Roof query

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Active member
Mar 12, 2024
I’ve been to see a UK four year old (2020 plate) i3 car at a BMW dealer, fitted with a sunroof and was surprised to see issues with the roof. The panel that crosses the car in front of the car has lots of marks on it, as if there’s a paint reaction going on. These extend to the forward section of the panels that run along the sides of the sunroof. The larger panel behind the sunroof looks to be fine. I understand that sunroof cars have aluminium roofs but are those smaller pieces CFRB?

The car has clearly spent a lot of time sitting under trees as I pulled handfuls of leaves out of each quarter panel under the bonnet ( so much for the approved use check?) but there were no marks on the bonnet so I’m thinking the roof marks won’t be tree sap.

I’ve not had an i3 before and not seen delamination of a roof. Has anyone any ideas what these marks could be? The dealer got an aerosol of some product and a cloth and wiped it with little effect, and that wiping action shows as a slight difference in one of the attached photographs.

Thanks in advance.


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I believe the piece you're showing us is steel, from what I see in your photos.

My understanding is that the sunroof-equipped i3 on your side of the Atlantic has a CFRP roof, but my assumption is that applies only to the larger roof panel behind the glass.

Your forward section is clearly painted, and if it's painted, it's steel.
I forgot to also ask, does that front and two side panels come off for painting or other surface finishes. I have seen references to parts being stuck on by double sided tape. Or does the front panel pass under the windscreen? I’m just trying to get an idea of what work would be necessary to repair / repaint or replace the panels.
Just tested my '21 i3S with a magnet - definitely not steel. I then ran a Bosch multi-tester over it and the two bigger panels indicate as metal. The two smaller ones are too narrow to be sure (the Bosch unit is not accurate enough to be certain) but appear to be metal too - I would assume they are all painted aluminium, as I can't think of any reason to use anything more exotic than that.
I always check for replacement parts to see if things have attachment clips or any other ideas that pop out at me. In the US I run those part numbers through Pelican parts to find availability and a price start point. I just picked up the trim pieces that are at the door A pillar as both sides had cracks in them using that technique. It also gives me a sort of conspiracy theory moment when I find part numbers superseded ha ha.
Hello... The front strip in front of the glass sunroof is definitely not steel, aluminum of CF. I just recently purchase a 2020 i3 rex and found that same part being damaged. It is made of plastic. I am assuming same as the body panels. Mine is cracked and into many small pcs. I've not tried to repair mines yet, but I did try to cover it with vinyl wrap to keep water away. I'll take photo when i have time. I dont have the delam problem, but maybe a wrap would be good to cover it??
Good stuff! Reading your post I went to check with a magnet myself. So I know the story is the first year the CFRP + sunroof was a no-go and as such in the US there were no sunroof equipped 2014 i3s, until BMW produced a metal-roof variant. So now my assumption is the larger roof panel must be... aluminum? Because certainly CRFP is stronger than ABS plastic. Apologies I figured the forward section of roof panel would be similar material although I don't know of a non-destructive method to test mine.
I’m still not certain what the panels are made from but from someone else’s link for another part I found this
Maybe I'm the last one to think about this, but from your link, and the LACK of "non-sunroof" models shown - as well as the unexplained lump/lower headroom near the front, in my non-sunroof headliner - is that metal frame shown in the parts illustration universal? That is, used in ALL models, regardless of whether sunroof-equipped?