February 24, 2017

Connecting a Smartphone into your BMW Stereo System

A brief summation of integrating your smartphone into your BMW:

  • It can be a very straightforward process, and really brings your Bavsound speaker and subwoofer upgrades to life with the integration of digital music.
  • Bavsound doesn’t offer solutions any longer (see first paragraph below), but we’re here to guide you through the process and point you in the right direction.

History:
There was a time (a good 10 year period) when Bavsound was the worldwide leader in smartphone/iPod integration for BMW’s. As time went on, newer BMW’s were offered with factory AUX inputs and Bluetooth integration thereby significantly decreasing demand. Facing a declining market, a business decision was made to no longer pursue integration products (iPhone/Android) and focus on what we do best; designing speakers, subwoofers and amplifiers for BMW’s.

However, there are still many BMW’s on the road that aren’t equipped to support your smartphone in a modern way – and that’s where this guide comes in quite handy.

Modern Day:
What are the options available, and where can you find the solutions that’ll keep both your BMW and your sanity intact?

Simple – just follow our guide! (which, mind you, we’ve only created to help guide you and for which we stand to gain nothing financially – transparency is very important to us). Please note that we simply cannot support any of the products below, nor can we direct you on how to purchase or install them; this is just a guide to get you on the right upgrade path…

Let’s get started, shall we?

Old-School BMW models with i-Bus based communications
(BMW E46 3 Series (1999-2006), BMW E39 5 Series (1997-2003), BMW E53 X5 (2000-2006), BMW E85 Z4 (2003-2009), BMW E83 X3 (2003-2010), BMW E38 (September 1999 build date -2001)

These models use a very simple interface that offers somewhat limited controls of your smartphone simply based on the limitations of the Bus system in the car. The i-Bus was designed in the early 90’s, and while allowing modern interfaces to communicate with the factory controls (radio displays, navigation screens, steering wheel controls), the speed at which these communications happen aren’t as quick as modern day cars.

The installation itself is completely plug and play, and simply requires routing a few small wires throughout the car. If you head to our YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/bavsound) you can search for your specific BMW and see how we access the necessary cables, etc.

Known Solutions –
We’ve heard great things about the Dension offerings (an EU based firm) – the Gateway Pro seems to offer both Bluetooth audio and hands-free usage in older BMW models.
However, there doesn’t seem to be a large scale global support system in place but you already own an older BMW so you’re likely a very handy/patient human being…

Newer BMW models with MOST based communications
(BMW E90/91/92/93 3 Series 2006-2012 E90/91 Sedan and Wagon – 2007-2013 Coupe and Convertible), BMW E60/61 5 Series (2004-2010), BMW E70 X5 (2007-2013)

These models largely require a visit to the dealer (unless the car already has a factory BMW multi-disc CD Changer installed), as they’ll need programming in order for the integration module to be recognized by the car. These costs vary, so call your local BMW dealer or independent repair shop (www.bimmershops.com) for quotes. The physical installation itself isn’t difficult, as you’re largely just plugging and playing a few connectors – this is an easy place to save a few dollars to offset the programming costs. We’d suggest visiting www.youtube.com and searching for your year/chassis BMW + Bluetooth (ex BMW E92 Bluetooth installation).

Known Solutions –
Again, we’ve heard great things about the Dension offerings (an EU based firm) – the Gateway Pro seems to offer both Bluetooth audio and hands-free usage in older BMW models. You can also retrofit factory BMW parts to these models using our friends at www.bpmsport.com – these guys are geniuses and can perform all sorts of incredible retrofits to the older BMW chassis’ listed above.

In Summary:
Now that you’ve gotten an idea on how to integrate your smartphone into your BMW, we can begin exploring the most important part of the overall listening experience – making the music sound incredible! Head over to www.bavsound.com, enter your vehicle information and start learning how we approach the process – and don’t hesitate to reach out via phone, email, or social media.