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      12-03-2008, 11:44 AM   #54
Lieutenant General
Technic's Avatar

Drives: 2015 320i
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ft Lauderdale, Florida

iTrader: (18)

My theory is the following (in order of criticallity):

1. Finding out if all the connectors are the same respectively between iDrive '08 and '09: controller, CIC/CCC, screen. The assumption is that if the are the same not only the actual physical connection will be straight to a <'08 iDrive vehicle but the pin assignments most probably will be the same. A look at the BMW WDS site can answer this question very quickly...

2. If they are the same, I would start by buying the '09 controller and test it with my CCC. The assumption is that it should work right away as it does in the '09 5 Series, unless there is a major software change in that '09 5 Series CCC that is not possible in the 3 Series CCC. The display will be next, although the higher resolution could make the existing iDrive GUI smaller in the screen.

3. If the connectors are not the same, this retrofit is over at least for me. I'm not cutting any OEM connectors for reason #4.

4. If #2 works, I would get a CIC (new or refurbished at a dealer, the cheaper the better) and would try to get it programmed in a '09 M3 to my particular set of options, specifically Premium Audio/USB/Sat Radio/Assist. This has to be done this way as the CIC will not come programmed for any particular set of options, and plugging it in my '08 M3 to be then programmed will not work as the dealer system most probably will detect it as a non-compatible part for my model year/particular car.

Thus, the hard part will be to find a willing participant with an '09 M3 with iDrive, Premium Audio, USB/iPod, Sat Radio and Assist, swap his CIC with mine and program my CIC to those specs at the dealer in that car. Then remove it from that car, plug that sucker in my car and see what happens. I think that it may work right away as the unit is pretty much self contained. Unless, of course the interface software between the CIC and the rest of the car systems (A/C, MFD) is completely different. By the way, my Assist TCU is the latest GSM unit, so at least hardware-wise that is good to go...

Another option is just swapping parts from the same "willing" '09 M3 owner, but I rather do the programming with my own unit than with another's and at a dealer. So if something bad happens it happens with my unit...

If this works, I can keep the old CCC just in case of any software updates; just swap computers before going to the dealer and perform the update. That's the reason of not hacking any OEM connector, this retrofit has to be as plug 'n play as possible.

BMWNA told me (thru "Customers Relations") that this retrofit cannot be done, but I suspect that it is most probably based on the new software limitations built in directly linked to specific model year and model/equipment included the MOST cars.

Let's see...

Last edited by Technic; 12-04-2008 at 09:40 AM.