BMW i3 Versus Tesla Model S P85+ Drag Race Shows the Gap Is Real

The Bavarians at BMW made quite a big deal about their "i" project back when the first car to wear this monicker came out, but time has shown they were only trying to stall and hide the fact they weren't ready to produce a competitive electric vehicle yet.
BMW i3 vs. Model S drag race 4 photos
Photo: YouTube screenshot
BMW i3 vs. Model S drag raceBMW i3 vs. Model S drag raceBMW i3 vs. Model S drag race
The i3 was the first model to be produced under the "Project i" name, a sub-brand of BMW that would focus on alternative propulsion solutions and the use of innovative materials. The five-door hatchback is nearing its fourth anniversary (production started in September 2013), and despite all this time and the fact it comes with the backing of a renowned carmaker, it didn't do too well commercially.

That was probably down to its limited maximum range which initially stood at 160 km (100 miles) according to NEDC, and only recently (last year) got bumped up to 300 km (190 miles) thanks to a larger 33 kWh battery pack. However, the EPA rating of the BMW i3 is still pretty poor at 183 km (114 miles).

However, the i3 is kind of fun to drive. Despite its boxy shape and the comically thin yet large in diameter wheels, the Bavarian EV still has rear-wheel-drive and enough power to make maintaining grip on those tiny ground contact patches difficult. That meant hitting the accelerator pedal from a standstill could result in the rear end dancing all over the place.

It only has 170 hp, but its diminutive dimensions do mean it has a relatively low weight for an electric vehicle. In its non-range extended version, the i3 tilts the scales at just 1,195 kg (2,635 lb), which is half of what a Model S weighs.

But the Tesla four-door sedan has other things going for it, most of which would prove very useful in a drag race. For instance, it has more than double the horsepower even when talking about a single-motor model. Talking about the case at hand, the P85+ here has 421 hp, plus a way of making sure they all reach the wheels in the most effective way. No wheelspin for the Tesla, then.

The race itself is as quiet as it is pointless. Does anyone really imagine the BMW i3 stands a chance? By the time the American EV reaches the finish line, the small hatchback can't even be seen anymore. BMW owes to its reputation to come with something that can hold its own in a drag race, even if it uses electricity to make the wheels go round. Let's hope we'll see that as soon as possible.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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