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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There are few easy options for updating and upgrading the vintage sound and navigation systems in our e39s. Especially if wanting to retain the clean, unmodified “OEM look” of the dash. So far, the choice has been between the Dynavin and Android head units, which do a nice job of adding modern features while retaining the "stock dash look".

My upgrade path started with a Dynavin head unit. Next, the old DSP amp was replaced with a new DSP amp, and then, the speakers were upgraded. At this point, the Dynavin had become the weakest link and I started lusting after one of the recently launched, shallow depth head units from Alpine and Kenwood. However, the idea of sacrificing the OEM look of the dash kept this from happening. In February, I stumbled across a thread mentioning a new e39 specific fascia made by Dennis Cooper, a long time m5board member and e39 audio enthusiast, and the itch to upgrade returned. In a recent post, fellow m5board member Jared shared a photo of an Alpine unit installed with the fascia (https://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39-m5-e52-z8-discussion/602214-e39-m5-stereo-navigation-upgrade.html) and that convinced me to have a go at this option.

A few weeks back, I purchased the Innovadrive NXG-39 fascia from Dennis and a shallow-depth Kenwood dmx706s head unit. The facia arrived from the UK within a week and the quality of the kit was obvious upon unpacking. The installation was a relatively simple, or at least no more complex than installing a Dynavin headunit, and Dennis responded promptly to questions about the installation. The Kenwood and fascia combo looks really nice in the e39 dash and it is very close to the OEM look. Below are a few photos to illustrate.





As expected, the Kenwood head unit sounds significantly better than the Dynavin, and it is very nice to have the convenience and features of Android Auto. For those considering an aftermarket head unit, I highly recommend this new fascia. Hats off to Dennis for developing this solution for our small group of enthusiasts.
 

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Lools very, very good and it's probably the way I would go, too. I just don't want to commit to a touchscreen only.

ETA: pictures look fine to me
 

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Looks great man!! I'd like to upgrade my M's audio system one day, and keeping the stock look is a must for me. Best I've seen yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the compliments!

I agree that touchscreen only is a bit of a leap, but think it looks nice in this particular fascia/install. The steering wheel buttons on the left side still control volume, track etc.
 

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I also have Dennis fascia w/ a Parrot Asteroid Smart - I wanted a totally clean look with no buttons, etc on the face of the display. Haven't hooked it up yet but I will post pics once I get it all done.

Dennis' kit is indeed very high quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Stickey - I don't think that would work. They will work with the steering wheel controls, using a Metra Axxess or similar adapter between the iBus wire and the head unit. To my knowledge, this is the extent to which you can integrate these mainstream brands in the e39. To me, sound quality and reliability was higher priority than the level of integration you can achieve with the Android units.
 

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Hi,

Sorenm - Thank you for your feedback and pictures above - glad they show up now! A pleasure to help and support you with your questions and glad you are happy ! The result in your car looks great and also shows that head unit's with a little lip protrusion at the bottom edge can still fit and look just fine :)

Joshiahg52 - There's some head units with a control knob which you could use, but they don't look so great as it's then an extra protruding aspect/extra knob which of course 'doesn't look OEM' ! Some of the E46 guys for instance have used the Sony XAV-AX1000 with a blank fascia (as that's all that's on the market for them) and it looks off for this reason. If you fit a flat faced/touchscreen controlled head unit, and you then connect the steering wheel controls you then get the button press type of control for the most common used functions of volume up/down and track/station search. Personally for me, I've been used the total touchscreen Parrot Asteroid Smart and it's been very easy to control - just like a good smartphone screen, a light touch and movement and done and to me feels just as fast, if not faster, than pressing a button multiple times. This is going to be one of those personal preferences type thing though.

Kevin - Hopefully see your audio upgrade soon along with pictures and your thoughts about the NXG-39 :)

Stickey - This aspect of being able to show the OBC parameters and information on a premium brand's head unit is something I've been researching for some time now. I can 'solve' it tomorrow, as a piece of hardware exists in order to have this functionality. The cost to me in order to modify that hardware for the BMW OBC protocol/system and then to have it properly tested and certified is very very expensive - circa $30-40000 USD. This was from one of the specialists who supply the OEM manufacturers with automotive systems and technology, so I know their quality and expertise level is excellent and which would mean I'd have a 'reliable' quality product. Per unit pricing would then be perhaps in the $300/400 level at retail once batch manufactured runs are made. I've been looking around to see if I can get the initial cost down somewhat. I know many will say the app from the German based guy is only $30 or so, but keep in mind it's an untested and 'home brew' product with no QA/Testing or certifications etc. I did contact him to ask if his app would run on Android Auto, his reply suggested he wasn't sure/had not tried/probably wouldn't. I got the gist he wasn't too sure what Android Auto was/is i.e an operating system specifically for cars. The cheap chinese units don't run Android Auto, they run the 'Android' operating system as you'd see on cheap Tablets. There is an 'App' version of Android Auto which is free and runs on 'Android' and that's what they've done. Once I know more about a properly developed and engineered solution, I will update here and on other forums about it.

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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I know many will say the app from the German based guy is only $30 or so, but keep in mind it's an untested and 'home brew' product with no QA/Testing or certifications etc. I did contact him to ask if his app would run on Android Auto, his reply suggested he wasn't sure/had not tried/probably wouldn't. I got the gist he wasn't too sure what Android Auto was/is i.e an operating system specifically for cars. The cheap chinese units don't run Android Auto, they run the 'Android' operating system as you'd see on cheap Tablets. There is an 'App' version of Android Auto which is free and runs on 'Android' and that's what they've done. Once I know more about a properly developed and engineered solution, I will update here and on other forums about it.

The German iBus app works very well, is continually updated, and is vetted by literally thousands of users. The German iBus Facebook group has 7,200 users as of today, the vast majority of which are running the app/interface and providing feedback. I have plenty of “professional” apps which I’ve purchased through the App Store that don’t receive nearly that level of attention. Speaking of, which “certification” exactly would the app receive, were it to be certified?

Every cheap Chinese head unit runs the same base operating system as every $1000+ Android cell phone or tablet. Android has also introduced an “Android Automotive”, (not to be confused with the cell phone-based “Android Auto”). However, the Automotive OS has been very slow to materialize (the new 2021 Volvo Polestar 2 will the first production car to receive it and they just released the API to developers 90 days ago), so I don’t think it’s a fair jab to say the German app isn’t compatible with an OS that barely exists and is in-use nowhere

The reality is - once the established audio manufacturers begin to run Android as an operating system, the german iBus app and the resler interface become an option.

Or, the Chinese manufacturers begin to use higher quality audio components and become a true rival for the established brands

We shall see...
 

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The German iBus app works very well, is continually updated, and is vetted by literally thousands of users. The German iBus Facebook group has 7,200 users as of today, the vast majority of which are running the app/interface and providing feedback. I have plenty of “professional” apps which I’ve purchased through the App Store that don’t receive nearly that level of attention. Speaking of, which “certification” exactly would the app receive, were it to be certified?

Every cheap Chinese head unit runs the same base operating system as every $1000+ Android cell phone or tablet. Android has also introduced an “Android Automotive”, (not to be confused with the cell phone-based “Android Auto”). However, the Automotive OS has been very slow to materialize (the new 2021 Volvo Polestar 2 will the first production car to receive it and they just released the API to developers 90 days ago), so I don’t think it’s a fair jab to say the German app isn’t compatible with an OS that barely exists and is in-use nowhere

The reality is - once the established audio manufacturers begin to run Android as an operating system, the german iBus app and the resler interface become an option.

Or, the Chinese manufacturers begin to use higher quality audio components and become a true rival for the established brands

We shall see...
Does this then mean you could get a cheap Android device, connect it to the resler interface and the BMW IBus, hide it away somewhere and then feed it into a hdmi/viedo feed into your "established" audio manufactured units?
 

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I have a similar, if not identical unit in my M5. So nice to have all the modern conveniences. Mine is wired to have all steering wheel functions operable too. I bought the car with it already in place. Seller told me it was about $3500 installed but that seems a bit much. Is that about right? Mine, again, same brand, has rear view camera, nav, satellite radio, full touch screen, phone connectivity and too many adjustable features to mention. Thanks!
 

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Does this then mean you could get a cheap Android device, connect it to the resler interface and the BMW IBus, hide it away somewhere and then feed it into a hdmi/viedo feed into your "established" audio manufactured units?

I suppose you could, but it would be just a static video display and you’d have no way of interacting with it from the head unit.
 
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