In-depth reviews

BMW i3 review - Interior, design and technology

Concept car looks and design-led interior set the scene for a technology masterclass

The i3 has been designed from the ground up as an EV – and it really shows. Taking its cues from the BMW Coupe Concept that debuted in 2012, the battery-powered car looks like it’s driven straight off a designer’s computer screen.

Tall and narrow proportions give the i3 the look of an MPV rather than a family hatch, but you could argue it stands in a class of its own. Lightweight plastics are used for the heavily sculpted body panels, while the bonnet and glass tailgate get a distinctive gloss black finish. Other highlights include the angular window line, swept-back headlamps and metallic blue trim for the faired-in grille and lower sills.

The futuristic feel continues inside. Access is easy thanks to the rear-hinged doors and lack of a B-pillar – although you have to step over the wide sill. Once in, you’ll be able to enjoy the cleverly packaged and imaginatively designed layout that’s easy to use and beautifully finished.

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Climb into the high-set driver’s seat and the first thing you’ll spot is a pair of large infotainment screens – one ahead of the driver and one that appears to ‘float’ above the centre of the dashboard. These units display everything from speed to sat-nav info, and are controlled via a dial on the centre console. A choice of tactile wooden, metallic, cloth and leather trims are available, bundled into what BMW calls ‘interior worlds’, while the low-set dashboard and vast windscreen create a bright and airy feel.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

You’d expect a cutting-edge machine like the BMW i3 to pack quite a punch in the infotainment stakes, but actually, the car offers much the same degree of connectivity and control as other cars in the BMW line-up.

That’s hardly a disappointment, though. There’s a sophisticated sat-nav as standard, a 10-inch screen with iDrive touch controller, DAB radio, hands-free Bluetooth plus access to a variety of social media, music and email apps. You can also upgrade with a Harmon Kardon sound system.


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