I like how my eGolf handles, and haven’t driven an i3 yet, but I have driven my daughter’s Tesla. I don’t know how either compares to the i3, except I was told that the automatic regen braking on the i3 is similar to the Tesla. I’ve read conflicting things about the steering on the i3…
Hello Kimmers000 and welcome to the forum!
Regarding driving and steering – you don’t specify which Tesla you've driven so I’ll share some thoughts having had short drives in a Tesla Model S and a Tesla Model 3 (an e-Golf, too). I’ve owned two i3 BEVs – first was a 2014 and the current one is a 2021 i3s.
My preference is for sporty driving and in this both i3s have kept me very happy! First, steering. The i3's steering is electrically assisted which from an enthusiast's standpoint is almost always worse than older hydraulically-assisted technology but electric assist is where all cars are going now because it is more energy efficient.
The i3's steering immediately impressed me from the first turn I took with it! As with all electric steering systems there isn't a lot
of feedback coming through the wheel but the steering is wonderfully precise – there's zero slop (dead zone where you make a small adjustment in steering-wheel angle yet the car doesn't change direction) and the car responds at the lightest bit of pressure on the wheel. I love it.
Perhaps the conflicting comments you've read have something to do with this. I've read negative feedback with people saying the steering is "twitchy" and for someone that's just come from owning a car where you can drive 65mph, wiggle the wheel back and forth while the car doesn't react – then yes, I can see the "twitchy" comments making sense. The i3’s steering is definitely more lively than either an e-Golf or a Model S (the Model 3's steering is pretty good, though, definitely closer to the i3).
Another wonderful steering thing about an i3, it has an amazingly tight turning radius, far tighter than anything I've driven. You'll feel like a superhero when you park or flip a U-turn on a narrow street.
My 2014's handling (19" wheels) was ok on surface streets but less enjoyable on the freeway. Specifically, it felt a bit top-heavy (a rolling side-to-side wobbliness) at freeway speeds, something that shouldn’t happen with all that battery mass in the floor! I should note that my daily driver right before the i3 was a BMW with an M suspension so that probably predisposed me to being sensitive to this top-heaviness. I think the i3’s design's lack of a rear stabilizer bar / anti-roll bar is a big omission and had BMW included one it would have mitigated some of this sensation.
After a while I lowered my 2014’s suspension which knocked back the wobbly feeling very nicely.
Last year I upgraded to a 2021 i3s (20" wheels) – BMW really did their homework here! They lowered the car, made the rear track wider and put on wider tires. Ride quality is much better than my upgraded 2014 and I don't feel any need to make adjustments to the suspension.
All of the above said, steering and handling are highly
subjective – and reviewers don't always use the same adjectives for feel, ride quality, handling, etc. Ultimately you just have to do a test drive for yourself. If you can, check to see if the tire pressures are close to correct before setting off – you can verify this in iDrive, it's under the My Vehicle section, then select Vehicle Status. You might have to drive for a short distance before the display will show the pressures. Do your test drive on both surface streets and freeways to see how the car deals with both situations. Drive for more than 15 minutes if you can arrange it with the dealer or ask if you can take the car home overnight!
Something to be aware of, the i3’s A-pillars are pretty large and it’s very easy to lose a crossing pedestrian behind them, especially on the driver’s side.