Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive vs BMW i3: The quietest automotive duel ever

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
Not only does Mercedes think it has the better car, it also apparently thinks it has the better obnoxious pant job, too.

Get ready for a fight.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz have one of the most intense rivalries in automobiledom, and they’re about to take it to the next level.

Mercedes R&D chief Thomas Weber told Automotive News Europe (sub. required) that his company’s B-Class Electric Drive will outshine the vaunted BMW i3, and other electric cars.

“In all the key criteria, this vehicle will be at least as competitive as our competitors’ models,” Weber said. If you were wondering, that’s German fightin’ talk.

Weber believes the B-Class Electric Drive will have an advantage because of its practicality. Unlike the bespoke i3, the Electric Drive is based on an existing subcompact hatchback, meaning it has five full-size doors, five seats, and a larger footprint than the BMW.

Weber said the B-Class Electric Drive will also offer class-leading performance.

The car has an estimated range of around 125 miles; Weber said this could be achieved in “normal everyday use.” EVs tend to lose range in everyday driving due to a variety of factors, so we’ll have to see if that claim holds up.

The B-Class’ electric motor will produce an estimated 134 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. That will be enough to get the car to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds, according to Weber.


So how do those numbers stack up against the B-Class Electric Drive’s arch rival?

The i3 will have 80 to 100 miles of range, according to BMW. Its electric motor produces 170 hp and 184 lb-ft, enough for a 0-60 mph time of around 7.0 seconds.

It isn’t surprising, though, that the smaller and more powerful BMW aces the theoretical 0-60 test. However, the cars’ ranges are pretty close.

This may be partially due to the Mercedes’ larger battery pack (28-kilowatt-hours, versus 22-kWh for the BMW). Still, it looks pretty impressive on paper, considering that the i3 was designed to be as lightweight and efficient as possible, while the Electric Drive was built off an existing platform.

Unlike BMW, Mercedes won’t offer the Electric Drive with an optional range-extending gasoline engine.

The two cars’ differing philosophies may be their most distinguishing features.

BMW sees the i3 as a completely new kind of car, which means consumers may be a little bewildered by it. With the B-Class Electric Drive, Mercedes has built a normal car that just happens to be electric. That will appeal to more conservative customers, but won’t be a fashion statement like the BMW.

Both cars are expected to go on sale in the United States next spring. The i3 will start at $41,350; Mercedes hasn’t announced pricing for the B-Class Electric Drive.

Which one do you think will come out on top? Let us know in the comments.


Volvo plans to face the future without sacrificing its identity

Volvo is embarking on an ambitious push to fill its lineup with electric and hybrid cars, as well as an infotainment partnership with Google. Volvo Americas CEO Anders Gustafsson explains how the Swedish automaker plans to pull that off.

Workhorse takes on diesel with lighter, cheaper NGEN-1000 electric delivery van

Ohio-based Workhorse Group claims its new NGEN-1000 electric delivery van costs the same as a conventional diesel van and can haul a similar amount of cargo. A lower curb weight makes this possible.
Emerging Tech

Japanese scientists are chewing over an ‘electric gum’ that never loses flavor

Researchers at Japan's Meiji University may have found the secret to unlimited chewing gum -- and it just involves zapping your tongue with electricity. Here's what makes it all work.

Porsche upgrades German factory to build Taycan electric cars

A Porsche factory that currently builds the automaker's popular sports cars will soon begin churning out Taycan electric cars. In preparation, Porsche is upgrading the factory to be high tech and low emissions.

At 503 mph, Turbinator II is the world’s fastest wheel-driven vehicle

The Turbinator II is a four-wheel drive streamliner powered by a 5,000-horsepower helicopter engine, and it just achieved 503.332 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. That's an unofficial record for a wheel-driven car.

Lyft has a new fixed-price subscription plan for frequent passengers

Lyft wants you to save money by using rideshare services instead of owning a car. The new Lyft All-Access Plan monthly rideshare trip subscription includes 30 rides a month with a small discount for additional trips.
Product Review

Audi's new A8 is so sophisticated and serene, it practically deletes potholes

The 2019 Audi A8’s outline looks promising: Level 3 autonomous driving capability, haptic-feedback infotainment screens, rear-wheel steering, Matrix LED headlights and OLED taillights, plus a predictive suspension.

Could the next Mazda3 boast a fuel-saving breakthrough in engine tech?

Mazda released a teaser video that likely previews the next Mazda3. Expected to make its global debut at the L.A. auto show, the next 3 will wear a more curvaceous design and offer one of the most advanced engines in the automotive…

Forget transponders with Peasy’s nationwide pay-as-you-go toll service

Verra Mobility launched Peasy, a consumer highway and bridge toll payment service. Designed to be less hassle than managing traditional transponder or toll tag accounts, Peasy pays tolls as they are levied across most of the U.S.

Just 10 people will get to put this limited-edition Audi R8 in their garages

The 2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus Competition makes use of Audi's motor sports experience to turn up the performance dial. Decreased weight and increased aerodynamic downforce make this R8 a track monster.

Porsche’s all-electric Taycan sedan will cost less than a Panamera

Porsche's Mission E concept won't change much as it transitions to a production model named Taycan that's scheduled to arrive in 2019. That means the sedan will keep the sleek design and its 800-volt charging system.

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.

Tesla keeps promise with more affordable Model 3 with midrange battery pack

Tesla is keeping its promise of making the Model 3 gradually more affordable. The company released a new variant of the car with a mid-range, 260-mile battery option that's priced under the $50,000 mark.

The snake escapes: Ford’s 700-hp Mustang GT500 slithers online ahead of schedule

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will return in 2019 with over 700 horsepower, Ford confirmed at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. The GT500 will be the most powerful Ford production car ever.