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2014 BMW i3 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2014 BMW i3 was new.


Interior: 8.0

Reviewers say the 2014 BMW i3 has a modern, funky interior design that provides a nice contrast to the dark, solemn interiors in many BMWs. They like many of the design touches, such as the display screens that seem to hover above the dash. They also appreciate some of the i3’s unique interior materials, like the eucalyptus wood trim. However, parts of the dashboard and door panels are made from an eco-friendly woven fiber that critics think looks a bit cheap. Test drivers agree that all four seats in the i3 are roomy and comfortable. Some critics think the iDrive infotainment system is intuitive, while others write that it complicates certain settings.

  • "The interior isn't the usual dark, brooding, uber-serious German hunting cabin, but a place of bright, playful fun." -- Motor Trend
  • "There is none of the stripped-out, tinny feeling found in many EVs. BMW's ground-up approach netted acceptably low poundage without having to scrimp on noise insulation and the like." -- Car and Driver
  • "Overall fit and finish is impressive -- that eucalyptus dash really makes a statement -- yet some of the earth-friendly material in other parts of the dash and door panels looks like compressed attic insulation." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The two dashboard screens float in space, adding to the airy feel." -- Autoblog


The 2014 BMW i3 seats four and comes standard with cloth upholstery with leatherette accents. Leather upholstery and heated front seats are optional. Test drivers say that the i3 has a high seating position in the front and back, which one critic thinks can make getting into the car a little challenging. Another reviewer says entry is further complicated by the reverse-hinged rear doors if you’re parked next to another car. Still, automotive journalists agree that the front and rear seats are roomy and comfortable. Reviewers think that outward visibility is fantastic from all four seats.

  • "Inside, the seating position is somewhat high but not overly chairlike, visibility is fantastic and space is roughly equivalent to the 3 Series in the head- and legroom departments. Reverse-hinged clamshell rear doors make it easy to access the backseat (which only holds two) so long as you're not parked next to another car." -- Edmunds
  • "Its rather high step in can make getting inside -- especially the rear via the carriage doors -- a bit awkward. Once settled, though, the seats are comfortable and the rear seat is roomier than you might first believe. Rear passengers will have to contend with a large black pillar to their left or right, but the peculiar vertical shape of the rear windows counters that aspect with a good view out." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The seats, too, are as thin as supermodels, yet comfortable like someone with a little more meat on their bones." -- Autoblog

Interior Features

The 2014 BMW i3 comes standard with navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a USB port, automatic climate control and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, which allows you to adjust vehicle, audio and climate settings. Optional features include a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning system, a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system and satellite radio.

Some reviewers say the iDrive infotainment system makes it easy to control vehicle, audio and climate settings, while others find it difficult to make adjustments. A number of test drivers write that the transmission shifter seems complicated at first, but some say that it gets easier to use with practice.

See 2014 BMW i3 specs »

  • "BMW's iDrive had its detractors in the past, but it has evolved into an easy-to-use system for controlling in-car functions." -- AutoTrader
  • "BMW's iDrive remains somewhat difficult to use, but the i3 version is better than previous implementations. The response time is quick, but we did have a hard time figuring out where exactly to click for various settings and items." -- Autoblog
  • "If you own this and another BMW, you're always going to be confused by the shifters. We very nearly smacked the wall in a parking garage when we shifted into reverse, thinking it was drive." -- Car and Driver
  • "Of course every truly green machine needs the requisite weird shifter, and the BMW i3 obliges with a doozy sprouting from its steering column. It makes more sense and is easier to master than the others, though. In fact, we grew to like it and it does make the dash less cluttered." -- Edmunds


The BMW i3 has 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats and 36.8 cubic feet when these seats are folded.

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