What do you get when luxury meets utility? Electric vehicles (EV) from premium car manufacturers could be the best of both worlds. The car formerly known as the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive has been renamed the Mercedes-Benz B250e in 2017 and is going up against the BMW i3 in this head-to-head challenge. Also new for the B250e is a new Electric Blue interior, 4G LTE connectivity, and a zero-emissions EV powertrain. The BMW i3 gets a stylish new interior, a bigger battery, and a new configuration with an optional backup gasoline-powered electric generator. Read on to see how these two luxury small cars square off in this iteration of Head to Head: 2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e vs. 2017 BMW i3.
2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e vs. 2017 BMW i3 Interior Comparison
The Mercedes-Benz Benz B250e seats five and has generous cargo space (21.6 cubic feet cargo hold that shoots to 51.4 cubic feet with the rear seats folder down) with a flat-load floor that the battery sits below. There’s adequate adult legroom in back, premium vinyl upholstery, power front seats with memory settings and lumbar support, and a noticeably quiet cabin.
The BMW i3 has a stylish and unique interior design and is constructed of high quality eco-friendly materials. The carbon fiber shell construction keeps road vibrations out for a gliding-while-driving sensation. Another result of this is a whisper-quiet cabin. The BMW i3 has automatic climate control with electric heat, tilt-and-telescopic steering, an intuitive shifter, and four adults fit comfortably. There is an 11.2 cubic foot trunk for hauling parcels.
2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e vs. 2017 BMW i3 Exterior Comparison
The Mercedes-Benz B250e is a four-door hatchback that weighs in at 3,900 pounds, comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, LED Daytime Running Lamps and taillights, automatic rain-sensing wipers, and a heated windshield. Options available include illuminated door sills, roof racks, and a cargo area tray among others.
The BMW i3 is a four-door hatchback with nifty wide-opening reverse-hinged doors and a chassis that is constructed of all-carbon fiber, but don’t let its light weight fool you, it’s stronger than steel. Its looks are striking and unconventional, with a bottle neck style rear passenger window that flows to the rear of the car.
2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e vs. 2017 BMW i3 Performance Comparison
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e comes in one trim level only. This FWD EV hatchback has a motor that was developed by Tesla. It’s a front-mounted 132-kilowatt electric motor that is powered by a 25-kWh lithium-ion battery with an operating range of 84 miles. It generates 177-hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. The i3 can be recharged in 3.5 hours by a 240-volt charging station or in 30 hours by a standard 110-volt wall outlet. Acceleration is advanced, going from 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds, and with the enhancement of three driving modes, and three-position steering with paddle shifters. There’s also a radar-based fully autonomous mode with natural-feeling regenerative braking and short travel suspension and precise handling.
The 2017 BMW i3 comes in three configurations. The base i3, BMW i3 with Range Extender, and the 60 Ah model carries over from last year. Both the base and the i3 with Range Extender have the same bigger battery (33-kWh battery with a 114-mile range with 170-hp electric motor and RWD), while the 60 Ah comes with the smaller battery from last year (22-kWh battery for an 81-mile range with 170-hp electric motor). The new bigger battery makes the 2017 BMW i3 all-electric (significantly extends its electric driving range), with 45 percent more storage. The plug-in i3 gets 33 more miles per charge bringing the total number of possible miles per charge up to 114 miles. BMW i3 with Range Extender tacks on an additional 30 miles and has a 0.6-liter two-cylinder gasoline generator with a fuel capacity of 2.4 gallons for a total combined range of 180 miles (97 on electricity). Tip: to be used for backup. It will weigh down acceleration which is otherwise brisk: 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds. This is partly due to the carbon fiber the i3 is constructed of; it’s commonly used in race cars, which assists in its high-octane acceleration. A low center of gravity lends to an ease in maneuverability. Off-throttle regenerative braking adds to the slick smooth ride and one-pedal driving.
2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e vs. 2017 BMW i3 Feature Comparison
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e shuffled around the available features and bundled some as packages. You can get the following features standard with the B250e: cruise control, a Central Controller 7-inch display, an audio system with HD radio, a hands-free Bluetooth interface, dual USB audio ports, plus a new deep-charging mode for the battery to squeeze in a few extra miles in between charges. Standard safety features include Active Brake Assist, stability and traction control, forward collision mitigation, and antilock disc brakes. New and standard is ATTENTION ASSIST® which continuously monitors driving behavior to alert drivers of signs of drowsiness.* Packages include: Electric Blue Interior with top-stitched blue and gray vinyl upholstery. An Interior package adds leather interior, ambient light, radar-based regenerative braking and satellite radio. Premium 2 features a Harman Kardon audio system and high intensity lights, among others. Premium 3 features navigation, rearview camera, voice controls, and CD/DVD, among others. Some options include: Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, blind-spot monitoring, wood trim, heated seats, and automated parallel parking. Mbrace system enhancements include Connect with remote locking, movie times, flight info; Concierge has weather and turn-by-turn directions; Entertain has a host of streaming radio and music services.
The 2017 BMW i3 configurations have an assortment of features. The 60 Ah model has parking sensors, LED headlights, 19-inch wheels, climate control, an imitation leather interior, and heated front seats. Technology includes a 6.5-inch display, HD and satellite radio, business navigation, and is equipped with Level 3 DC fast-charging capacity. The base i3 trim level comes with fatter back tires and adds traffic in real-time and keyless ignition and entry plus: automatic wipers, DC fast charging, and seat heaters. Available Packages include a Technology + Driving Assistant package which has adaptive cruise control, advanced navigation, widescreen display, local search, automatic emergency braking, and more. The Parking Assistant package comes with front parking sensors, rearview camera, and automated parking. There’s also an optional interior available in all-leather or leather and wool. The 2017 BMW i3 has stand-alone options that can be added that include 20-inch wheels, a sunroof, a power glass sunroof (i3 or Extended Range only) and a premium stereo.
2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e vs. 2017 BMW i3 Overall Comparison
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e is the only B-Class model exported to the US market, which adds to its “wow” factor. The Tesla-developed motor ups the ante. This is the go-to car for zipping around town and stuffing as much cargo in as you can cram in the available 51.4 cubic feet of storage space. This is the luxury EV with utility in spades and makes for a refreshing change.
The 2017 BMW i3 ramped-up the variety of configurations, offered the bigger battery, and the extended range, which is always a good-to-have. The feather weight constructions of the carbon fiber chassis adds to its overall appeal and stealth-like acceleration. Tack on the reversed-hinge doors and you can imagine yourself behind the wheel in the cockpit of a space-age vehicle; or nearly as close to it as we can get in 2017.
If you’ve never driven an electric vehicle before, there really is no time like the present. Why not start at the top, with Mercedes-Benz and BMW? Put pedal to the medal when you visit your local AutoNation-affiliated dealer today.
*ATTENTION ASSIST may be insufficient to alert a fatigued or distracted driver of lane drift and cannot be relied on to avoid an accident or serious injury.