Thread: DAB retrofit
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      10-24-2012, 12:20 PM   #1
RobUK's Avatar
United Kingdom

Drives: 340i EBII
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Sussex, UK

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DAB retrofit

Not entirely sure why but I omitted to include DAB radio (654) in my list of options. Enquired with my local dealer last week and they were really helpful, said they were fitting the official 'BMW DAB Retrofit' kit to an F20 and would let me know. Got a call today to say I could pop down for a demo.

They'd fitted it to a new 118d with Business Nav and while they haven't done an F30 yet, they said they'd just got the required parts and the OK from BMW to do F30's now.

The kit comprises a small windscreen aerial, some wiring, a black box and a wireless remote about the size of the key fob. When fitted all you see is the aerial and you can either attach the remote with a double-sided sticky pad wherever you like or just pop it in a cubby somewhere out the way.

The DAB unit works by occupying one of your FM presets, so you simply switch to the appropriate FM station in iDrive (you could even associate the DAB slot with one of the "1-8" pre-set buttons) and bingo, you're listening to DAB. The black box is wired to the Nav unit but not sure if the signal between the DAB receiver and iDrive is over-wire or over-air? Also a coding tweak they do to the car allows whatever information the station is transmitting (e.g. 'Now playing' etc.) to be shown/scrolled on the iDrive screen itself, although you can turn that feature off if you want. Another nice feature is that the DAB unit 'talks' so it announces what station you're tuned to for example, as well as displaying the station name in iDrive.

Listened to a few radio stations at the dealership and the reception was good and clear, although that would obviously change when on the move.

Disadvantages over the factory fit option? Well on the face of it there's obviously the aerial which is affixed to the edge of the windscreen rather than being hidden away in the sharkfin, that said it's not really noticeable - just a thin metal strip about 3mm wide by about 80mm long. Also the initial station scanning has to be done through the remote, as does changing DAB stations, whereas with the factory fit it's done entirely through iDrive, plus you can't store individual DAB stations in iDrive although you can store them in the remote.

Price fully fitted/tested is 299 inc VAT and a 2yr warranty and they have the car for a day. Doesn't sound like too bad a deal to me so will probably go ahead. Not sure how this compares to offerings from audio specialists.

PS - also asked about the Mobile Apps (6NR) retrofit while I was there. They said no news 'yet' but it is available for the E9x and they get updates each month so fingers crossed it's in the pipeline.
340i in Estoril Blue

Last edited by RobUK; 10-24-2012 at 12:40 PM.