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Oct 19, 2020
There are many ways to boost the look of your favorite car, like changing the interior color or adding some cool lighting. But nothing turns heads faster than high-end technology integrated with the car’s system. BMW introduces loads of new tech features every year, but they usually only end up implemented in the latest models. Nevertheless, there's always a way to get upgrades like CarPlay, Android Auto, NBT Evo ID5/ID6, Speed Limit Info and others, even if they aren’t factory-installed. Among these premium retrofits you can also find a BMW original 6WB digital instrument cluster.
6WB is a display behind the wheel with a fully digitized panel. It’s the equivalent of the analog gauges found in older models, but it certainly boasts more features.
The first thing about the digital gauge cluster that meets the eye is its modern and high-tech look, especially at night. It has three different looks for three driving modes:
This is a normal driving setting with the speedometer on the left and the tachometer on the left. The car will always start by default in the Comfort mode.
ECO PRO Mode
In this mode the tachometer is replaced with an EfficientDynamics gauge on the right, tracking how efficient your driving style and encouraging you to follow the ECO PRO tips. With the mode change, 6WB also switches to a more eco style design, with a touch of blue. This mode gives the best gas efficiency at the cost of performance, meaning a sluggish throttle response, an energy-efficient mode for the air conditioning system and early gear shift to keep the revs as low as possible. Depending on your driving, fuel savings can be as much as 20%.
The tachometer together with the numeric speedometer and transmission selection are more highlighted thanks to the red around the dials, giving the 6WB cluster a much more sporty feel. In general, Sport mode makes the car more aggressive - you get a more responsive throttle, improved acceleration and pedal response, as well as better cornering abilities. Sport+ is basically the same, save for the toned-down traction control - ideal for when you're on the track. It's usually available on BMW models with the M Sport package. Want to have it in your car? Type in your VIN on our BMW iDrive coding page and it will show you whether your vehicle is compatible with this option.
To switch between modes easily, you can use the driving dynamic selector button on the console panel.
Apart from different modes, the custom gauges cluster has a digitized center portion that displays your car in real time - whether your doors are opened or closed, it is reflected on the 6WB.
As for navigation, when you choose your destination, the turn-by-turn instructions are also displayed in the center section of the digital dash. In addition, it shows information from the driver assistance systems, such as the nearest gas stations, speed limits (when this feature is supported), lane departure, etc.
If you want to have a look at the digital dashboard, BMW F10 demo on our YouTube channel will show you most of the features mentioned in action.
If your vehicle isn’t equipped with the 6WB digital speedometer from the factory, you can retrofit it and enjoy all the perks of having a high-tech instrument cluster.
Generally, it’s possible to upgrade:
The series and model don’t guarantee compatibility, because the vehicle also has to be equipped with the appropriate peripheral hardware for the instrument panel cluster to work. To find out whether your car is compatible with this retrofit, just type in your VIN on the 6WB instrument cluster product page.
6WA is a hybrid instrument cluster. It consists of analog gauges and a digitized display in the lower center. The analog gauges have LED lights, making the 6WA more visible and clear at night.
You can switch between Comfort/ECO PRO/Sport modes as well, but unlike the fully digital 6WB, it will be reflected only in the dynamic center part. It also displays navigation directions, oil temperature, the precise current speed in numeric form, a basic animation of the car, etc.
The 6WB upgrade process consists of 2 main parts: the physical installation and coding. The installation itself is pretty straightforward and looks the same whether you're replacing the simplest analog cluster, or performing a 6WA to 6WB retrofit.
The installation usually takes up to 1 hour. Note that it’s not recommended to drive with the newly-installed cluster without it being coded for your specific car. That’s why it’s better to plan the installation right before your remote coding session.
If you order a dynamic digital cluster from BimmerTech, you get the coding service included in the price. It's performed by a BimmerTech technician who remotely connects to your car through your laptop and programs the instrument panel to work correctly with your vehicle. The coding cable required for this part will also be included in the kit. This way you won’t need to learn how to code 6WB cluster by yourself.
You can get a more detailed review of the installation process from our video below:
In some cases, for the 6WB to work it’s also necessary to connect an additional fiber optic cable to your car’s head unit. The installation is a bit trickier, but also not that complicated. See it for yourself in our video tutorial.
How much does it cost to replace an instrument cluster? Save the cost of the hardware: nothing. You only need one hour for the DIY-able physical installation and one more hour for the remote coding session. BimmerTech provides its customers with detailed instructions written for each specific model, so in most cases you'll decide to stick with the DIY option. Otherwise, auto shop prices average at a couple of hundred dollars per hour.
Why would someone need to reset an instrument cluster? If you purchase a used instrument panel, taken from another car, it needs resetting before installing it in your vehicle. Under no circumstances should you try and do it yourself, because even minor interference can lead to problems that might not be possible to fix.
It’s always better to delegate this task to specialists who have the necessary hardware and software. At BimmerTech you can order this service by contacting our sales representatives. It will be necessary to send the 6WB cluster to our office where a dedicated expert will reset it. When it’s done, the cluster will be shipped back. After the installation you will still need the activation coding session, which can also be ordered from BimmerTech.
Before answering the question, it would be good to sum up what the instrument panel offers to a BMW driver. The most obvious advantage is the enhanced look of the virtual cockpit. It completely changes the interior feel no matter what mode you’re in. From a more functional side, the digital instrument cluster improves the visibility of the gauges at night. It also makes it safer to navigate following the instructions in its center part (if you don’t have HUD, with the 6WB you don’t have to squint at the iDrive screen or turn to the side to check the next turn). All in all, it’s a decent upgrade if you value and look for the features described in this blog post. If you have any questions regarding 6WB BMW OEM Digital cluster, contact us with your VIN, and we will give you all the extra information you need.
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