BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf

BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf

While we are waiting for that magic email inviting us to configure. Has anyone test driven these two cars? How do they compare to the M3? I am considering both as a backup option if i do not get the full tax credit. They might be different cars, but compare them with the price that they are selling for...

Option 0: Tesla M3, September 2016 reservation

Option 1: 2018 BMW i3 w Range Extender (160Miles) - 10K off from Sandiego Gas and Electric + Full Federal Tax Credit

Option 2: 2018 Nissan Leaf SV - Employer discount of 4K + Full Federal Tax Credit


Mozart | 12. Februar 2018

I leased a BMW i3 2014 to 2017. Great little car but very difficult to travel anywhere because of the charging infrastructure.

kram | 12. Februar 2018

@byrned - I might consider one with the range extender and I travel just about 40 miles roundtrip for work. I have another ICE car for backup.

Mozart | 12. Februar 2018

In that case, the i3 would work for you. But, if you get the range extender, a fully optioned i3 will cost more than the Model 3 Tesla. My opinion is the Tesla is twice the car as the i3 for about the same price

dgstan | 12. Februar 2018

I test drove an i3 and while I think it's a cute and capable car, I was terrified of driving on those ultra skinny tires. The road conditions here are less than average and it you drove along a seam in the freeway, the i3 would go wherever it wanted to (and did during the test drive).

Also, the dash must've had 100 different buttons/switches, knobs, etc. After riding in a Model 3, there was no way I wanted to learn all that stuff. It is way too complicated for an electric car. Just starting the car required you to do three different things.

Plus, I found the customer experience at BMW to be insulting and condescending. This was at two different dealerships here in the Bay Area. Their attitude was "if you don't have your checkbook out, have a seat and we'll get to you when we get to you". If this is how they treat new customers, I can't imagine what it would be like when you needed warranty service.

Shock | 12. Februar 2018


Owner satisfaction seems middle of the pack for BMW.

I'm surprised it is that low, but merc and infiniti do even worse. Everyone expects a lot when they pay a lot, but that dynamic does not seem to detract from porsche's very high satisfaction rate, nor Tesla's.

rtanov | 12. Februar 2018

I've had 2 i3's - a REX and a BEV, both 2014 MY, a 2017 Leaf and now the TM3. I traded in the Leaf for the Tesla and intend to keep the REX i3 I have left. I would always prefer the i3 to the Leaf but this was the 2017 Leaf - I have not tested or seen the 2018 Leaf. Something to consider with the i3, which I find very important, is the BMW Flexible Mobility program - they would give you an ICE BMW loaner car free of charge for out of town trips. I have used this numerous times, up to 10 days at a time, and this program has enabled us to be EV only household for more than 3 years. However, not all dealers participate in the FM program and they can discontinue it at any time. Last time I used it was in November.

EVRider | 12. Februar 2018

I drive a Model S but my wife is on her second i3 -- first one was a 2014 REX, current one is a 2017 BEV with the larger battery, both leased. She likes the i3, but will be getting a Model 3 when her i3 lease ends.

The i3 is fine for local driving, but I don't like how it feels on the highway (doesn't bother my wife, however), and there's no infrastructure for high speed charging if you want to go long distances. Although the i3 has 4 side doors, their design makes it a bit cumbersome for people to use the back seat.

chris.hansen | 12. Februar 2018

I'm replacing my i3 with the M3 I got last week. The i3 does a great job as a commuter. Lots of regen - down to 0, tight turning radius and large windows for visibility. Its also small so maneuvering in cities is great. The downside is the confusing controls and jittery suspension over bumps and handling at high speeds. The skinny tires wear down quickly and I have had many flats.

LeviDahl | 12. Februar 2018

I know you only mention i3 and Leaf, but I just wanna day how much I’ve enjoyed my Kia Soul EV (2015, bought November 2014). I’ve put 45K miles on it and haven’t had a problem. The handling is great (to me), and it’s pretty roomy compared to other EVs.

Just wish Chademo was as extensive as Superchargers, and range was better (which are the two main reasons I’m in line for the 3).

keydiver | 12. Februar 2018

Please do not even consider the 2018 Leaf if you live in a hot climate, the battery degradation is horrible. They are the only EV manufacturer without thermal management of the pack. My second battery is already down >10% in capacity. They are promising that the 2019 Leaf with finally have TMS. We'll see. I will never buy Nissan again.

kram | 13. Februar 2018

I went full circle considering every other EV, but in the end decided to wait it out, even at half the tax credit the M3 is a better car.

Thank you for those who provided feedback!

PhillyGal | 13. Februar 2018

I've test driven both an i3 and the outgoing model of the Leaf. They are both great little EVs but drive like the little bugs that they are and I just can't get passed the looks.

If I were to get one used for $15k or under, I'd consider it but brand new, not a chance. Since there's no long distance charging network, very little luxury, and they look funky - there just isn't enough upside in my humble opinion to spend that much.

Bri | 13. Februar 2018

You can get a used Leaf for condierably under $10k if you can get by with the very limited range for commuting and have an ICE or hybrid for longer trips. That’s what we’ve been doing since we bought our Leaf in 2014.