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198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all, this is not a installation thread on the subject. Stunt and Nelson have unbelievable documentation on it, and I don't want to hijack their threads.

This is more about the experience. So, here we go.

I went with the new CIC unit and monitor, new HVAC controls, new control panel, and a the new iDrive control. Other items I intend to do are the Combox and rear camera. They just weren't in the budget at this point.

1. Order all of your parts from Patryk! He is a sponsor on the board, can source everything you need, has great customer service, and is extremely responsive to any requests.

2. Expect some delays while assembling all of the pieces. It took me about 2 months to get everything needed before I was ready to put it all together. A note on this. It appears that BMW is no longer selling the 3 required Nav update DVD's. Patryk had to source a set and burn them for me. They worked perfectly.

3. The installation took me about 2-3 hours on the CIC, monitor, and HVAC controls. I probably could have done this faster, but it was my first time removing all of this stuff and I was being extremely cautious.

4. Removing the center console and cutting out a new hole for the iDrive control was very slow and painstakingly deliberate. Even with that, I still made a mistake (more on this later). Budget another 2-3 hours for this one.

5. Once I got everything in the car powered up (before my programming session with Patryk), this is what didn't work:
AC Compressor would not come on, but all other functions on the HVAC controls worked.
No audio whatsoever. Park sensors, bells, dings, radio...Nothing.

6. I informed Patryk that everything was in place, and notified him of my problems and was ready for programming. He had another member overnight the cable (presumably after his install was done) that connects a laptop to the car.

7. We set up an install time, and I had to download a bunch of programs so he could take over my laptop and download information directly to the car. Once connected and communicating on Skype, the first session took about 4 hours. We got mostly everything sorted out. He then had me load the Navigation DVD's and run them. We signed off for the day, and got back together the next day for the final session.

8. The Nav DVD's take 3-4 hours to download! There is a ton of information on them. Make sure to budget your time correctly.

9. The next day programming was just cleaning up a couple of problems and requests, like adding DVD in motion and removing the stupid nanny that makes you hit "accept" when you turn on the car everytime.

10. That was it for Patryk, and the programming. A total pro and a great guy. We signed off, and I sent the cable onto the next lucky guy.

So that is it for the install. As for how it works, here's my take.

The navigation, HVAC controls, iDrive control are all light years better. Way faster, much prettier to look at, more information, ect. Totally improves the driving experience everytime you are in the car.

The one big shortcoming I was hoping this would fix is the iPod. BMW's iPod integration just isn't made to handle a bunch of information. I have over 1400 artists on my iPod, but apparently that is too much for the unit to handle. My artist only go from A-L in the car.

I had a 2009 550, and my iPod ran through the Aux screen. I never had a problem with too many artists. Why is that? Is there a newer module that BMW sells that will correct this? My iPod module was bought from BMW in 2006 from the original owner.

I have not yet downloaded the music into the 80GB hard drive. That certainly could be an option, but I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts as to the best solution for iDrive. Dennision GW 500 may be the ticket? Please feel free to jump in on this one!

The 8 new preset buttons on the CIC. I'm a bit confused though. Buttons 1-6 work to preset anything: Radio stations, satellite ratio stations, phone numbers, etc. What do buttons 7 & 8 do? I can't program them, and they are changing my imput - CD/Multimedia to Radio, and vice versa.

Last, here is the problem I had while installing the new iDrive. The trim piece is extremely difficult to fit into the dash. I filed, and filed, and filed, and was super cautious. When I was finally able to get it into the dash, I had a gap! No matter how I positioned the trim, the gap still remained. Please use extreme caution when doing this. See pics.

I have a request to Patryk to see if there can be a larger trim piece manufactured to help not just me, but all who do this mod. They can always be trimmed if not needed. I also think this piece would look really slick if manufactured in brushed metal, to match the bezel of the SMG trim.

So that is my take on the project. Very much a success, and a huge improvement on an already wonderful car. :byebye:


198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Glad to hear your happy. I would be WAY to nervous to do this....... However, I have a 2011 X5 and the NAV/I-Drive is so much nicer than my 2007 M5.
It's really not as bad as you think. You just need to go nice and slow and triple check everything.

It is fairly straight forward.

Company Representative for CIC retrofits, 2010 MY
134 Posts
That is a great summary of the whole process. Thanks Brian!
I am pretty sure the Combox retrofit + the 6FL option might be a solution for your iPod integration problem ;)
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