Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • BMW i3 inherently strong structure
  • Let down by lack of driver aids
  • Carbonfibre tech will help in a crash

The BMW i3 is the first car from the German manufacturer to not achieve a full five-star crash-test rating for many years now.

According to Euro NCAP, the absence of speed recognition technology, rear seatbelt warning and a poor result in pedestrian safety is where the i3 lets itself down.

Low-speed impacts are taken care of by the metal chassis, leaving the CFRP untouched and not requiring repair. Should the shell be badly damaged, or any of the high-voltage components breached, it will need attention from a specialised repairer.

How many Isofix car seats can I fit in a BMW i3 hatchback?

As our graphic above shows, there are two Isofix attachments in the rear seats of a BMW i3. With rear-hinged back doors, it’s quite easy to fit child seats to keep your brood safe.

  • A very roomy cabin for a small car
  • Space for four adults in comfort
  • Boot not very big though

Ride behind one and the combination of contrasting paint finishes, a tall stance and tapering sides suggests that BMW i3 practicality is not going to be a strongpoint. But just like the very best books, this is a car not to be judged by its cover.

From behind the wheel this car feels huge, despite its four-seat-only capacity, and that’s down to a number of factors. The dashboard with its layered effect stretches far out in front of you to a heavily curved windscreen base – the glass itself almost oversized for a car of this stature – and even burly rugby-playing adults won’t rub shoulders.

There’s no transmission tunnel, adding to the spaciousness of the cabin, and rear-seat passengers can fit comfortably behind other adults. Deeper side windows on the rear-hinged back doors mean even young children will get a good view out, and it never feels claustrophobic. The tilting front seats, along with those rear-hinged doors, ensures access to the back bench is easy too.

The BMW i3 is a surprisingly compact car, at a whisker under 4.0 metres long. That’s bang-on supermini size, yet it’s quite wide at 1,775mm from mirror to mirror, which is how BMW manages to squeeze in so much interior passenger space.

The i3 is easy to park owing to its upright stance, good view out and those perky dimensions. You can order acoustic parking sensors front and rear as part of the Park Distance Control option for £170, or you could go the full hog and order the Reversing Assist Camera for £360 but we’d question the need.

Luggage-wise there’s a small space under the ‘bonnet’ at the front, and the hatchback at the rear reveals 260 litres of space. It’s not a very big boot, owing to the batteries stowed beneath the floor, but it’s the same space in all versions of the i3, irrespective of whether you’ve got the Range Extender engine or not.

If that’s not enough, folding the rear seats liberates a further 840 litres, bringing the total capacity up to 1,100 litres. It is very easy to flop the back seats forwards to extend the luggage space – they don’t fold flat, but you can easily accommodate a big box such as a dog crate with the seats folded.

Basic equipment

The basic equipment list includes equipment that is standard across all versions of the BMW i3.

  • 3x3 point rear seat belts
  • ABS
  • Alarm
  • Alloy wheels
  • Audio remote
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Cruise control
  • Driver`s airbag
  • Electric mirrors
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front electric windows
  • Heated mirrors
  • Heated seats
  • PAS
  • Passenger`s airbag
  • Sat Nav
  • Service indicator
  • Side airbags
  • Traction control

Equipment by trim level

To view equipment options for a specific trim level, please select from the following list:

Equipment included on some trim levels
  • Air conditioning
  • CD
  • CD Multichanger
  • Central locking
  • Cloth seat trim
  • DVD
  • Headlight washers
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • Leather seat trim
  • Metallic Paint
  • Parking sensors
  • Partial leather seat trim
  • Remote locking
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment

Standard Trim equipment

Standard Trim standard equipment
  • Parking sensors
Standard Trim optional equipment
  • Air conditioning
  • CD
  • Central locking
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Headlight washers
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • Leather seat trim
  • Partial leather seat trim
  • Remote locking
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment

Fluid Grey Edition equipment

Fluid Grey Edition standard equipment
  • Air conditioning
  • Headlight washers
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • Leather seat trim
  • Metallic Paint
  • Parking sensors
  • Remote locking
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment
Fluid Grey Edition optional equipment
  • CD
  • Central locking
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Partial leather seat trim

Inspired by Mr Porter equipment

Inspired by Mr Porter standard equipment
  • Air conditioning
  • CD Multichanger
  • DVD
  • Headlight washers
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • Leather seat trim
  • Metallic Paint
  • Parking sensors
  • Remote locking
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment
Inspired by Mr Porter optional equipment
  • CD
  • Central locking
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Partial leather seat trim

S equipment

S standard equipment
Same as basic equipment
S optional equipment
  • Air conditioning
  • Central locking
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Headlight washers
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • Leather seat trim
  • Parking sensors
  • Partial leather seat trim
  • Remote locking
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment
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Euro NCAP Rating – 4 stars

The BMW i3 was tested by Euro NCAP in 2013 and was awarded a 4 star overall rating. This overall rating is calculated from the following individual ratings:

4 star rating
Test 2013
Individual safety ratings
Adult Occupant: 86%
Child Occupant: 81%
Vulnerable Road Users: 57%
Safety Assist: 55%

Euro NCAP provides motoring consumers with a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe. The safety ratings are determined from a series of vehicle tests, designed and carried out by Euro NCAP. These tests represent, in a simplified way, important real life accident scenarios that could result in injured or killed car occupants or other road users.