The i3’s cabin might look like it belongs in a high-tech laboratory but all its controls are easy to use and the cabin can be trimmed in some really classy materials
Even in the company of futuristic-looking electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe, the BMW i3’s cabin really stands out. Its vast windscreen and large side windows fill the interior with light and make it feel impressively spacious for such a small car. It’s even better with the optional £780 panoramic glass roof fitted.
You can get the cabin trimmed in one of four colour and material combinations. The first – Atelier – is standard on all i3s and comes with cloth seats and blue piping while Loft versions – with faux-leather upholstery – will set you back an extra £1,000.
Hand over an extra £1,500 for a Lodge interior instead and you’ll get partial leather and wool-trimmed seats, silver steering wheel inserts and a gorgeous eucalyptus wood dashboard.
Top-spec Suite versions are more expensive (they cost an extra £2,000) but you get full leather seats, leather trim for the instrument cover and a dark oak-coloured dashboard along with extended mood lighting and plush velour floor mats.
Everything is the i3’s cabin feels fantastic and looks like it’s been beamed back in time from a space-age furniture shop
Whichever model you pick, you get a 10.2-inch infotainment display with built-in satellite navigation and DAB digital radio. It’s mounted right up on top of the dashboard so you can quickly glance at it without taking your eyes off the road for too long.
You navigate through its clear, logical menus using the handy click-wheel controller on the centre console. It even comes with a touch-sensitive surface on top so you can write in letters of a postcode using your index finger. It takes a little getting used to but it’s more intuitive than scrolling through the on-screen keyboard by turning the wheel.
Once you’ve programmed the sat nav it gives clear, easy-to-follow directions. It’s been specifically tailored to suit the i3 and comes with handy menus to help you hunt down the nearest fast-charging point instead of just displaying local petrol stations.
If you don’t like BMW’s own sat-nav then you can pay £235 for Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. This system lets you use your iPhone’s navigation and media streaming apps through the i3’s built-in display. It’s easy to use and well-worth paying extra for. Sadly, you can’t get a similar feature for Android phones.
If you a serious audiophile you’ll want to upgrade the i3’s standard stereo to a louder and crisper Harman Kardon unit. It’ll set you back £640 on its own or comes as part of the £1,500 i3 Plus Package. The latter brings with it a web browser feature for the infotainment system, tinted windows and different 19-inch alloy wheels.