanting to like it, I couldn't. My wife felt even more strongly negative about it and despised the interior...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,489 Posts
Then he should look at one with a REX.
He wasn't complaining about the range, he was complaining about the "sales dork" who tried to tell him that the car had a 200 mile range when it actually didn't (because it didn't have the REX option).

Of course anyone with experience would expect the salesman to present "alternative truths" in the hopes of making a sale.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
678 Posts
The three day drive vehicle I had was a Rex and the Rex is absolutely dreadful unless you live in a completely flat state! I'd never consider it.

Then he should look at one with a REX.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,289 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
The three day drive vehicle I had was a Rex and the Rex is absolutely dreadful unless you live in a completely flat state! I'd never consider it.
LOL...honestly the stuff some people say. What a load of nonsense. I've taken our i3 up the mountains plenty of times (Angeles Crest to Mount Wilson) and it performs like a champ.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top