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2019 BMW i3 Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 7.7

The 2019 BMW i3 has a high-quality interior with unusual materials and a quirky design. The cabin feels spacious, though the back seat might be cramped for taller passengers. Cargo space is excellent for the class, and the i3's tech features are user-friendly.

  • 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
  • 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
  • "The cabin is another indication that the BMW i3 is not like other cars. The materials used include sustainable woods and eco-friendly fabrics. But they’re all fashioned into a well-designed environment that’s also assembled well." -- Kelley Blue Book

Seating

The BMW i3 seats four people. Cloth upholstery and heated front seats are standard, while synthetic leather accents and genuine leather upholstery is optional. Each rear seat has a complete set of LATCH connectors. The lower anchors are easy to find, but there's little space to maneuver your hands around. The tether anchors on the seatbacks can be confused for other hardware.

The front seats are mostly comfortable but lack sufficient side support. Most critics think the second row is roomy enough for adults, at least on short trips.

  • Rear passengers enjoy spacious accommodation for such a small car, with adequate legroom and generous headroom. Access isn't straightforward, however. The rear-hinged back doors can't open unless the front doors are open (there's no B-pillar), which is particularly inconvenient if another car is parked alongside." -- Autotrader
  • 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." -- Car and Driver
  • "The seats are thin and firm, as are the armrests, but they provide a surprisingly good level of comfort, though low on lateral support. The rear seats are decently comfy. … There is legitimate room for four adults to fit comfortably inside the i3, with adequate leg- and headroom all around. Rear occupants might eventually notice it's a tad narrow back there, but the i3 isn't a long-distance cruiser anyway." -- Edmunds

Interior Features

Standard features in the 2019 i3 include automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The standard iDrive infotainment system includes a 6.5-inch display screen, HD Radio, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, a USB port, and Bluetooth.

Optional features include navigation, wireless device charging, a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system, a moonroof, and a universal garage door opener. Optional active safety features include adaptive headlights, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and automatic parking assistant.

The iDrive infotainment system is controlled by a rotary knob on the center console, and its operation is straightforward. Physical buttons under the screen provide quick adjustments for temperature and audio settings.

See 2019 BMW i3 specs »

  • "Despite the gadgetry, most functions are easy to learn and use, aided by BMW's iDrive interface (with available touchpad functionality)." -- Autotrader
  • While many electric and hybrid vehicles opt for massive screens with touch functionality and an overabundance of information, the i3 takes a much simpler approach. All i3 models come with BMW's iDrive 6 infotainment interface. Apple CarPlay is standard—although it requires an annual subscription after the first year—but Android Auto isn't offered. The car also lacks power points, as there's only one USB charger in the front center console and none in the rear." -- Car and Driver
  • There are the typical BMW iDrive controller and screen menus, which work well, and the steering-mounted controls that make for a slightly odd volume knob and preset placement." -- Edmunds

Cargo

The BMW i3 has 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 36.9 cubic feet with the second row folded down. The seats fold flat, and a high roof results in a square, open cargo hold.

  • Cargo space behind the rear seats measures 15.1 cu ft. and 36.9 cu ft. with those seats folded down. That's not bad for a compact hatchback, but the Volkswagen e-Golf (for example) gives significantly more: 22.8/52.7 cu ft." -- Autotrader
  • The trunk is smallish at 15.1 cubic feet because the electric motor and generator are housed under the floor. This setup makes the loading height a bit high, too. But the i3's high roof offsets these issues a bit. And the rear seats do fold completely flat, with good usable space with one or both [folded]." -- Edmunds
  • "Luggage space behind the rear seats measures a generous 15.1 cubic feet, which expands to 36.9 when they’re folded." -- Kelley Blue Book
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