BMW i3 or Nissan Leaf? Head to head comparison

by Bernie McGroarty on August 12, 2014, 12:52 am


BMW i3s have been making their way to buyers and reviews have been pretty positive for the most part. What we need is a comparison to really get things going. I know we posted about a Tesla driver comparing the i3 to the Tesla, you can check it out here if you haven't read it, but I'm thinking a more fair comparison. Enter the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is Nissan's five door, five passenger all electric offering. The top Leaf Model, the SL runs around $35k to start, with some techy stuff added it's around $37,500, so it's pretty close to the i3, which will run you around $41k.

AutoExpress in the UK recently put the i3 up against the Nissan Leaf in a battery powered comparison. Check out some the details from the head to head.

i3
The BMW has the upper hand when it comes to interior room. Its neat pillarless door opening makes for easy access to the back seat – although the wide, carbon fibre door sill will be a hurdle for some. Light materials and large windows also help make the i3's cabin feel brighter and more airy than its rival's more traditional interior.

Head down a twisting back road and the i3 quickly gets out of its depth. The steering is quick and well weighted, allowing you to place the car with confidence, and there's more grip than you'd expect from the thin tyres. But hit a mid-corner bump and the tall i3 quickly loses its composure, as the suspension struggles to contain any wayward body movements.


Leaf
The Leaf's styling and cabin aren't up to the same standard, plus it's not as quick. It's roomy and well equipped, while refinement and comfort are on a par with the BMW. More importantly, the novel i3 makes the Nissan feel a little dated.

It won't come as a surprise to discover that the Nissan Leaf isn't a serious driver's car and the handling is pretty inert. However, if you just relax and enjoy the smooth ride, it's a great commuter car and decent for nipping about town in.


In the end the i3 ended up on top with its cleverly designed cabin, comfort and range for most short commutes. It was also a bit faster than the Leaf with a 0-60 of 7.2 seconds, the Leaf clocks in at around 11.5 seconds. The one negative was with the i3s disappointing handling.

Source AutoExpress


Leave a Comment

You must be a registered member to comment on stories. Please take a moment to register for your free account now. If you already have an account, log in using fields below.










10 responses to BMW i3 or Nissan Leaf? Head to head comparison

stillageek commented:
August 13, 2014, 9:49 pm

We own both a 2013 Leaf SL and a 2014 I3 Terra REX.

The two are different enough to not be cross shopped.

My wife loves her Leaf. For her a car is an appliance. She has no care for sporty driving...it's point A to point B as efficiently and quietly as possible.

I'm a car guy. I memorize cars. I can spot ANY car from 200 feet away and tell you make , model, year, trim and engine. I'm an idiot savant...I'm also a geek.

I love my I3. I've driven them back to back and the Leaf is very much so an everyday car. Boring, but it does it's job without getting in the way.

There are a few items the Leaf has I wish I had on my I3 (but are not deal breakser as we bought the Leaf first)
1. Sunglass holder
2. Fog lights
3. SOC indicator!!!!!!!
4. Ability to turn OFF ac from the app
5. Dedicated website to track energy usage
6. Heated steering wheel
rmjames007 commented:
August 15, 2014, 11:06 am

The Leaf is just plain ugly to me. I cannot get past it.
Me530 commented:
August 15, 2014, 12:33 pm

11.5 seconds to 60 on the leaf? That seems downright dangerous to me.
bredi commented:
August 27, 2014, 8:47 pm

the handling in the i3 is my concern. Big winds, big trucks, small tires and going around turns.
khovik commented:
August 28, 2014, 8:04 am

There's plenty of i3/Leaf/eGolf comparisons in European magazines these days. i3 and eGolf seem to win 50/50, and Leaf is left in the dust.

We picked up our new eGolf roughly a month ago (live in Norway), after considering the i3 as well. Both cars are great, but there are a couple of drawbacks regarding the i3:
- The camera based ACC in the i3 is inferior to the radar based system in the VW
- Very small selection of winter tires
- Lack of 5th seat
Vortec4800 commented:
August 30, 2014, 12:23 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by stillageek View Post
I'm a car guy. I memorize cars. I can spot ANY car from 200 feet away and tell you make , model, year, trim and engine. I'm an idiot savant...I'm also a geek.
Hah, this is funny. I'm the same way, I can tell the make and model of a car, at night in the dark, based on its headlight pattern. We have a gift. A useless, stupid gift.
krnnerdboy commented:
August 31, 2014, 10:46 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by bredi View Post
the handling in the i3 is my concern. Big winds, big trucks, small tires and going around turns.
This quote might have just swayed my decision against the i3. I'm looking to pickup a commuter car for my wife. She drives 80 miles a day on an interstate w/ lots of semis that goes through a windy part of town..... Back to a 328d wagon or model s
stillageek commented:
August 31, 2014, 11:32 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vortec4800 View Post
Hah, this is funny. I'm the same way, I can tell the make and model of a car, at night in the dark, based on its headlight pattern. We have a gift. A useless, stupid gift.
It's Useful in case of a bank robbery or crime....we will not say a "white sedan". We will say a 2004 White Toyota Camry SE...

And as far as skinny tires...I've never noticed an issue. It might be a "mind" issue as you know they are skinny. I've gone around clover leafs, exit ramps and normal curves at speed with no issues.

I noticed no difference in crosswinds (I'm an airline pilot...I know crosswinds) than the Leaf or or former Prius.
equ commented:
September 1, 2014, 5:21 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by krnnerdboy View Post
This quote might have just swayed my decision against the i3. I'm looking to pickup a commuter car for my wife. She drives 80 miles a day on an interstate w/ lots of semis that goes through a windy part of town..... Back to a 328d wagon or model s
I doubt the crosswinds would be an issue for the i3, I have test driven it and could feel the low center of gravity. 80miles/day though? I think diesel is where it's at for your wife. My signif other gets high 40's with her excellent golf TDI.
twinturboman commented:
September 4, 2014, 4:15 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vortec4800 View Post
Hah, this is funny. I'm the same way, I can tell the make and model of a car, at night in the dark, based on its headlight pattern. We have a gift. A useless, stupid gift.
Don't think it's stupid,it's more stupid when you ask someone :so what car was that? Answer:red car?,not useless,in case you are ever asked by law enforcement about the kind of car the perps were driving you can describe it down to the burned out turn signal bulb that the car had,or you will know which cars you have a chance of beating at a light based on the brand,year,engine type and transmission,am sure you would know performance figures on probably 90% of cars on the street (just saying) not that you would or should do anything like that.