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2020 BMW i3 Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 6.5

 The 2020 BMW i3's cabin features rich styling and sustainable materials, but it doesn't quite meet the standards of a luxury car, so it won't appeal to every shopper. The i3 offers plenty of space in its first row, a generous amount of cargo room, and an easy-to-use infotainment system. However, rear-seat legroom is tight.

  • "The interior is beautifully crafted with intriguing recyclable materials and the cabin has an open, airy appeal—but those who spend any time in the cramped rear seat will not be as happy as those riding up front." -- Car and Driver
  • "Room for four passengers and reasonable cargo space beneath its hatchback makes the i3 a livable car. The rear-hinged back doors bring an inherent limitation, though: If you have kids sitting back there, the driver or front passenger will have to unbuckle their seatbelt and open their door first, before opening the back door; the kids can't do it themselves." -- Consumer Reports
  • "Every i3 comes with a distinctive combination of interior materials, and while not every theme will meet with universal approval, none of them are dull." -- Autotrader (2019)

Seating

There's seating for up to four people in the i3. Though the seats are flat, they provide enough support and remain comfortable on long drives. There's ample head- and legroom in the front row, but legroom in the back isn’t quite as generous. To open the rear-hinged doors, you must first open the front doors.  

Standard features include cloth upholstery and heated front seats. Synthetic leather upholstery and genuine leather are available. For installing child safety seats, there are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats.

  • "Just as the i3 aims to be an urban runabout, the hard and flat seats may remind you of a park bench, albeit … a well-padded one. They feel more akin to furniture than typical car bucket seats. Ultimately, the driver seat proves supportive, even on a long drive. … Adults can find plenty of head room back there, and the seat is shaped for good posture and support. But knee and leg room are tight." -- Consumer Reports
  • "The i3 has the utility of a typical small hatchback–with a twist. The rear side doors are hinged at the rear, so they open opposite the front doors. There is no pillar separating the front and rear doors, which creates a large, open space that facilitates entry (and cargo placement) in the back." -- Car and Driver
  • "Just as city buildings go up instead of out, so does the i3. This creates plenty of headroom and the rear seats will take a couple of average-sized adults with ease." -- Autotrader (2019)

Interior Features

The standard iDrive infotainment system is fairly intuitive and features convenient audio and climate controls, sharp graphics, and organized menus. The 6.5-inch display is not a touch screen, and the system is controlled using a rotary knob on the center console.

Standard features include Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, HD Radio, navigation, proximity keyless entry, and automatic climate control. The i3 also comes standard with several safety features, including adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Available features include navigation, a Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless device charging, an advanced navigation system, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, and a moonroof. Several active safety features are also available, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive headlights.

See 2020 BMW i3 specs »

  • "While many electric and hybrid vehicles opt for massive screens with touch functionality and an overabundance of information, the 2020 i3 takes a much simpler approach. All i3 models come with BMW's iDrive 6 infotainment interface." -- Car and Driver
  • "A big knob on the center console operates BMW's familiar iDrive system to control audio, navigation, and phone functions through the menus on the center screen. On-screen fonts are big and clear. Functions for radio, phone, navigation, etc. are grouped together, and other than a few cryptic symbols, the menus are ultimately logical." -- Consumer Reports
  • "The nontraditional rotary shifter stalk is actually intuitive and easy to work once you use it a few times." -- Edmunds (2019)

Cargo

With 15.1 cubic feet of space behind the back seats and 36.9 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down, the BMW i3 has a good amount of space compared to others in the luxury hybrid and electric car class. There's handy small-item storage compartments, but the i3's high liftover height makes it hard to load heavy cargo.

  • "There is no pillar separating the front and rear doors, which creates a large, open space that facilitates entry (and cargo placement) in the back. The rear seats fold easily using a strap on the inside of the car, and we fit 14 of our carry-on suitcases inside with the seats lowered." -- Car and Driver
  • "With the rear seats in the 'up' position, we were able to fit one large upright suitcase and a duffle bag in the cargo area. … Tie-downs in every corner of the cargo floor and a large elastic band on each sidewall help to keep items from rolling around. Expanding the cargo area is easy with simple pull straps to fold the rear seats flat; this opens up a generous space. If you need to carry small items, there is a storage bin under the hood -- yes, in front. It already houses the tire inflator kit and the home charging cable." -- Consumer Reports
  • "The trunk is somewhat small because the electric drive motor and generator are housed under the floor, which makes the loading height a bit high too. The i3's high roof offsets these issues somewhat, and the rear seats do fold flat. There's good usable space folding one or both." -- Edmunds (2019)
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2020 BMW i3

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