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      07-31-2009, 02:27 PM   #6
Brigadier General
JimD's Avatar

Drives: 128i convertible
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Lexington, SC

iTrader: (0)

I cannot get the United BMW website to respond right now but you can get the install kit, at least for a 1 series like I drive, from them for $55. I have it and am deciding what to do. After reviewing the Plus manual (the model I am considering) I am pretty sure there is no FM transmitter in it. So on an early model BMW there may be no way to take the sound into the radio. That could be why there have not been subsequent communications from "dt". Some European countries do not allow FM broadcasts which may be why it is not a feature of the BMW units. I believe that for later BMWs with an aux input capability, the Plus and Pro are very well integrated with the radio reducing volume when the navigation system gives a command - at least that's what 135SanDiego says. I am hoping to get confirmation from him that the MP3 output also comes out through the car speakers and the navigation prompts do too.

I have the installation instructions and it is clear that the wiring includes everything to give the system this capability so it is a function of how BMW set it up. The integration is so complete that the dealer has to program the car to accept the unit. One guy complained that he disabled his car attempting the installation himself. 135SanDiego indicated his vehicle had to spend extra time with the dealer but they got it working and he likes it.

My debate is between installing a Garmin Nuvi 760 and switching to a BMW Portable Navigation Plus. With the 760, I will have some wires visible with the Navigation unit not on its mount. It would be the power wire, the sound output on it's way to the radio aux input, and a remote microphone I plan to install for the Bluetooth (according to the reviews I've read it provides a significant improvement in the sound). I also need to modify the cradle to add a jack for the audio but I have some instructions on how to do that from the GPSPassion website. Without the cradle mod, you need to plug a cable to the headphone outlet on the Nuvi which looks like heck but works fine. Or I could use the FM transmitter but I question it mainly on a trip to a city with more FM stations and for fidelity on MP3s. I plan to load up a 4GB SD card and use that as my main source of audio (instead of swapping CDs). The advantage of the 760 is easier source of parts/upgrades or replacement and about $400 lower price. Advantage of BMW is better looks (wires better hidden) and better integration. If I get a phone call while listening to to the radio with the call coming into my 760, I would need to switch to the aux feed instead of the radio (button on steering wheel or radio) or turn down the radio volume and listen to the call through the nuvi speaker. Neither seems like a huge big deal to me but having the car do this for me would be nicer. But is it worth ~$400. That is the dilema. I kind of like messing with things like this and I am cheap so I will probably install the 760 this weekend. I am not sure I will permanently give up the integration either. It looks like that is accomplished by taking the Nuvi sound into a plug on the radio and by the reprogramming of the BMW. If I decide to pay the dealer to reprogram, I could possibly do this even with the 760. I also tried to buy the BMW Plus cradle from Garmin but I have been unsuccessful getting Garmin tech support to answer. It looks to me like I could install the 760 just like a Plus if I had the special cradle that comes with the Plus.

I will post something in a week or two when I am done (with pictures). I am confident I can get a 760 to put the navigation or MP3 music into the aux of the radio and eliminate all visible wires except for a short length from the hood over the gauges to the nuvi cradle (which will not be visible with the nuvi in the cradle unless you look through the windshield from outside the car). And I will have what used to be a top of the line Garmin GPS too (but is now a discontinued model).

128i Convertible, MT, Alpine White, Black Top, Taupe Leatherette, Walnut, Sport
Ordered 5/22/09, Completed 6/4/09, At Port 6/9/09, On the Georgia Highway 6/13/09, Ship Arrived Charleston 6/24/09 at 10pm, PCD 7/21/09