No AM Radio - 2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test

2014 BMW i3: No AM Radio

April 7, 2015

2014 BMW i3

I usually listen to sports talk on the drive home, so imagine my surprise when I pressed the radio button on our 2014 BMW i3 and couldn't find the AM band. The photo above shows your choices. I tried scrolling the control knob in both directions, but the AM option never appeared. I took to the interwebs and found that this wasn't a glitch, but rather a design decision.

"Only the i3 and i8 will not include AM because the interference from the electric motor would make the quality of AM broadcasts far less than a premium listening experience, a BMW spokesperson said in an article on Radio World.

AM radio reception didn't seem to be an issue for the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf or just about any other electric vehicle I can think of. I don't really listen to AM for the sound quality, so I'm willing to cut the car some slack if I get occasional static.

In the article, the BMW spokesman goes on to say that HD Radio, satellite radio and BMW Connected Drive will "satisfy much of the AM desires of our customers." One option might be to stream AM with the TuneIn Radio app via Bluetooth, but the app doesn't support every station and, more importantly, will quickly consume your phone's data allotment.

I like the i3 and while not having AM radio would be an inconvenience, it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me. Would it be for you?

Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 3,924 miles

2014 BMW i3

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2014 BMW i3 Research