The world of subcompact electric cars certainly is interesting as these small nimble EVs are what the European market believes is a perfect city commuter. You can see loads of these in cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, or any other major European city as living with these is much easier (and cheaper) compared to regular, and larger, ICE cars.
The Peugeot e-208 is one of the leading cars in this segment at the moment as Peugeot did a really good job with the latest e-208. It is a car that does not cost too much money but still manages to look authentic and offer good standard equipment. The BMW i3 on the other hand bridges the gap between affordable subcompact EVs and subcompact luxury EVs which sure is a challenge for the e-208.
In this article, we are going to compare the Peugeot e-208 vs BMW i3 and tell you which one of these two is the better car. We will compare them in regard to pricing, design, driving experience, range, power, battery size, charging, practicality, and features.
By the end of this article, you are going to have a broad understanding of why one of these is the better car and it should enable you to choose your next subcompact EV much easier.
Peugeot e-208 – The Smallest Peugeot EV
The Peugeot e-208 price is £31,345 in the UK, €32,250 in the Netherlands, and €35,350 in Germany which can be viewed as the norm in this segment. Even though this price does seem a bit steep for a subcompact car, it does not seem too high for an EV. For this price, you are getting a 2/4-door subcompact EV with a single electric motor, 139hp, and good looks.
The e-208 comes with a 45kWh usable battery that should be enough to give you between 125 and 265 miles of range depending on how you drive the car and the outside temperature. You can recharge the e-208 from 10% to 80% using a slow AC 7.4kW charger in around 7 hours and 15 minutes while fast DC charging at 150kW takes around 25 minutes.
The Peugeot e-208 is often viewed as the best-designed car in its segment as its interior is really difficult to beat for the price. The space on offer is also in-line with most cars while the driving experience is superior to most thanks to agile handling and lack of body roll.
BMW i3 – The Smallest BMW EV
The BMW i3 was first introduced for the 2013 model year but was completely discontinued for the 2022 model year. You can buy a lightly-used BMW i3 in Europe for around €28,000 to €35,000 depending on the mileage, the model year, and its equipment. Initial models offer a small 18.8kWh battery while the very latest models offer a 38kWh usable battery.
For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on 38kWh models as these are the only ones that can be rightfully compared to the e-208. These offer between 168hp and 181hp, front-wheel-drive, and a range of between 100 and 225 miles depending on how you drive the car and the temperature outside.
Slow AC charging at 11kW takes 4 hours and 15 minutes while fast DC charging takes 36 minutes using a 50kW charger. The BMW i3 looks unique because BMW wanted to make a statement with the i3. Some deem its looks to be attractive and quirky while others deem it to look a bit too weird. Either way, the interior of the latest generation still looks fairly modern.
The driving experience of the i3 is comfortable and not overly dynamic which isn’t something you’d expect from a BMW. It also isn’t particularly well isolated or spacious as that was never the intention of the i3.
Conclusion – The Peugeot e-208 Is The Better Car
The Peugeot e-208 is more comfortable, more spacious, has a larger trunk, better tech, better range, faster charging, and more composed handling. The BMW i3 does still feel fairly contemporary, but its driving position, slow-to-respond infotainment, and tight rear seat space (small doors) is what makes it the less ideal option for most.
Even though these do seem closely matched when it comes to price, it makes a bit more sense to pay slightly more and get a better car brand new. The i3 has been around for quite a while and that is rather apparent as the e-208 takes it a step further in almost every category.
Is BMW Going To Offer A New BMW i3?
The BMW i3 has been discontinued for good and BMW has no immediate plans to reinstate it anytime soon. As it seems, BMW is now more concentrated on offering brand-new EVs, and the i3 has been around for 9 years which means that the platform on which it is based is rather old and explored to the end.
Many people believe that modern-day BMW electric models are a bit on the uglier side as the overall BMW design language is going through a revolution rather than an evolution. We are yet to see what BMW has in store for its smallest EV, but we do know that it is not going to be called the BMW i3.
Is The Peugeot e-208 Safer Than The BMW i3?
The Peugeot e-208 was never tested by Euro NCAP, but its 2019 ICE cousin has gotten a 4 out of 5-star rating as it didn’t do all that well in the vulnerable road user category where it only scored 56%. Adult occupant protection is more than adequate at 91% while child occupant safety is at 86% which is also more than good.
The BMW i3 is almost identical in every category, but it does fall a bit short when it comes to adult occupant safety ratings which are capped at 86%. However, BMW did come out and say that the i3 is actually a 5-star car, but we can’t know this for certain.
Is The BMW i3 Too Small?
The BMW i3 is perfect when it comes to darting through busy city streets and parking the car where no other cars dare to approach. The i3 offers enough space for taller drivers if they are alone in the car while multiple passengers are going to struggle.
As such, the i3 isn’t all that big, but if you use it for what it is, it should be large enough even for taller drivers.