Chris Harris is not a tall man from what I can ascertain.
At a perfectly average 5'10, I have exactly the OP's issue - either the steering wheel rim obscures the tops of the dials or the boss obscures the lower part of the display (I have to lean forward to see when scrolling through tracks etc). I've tried raising the seat, adjusting the wheel up/down, in/out, all to no avail.
One of the very few things that bugs me about the car.
Black panel is irrelevant to this particular issue - I have it in my M135i and have driven a 116d without it. No difference.
Current: 440i GC
Previous: M135i, M5, Z1, 330d, 135i, 156 GTA, 500E, S3, A3 quattro, Golf GTI 16v