Who wins in a drag race between a BMW i3 and an old Dodge Charger?

drag race
BMW recently unveiled a sportier version of the electric i3, named i3s. It’s not quite the M3 of the electric car segment, but it promises to deliver more smiles per mile than the model it’s based on. The German brand chose to highlight its newest electric car by staging an unlikely drag race against none other than a classic Dodge Charger.

At first glance, putting an i3s and a Charger on the same track sounds like the automotive equivalent of putting Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the same ring as a feeble first grader. The Charger became an icon in the muscle car segment thanks to a massive V8 engine whose output ranged from 375 to 425 horsepower in 1970. To put those figures into perspective, the city-friendly i3s gets by with an electric motor programmed to zap the rear wheels with 184 horsepower. It can’t beat one of the greatest muscle cars of all time, right?

It would undoubtedly lose in a zero-to-60-mph race or in a quarter-mile race, but BMW’s promotional video focuses solely on the first few yards of a drag race. The i3s blows the Charger’s doors off as it effortlessly (and silently) speeds ahead as soon as the light turns green. What gives? Is the Charger running on four cylinders? Did it start in fourth gear?

Not quite. Electric vehicles often have the advantage off the line because the motor generates peak torque instantly. A gasoline-powered engine typically doesn’t deliver its full torque output until at least a third of the way into the rev range, though the actual figure varies greatly from engine to engine. That helps explain why Tesla’s Model X P100D is so dang fast, and why the Charger falls behind the i3s.

To illustrate its point, BMW notes the i3s takes just 3.7 seconds to reach 37 mph from a stop, and 6.9 seconds to go on to 62 mph. The video cuts out after a few seconds’ worth of racing so we don’t know what happens next, but we’d wager the Charger catches up with the i3s pretty quickly. While it’s much older and considerably more basic than the Bimmer, it remains a purpose-built street-legal drag racer. We won’t know for sure unless someone finishes what BMW started.


Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.