The design of the BMW i3.

The consistently sustainable design of the BMW i3 makes it the perfect vehicle for urban environments in the megacity: driven by pure electric power and customised for the requirements of a sustainable and emission-free mobility, it embodies an intelligent form of travel. The vehicle represents an integrated and harmonious concept where every detail has been optimised to its purpose. This can be seen in the functionally dynamic exterior and in the clean and reduced interior space.


The consistently sustainable design of the BMW i3 makes it the perfect vehicle for urban environments in the megacity: driven by pure electric power and customised for the requirements of a sustainable and emission-free mobility, it embodies an intelligent form of travel. The vehicle represents an integrated and harmonious concept where every detail has been optimised to its purpose. This can be seen in the functionally dynamic exterior and in the clean and reduced interior space.

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BMW i stands for a visionary automobile and a new understanding of premium mobility characterised by a consistent alignment towards sustainability. The inspiring, future-orientated design of the BMW i vehicles makes this something to be experienced in all its facets. It authentically visualises the innovative technology of the vehicles and transfers values such as lightness, safety, and efficiency onto the exterior and interior design. The result is a unique aesthetic which gives the vehicles their own unique identity. Born from the desire for sustainability and efficiency, the design of the BMW i vehicles is clean, reduced, homogenous and dynamic at the same time. Smooth surfaces, accentuated by sparse use of precise edges, appear to be cast from one piece. In conjunction with functional details and innovative solutions, this results in an exciting, modern design language that clearly formulates the future orientation of the vehicles.


Agile and compact proportions visualise the manoeuvrability of the BMW i3. Viewed from the side, the window design and door sills create a dynamic form. The flowing silhouette and long wheelbase give an impression of the ample space in the passenger compartment, while short overhangs on the front and rear of the vehicle facilitate parking even in tight spaces. Opposing doors offer convenient access to the open design of the passenger compartment.

One particularly special characteristic feature of the BMW i3 is the so-called ‘black belt’ which runs from the bonnet over the roof to the rear of the vehicle and gives the vehicle body a particularly light visual appearance. The typical BMW i streamflow design can be seen in the merging form of the window surfaces in the rear and provides for an especially good all-around view. Large 19 inch wheels reduce rolling resistance and, together with aerodynamic details, ensure highest efficiency.

  • Distinctive front

    The front of the BMW i3 makes the vehicle immediately recognisable as a member of the BMW family. The modern interpretation of the kidney grille as well as the clear LED headlights (optional) with the U-shaped daytime running lights immediately catch the eye. As an indication of the emission-free electric drive, the kidney grille is fully closed since no cooling air needs to flow through it. Depending on the exterior colour, the kidney grille is additionally accentuated by an accent colour in BMW i Blue or Frozen Grey. The front hood with the underlying storage space (smartbox) comes in high-gloss black in all versions.
    The sculptured front apron sits below the kidney grille. Towards the side, the front apron element defines the edges of the vehicle with precise, vertically-standing edges which underscore the stable footing of the BMW i3.

  • Unmistakeable rear

    The high functionality of the BMW i3 can be seen in the rear. The large opening offers optimal access to the luggage section, the upright roof pillars offer the maximum amount of space in the passenger compartment. The versatile and, for an electric vehicle, unusually large luggage compartment can be enlarged further by folding down the rear seats. The entire tailgate opening is designed in the form of a black, homogenous glass surface which imparts the rear of the BMW i3 with a sophisticated look. Analogue to the front, U-shaped rear taillights are situated in the rear window of the tailgate: they shine through the black glass and thus appear to be floating.
    The rear diffuser painted in the same colour as the vehicle completes the visual impression downwards and highlights the sophisticated aerodynamics of the vehicle's tailgate and rear. Framed by reflectors, the wide diffuser reinforces the impression of a solid and stable footing.


The specific design of the LifeDrive architecture of the BMW i3 opens a completely new world of design possibilities for vehicle interiors. By locating the energy storage in the floor of the Drive module, no centre tunnel divides the interior. The entire Life module is available as an interior space and offers a completely new feel with an innovative and yet futuristic impression and unique new functionality.
The ample size of the Life module of the BMW i3 allows passengers to sit higher and look out over the interior landscape. This raised seating position is referred to as the ‘semi-command’ position and also provides for a clear overview in hectic city traffic. It also makes entering and exiting the vehicle more comfortable. Because the interior space is no longer divided by a central tunnel, it is easy to switch sides and exit the vehicle on the opposite side, when necessary, which is very convenient in difficult and tight parking situations.

  • Free-standing steering column and gear selection lever

    A characteristic element in the slightly futuristic interior is the free-standing steering wheel. Through a reduced design of the instrument panel, the steering column projects prominently into the interior. All operating elements relevant to driving – such as instrument cluster, start-stop button as well as the gear selection lever – are located on it. The bright layer framing the steering wheel provides for an easy orientation of the driving position towards the front. The gear selection lever has a rotary button design which can be set towards the front and rear while displaying the selected driving direction: the vehicle drives in the direction in which the button points.

  • Use of sustainable materials

    The interior of the BMW i3 features a visible use of natural resources such as KENAF fibres in the door panels. This member of the cotton family is particularly sustainable. Its characteristic fibre structure, which remains visible after processing, underscores the premium claim of BMW i. In addition, the designers developed a completely naturally tanned leather with the customary outstanding BMW quality and feel.
    In addition to the use of natural materials, 25 per cent of the weight of the plastic used in the interior comes from recycled material or renewable resources. The textiles used on the seats consist of up to 100 per cent recycled fibres. This utilises another potential for reducing CO2 emissions.


In all versions of the BMW i3, textiles are functionally utilised to impart a modern and young aesthetic. The textile surfaces have sound-absorbing properties that create pleasant acoustics in the interior and also contribute to heat management in the seats. The equipment options consciously forego the use of black elements and together with the structured textiles ensure a bright and fresh impression that perfectly complements the use of natural fibres. The fibres and structure of the renewable resources used for the surfaces are allowed to shine through the anthracite surfaces instead of using black. Four different, perfectly-matched interior worlds ATELIER, LOFT, LODGE and SUITE express the character traits of the BMW i3.

  • Atelier

    The standard equipment version ATELIER offers an authentic, high-quality material experience. Genuine and comprehensible material contrasts support the lively impression of this interior world. The material combination 'Neutronic' Aragaz Grey accentuates the modernity of the interior. The BMW i blue contrasts in the base of the seat and seams additionally underscore the interior contours and give the ATELIER interior world a particular freshness. The steering wheel in black with satin-silver accent ring rounds off the high-quality of this interior world.

  • Loft

    The LOFT equipment version imparts the impression of stylish equilibrium and balance. From the naturally futuristic sphere of KENAF, light materials create a pleasant, calm interior atmosphere. On seats and doors, a modern, soft material/Sensatec combination 'Electronic' Carum Grey is paired with a comfortable canvas textile based on 100 per cent recycled raw materials. Embossing on the seat surfaces incorporates the graphic design lines of the BMW i3 and accentuates, together with specifically positioned BMW i blue accents in the backrest, the puristic appearance of this interior world. The LOFT equipment version features a bright dashboard with the innovative BMW i grain structure. The bright interior appears to open further upwards and thus has a very light and modern feel. The bright leather steering wheel in Carum Grey is accented with the highlight clasp in BMW i blue.

  • Lodge

    The embodiment of 'Next Premium': LODGE combines novel high quality with a natural aesthetic. Bright surfaces create a friendly and open atmosphere. The accent in the leather steering wheel is satin silver here. The wool/natural leather combination 'Solaric' Cassia imparts the interior with a warm atmosphere while accents in Carum Grey brighten the interior. High-quality details such as the leather-covered instrument panel are combined with sustainable elements such as the exclusive climate-active wool Pikea and naturally-tanned natural leather on the seats, headrests and in the door panels. The curved wood surface in the dashboard is an exclusive detail. Black, limed eucalyptus wood with open pores from certified sustainable forestry management makes wood in the interior something to be experienced in a new way. The linear grain, as well as the use of a continuous veneer piece underscores the horizontal orientation of the interior.

  • Suite

    SUITE redefines premium. Particular focus is placed here on the discernible quality of the natural leather combination of 'Stellaric' Dalbergia Brown from naturally-tanned leather, which is used on the instrument panel and seats. The special treatment makes this leather's appearance very soft and grippy; the seams emphasise the handcrafted character of the high-quality surfaces. Leather surfaces on the door panels serve as armrests; the large wood decoration surfaces impress as exclusive detail. Black, limed eucalyptus wood with open pores from certified sustainable forestry management characterises the sustainable premium character of the BMW i3. The use of a continuous veneer piece makes the entire surface very exclusive and sophisticated. Matt galvanised accents throughout the interior as well as the satin-silver accent ring in the leather steering wheel round out the sophistication of this equipment version.


The character of the brand can be seen in the colour and material design of BMW i: ‘Next Premium’. In the foreground, the emphasis is on naturalness and modernity while creating an exclusive and innovative interior experience. BMW i is a pioneer and innovator in a new understanding of mobility characterised by sustainability. Thus, the interior of the BMW i3 is an interpretation of this sustainability typical of the brand and realised by new and innovative materials which are appropriate to the premium claim.
The interior of the BMW i3 is distinguished by the visible use of natural materials. The natural fibres in the side trim and the instrument panel are resource-conserving and underscore both the sustainability as well as the premium claim of BMW i.

  • Naturally-tanned leather

    The leather used in the interior is tanned with a natural tanning agent derived from olive leaves. The extract from the leaves of the olive tree protects the leather in a natural way – giving it both an authentic, unaltered look and an unmistakeable character.

  • Certified wood from responsible sources

    For the instrument panel, only eucalyptus wood is used, which is primarily grown in Europe and comes from 100 % certified, responsible forestry management. This leads to shorter supply channels and provides for sustainability in all stages of the production. The treatment with natural materials creates an individual colouring.

  • Textile materials with recycled resources

    The textile seat covers consist of nearly 100 % recycled polyester, which is manufactured from up to 34 % PET. A high-quality cover material is manufactured from this PET material in a special process and gives the material a natural look and feel while fulfilling all the requirements placed on a premium material. The other textiles used in the interior such as headliner, floor, floor mats or the luggage compartment trim are also produced sustainably. In addition to its characteristic design, it also makes a functional statement through the natural benefits: breathability, moisture- and temperature-regulating.