BMW i3 review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
The i3 is roomy and comfortable for four, thanks to great design and clever packaging
Clever packaging means the BMW i3 is quite roomy, and although the car doesn’t take up much room on the road, it feels bigger from the inside. That’s largely thanks to an airy interior and a relatively high seating position compared to many city cars, which gives you a great view of the road.
There’s lots of space for driver and passenger, and plenty of adjustment for the driving seat and steering wheel mean getting comfy won’t be a problem. There are neat cup-holders, armrest storage and cargo nets, while the glovebox has a top opening lid. The controls are beautifully laid out too, but one criticism we have is with the slightly dim headlights.
The BMW i3 is a ground-up design that reflects its ‘clean sheet of paper’ origins where other electric cars have played safe with more familiar styling themes.
The i3’s wheel-at-each-corner stance emphasises its compact footprint – at 4,011mm nose-to-tail it is shorter than both the 4,490mm Nissan Leaf and the 4,087mm Renault Zoe. An upright stance means that at 1,598mm it’s taller than both the 1,540mm Leaf and the 1,562mm Zoe.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
The BMW is a strict four-seater – there are only two seatbelts in the rear. The rear passengers climb in and out through small rear-opening coach doors that can only be opened when its adjacent front door is open, too. At least the fact there’s no B-pillar in the middle makes it very easy to get in and out.
The boot has a high floor, thanks to the running gear underneath, but the 50:50 split seats fold flat.
There’s no loading lip, so you can easily slide things into the 260-boot with all the seats in place. Capacity grows to 1,100 litres with the seats folded down.
In the nose, you get a shallow tray for the tyre repair kit, but the cord to open it is hidden behind a panel in the passenger footwell.
- 1VerdictThe BMW i3 is innovative, stylish and good to drive - delivering a premium small electric car with plenty of road presence
- 2Engines, performance and driveSprightly electric performance and good handling make the i3 fun; a compromised ride can’t spoil it
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsDay-to-day running is cheap as chips, but you pay for the privilege at both ends through a high list price and average residuals
- 4Interior, design and technologyConcept car looks and design-led interior set the scene for a technology masterclass
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingThe i3 is roomy and comfortable for four, thanks to great design and clever packaging
- 6Reliability and SafetyThere’s an 8-year warranty on the battery, but pedestrian safety costs the BMW i3 vital Euro NCAP stars