$15,621 - $17,039

2015 BMW i3 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2015 BMW i3 was new.


Interior: 8.0

Auto writers note the 2015 BMW i3 stands out among EVs with a luxurious interior and many high-quality materials, including some that BMW states are made from recycled or renewable resources. Some critics also think the i3's cabin is more stylish and functional than the interiors typically found in an EV. They add that the iDrive infotainment system responds quickly and is easy to use, and that the rear seats are spacious but can be difficult to access.

  • "Yet, even if you forget all about the high-tech construction and powertrain, the i3 is actually a nice car. There's a classy looking interior, solid build quality and an impressive amount of practicality." -- Edmunds
  • "About as roomy as the automaker's larger 3-Series, the i3 is designed to emulate the midsize 5-Series in terms of the premium feel its cabin provides. To that end, BMW selected upmarket materials, 25 percent of which are composed of either recycled or renewably-sourced materials. For example, the Eucalyptus wood trim used in its dashboard was 'responsibly forested.'" -- Left Lane News
  • "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 (2014)


The BMW i3 has four seats, and heated front seats and cloth upholstery with leatherette accents come standard. Leather upholstery is available. Test drivers report that the 2015 i3 has good outward visibility from the front seats, while the rear seats have sufficient legroom and ample headroom. The i3 has rear-hinged back doors, which open opposite the front doors. A few automotive journalists say getting in and out of the back seat is easy, while others complain that the i3 has a high step-in height and that accessing the rear seat can be cumbersome.

  • "Suicide-style mini rear doors combine with a low, flat floor to give the i3 excellent access and a feeling of spaciousness inside." -- Left Lane News
  • "The front seats are comfortable and their raised positioning gives the driver excellent outward visibility. In back, the two-person rear seat offers decent legroom and plenty of headroom. There's also a wide opening to get in and out of (or put your personal items on one of the backseats) thanks to the i3's rear-hinged access doors. But getting in the back is a two-step process, as you must open both side doors to get back there. Also, getting in and out of the backseat isn't easy for taller passengers, as the i3's opening isn't all that tall." -- Edmunds
  • "Happily, it's also supple and quiet in normal driving, making for an unmistakably luxurious experience." -- AutoTrader
  • "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 (2014)

Interior Features

The 2015 BMW i3 comes standard with Bluetooth, adaptive cruise control, a USB port, HD Radio, navigation, automatic climate control, satellite radio and BMW's iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-inch display. Available features include a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, parallel park assist and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.

Most critics think the i3's controls are easy to understand, and that the iDrive infotainment system has fast responses to commands and a clean layout. Some complain the i3's shifter, which is attached to the steering column, is confusing and that it can be difficult to tell what gear you're in.

See 2015 BMW i3 specs »

  • "Despite all the high-tech gizmos, most of the i3's functions are rather easy to learn and use, aided by BMW's much-improved iDrive interface with available touchpad functionality." -- AutoTrader
  • "As unusual as the cabin is, though, there's still a typical BMW array of climate and infotainment controls. The latest version of BMW's iDrive controller is pretty easy to use thanks to straightforward menus, crisp graphics and quick processing times." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2014)
  • "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 (2014)


The 2015 BMW i3 has 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row of seats and 36.8 cubic feet of space with them folded. The i3's trunk space is larger than in some EVs such as the Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Spark EV, but the Nissan Leaf has more space behind the rear seats. Reviewers say they like that the i3's rear seats fold flat and that, unlike in some other EVs, the cargo area is normally shaped. They add that there is ample interior storage space.

  • "Cargo capacity is on the small side. … Unlike in most EV competitors, though, the rear seats fold flat and the trunk space itself is unfettered by oddly shaped, protruding panels. We also like how there's plenty of interior storage for water bottles or other small items." -- Edmunds

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