How to retrofit BMW E-Series? Comprehensive retrofit guide for your model.

Bianka Rommel
Oct 19, 2020

How to retrofit an E-Series BMW? Good question. Many BMW E-Series cars are known to be quite tricky when it comes to upgrading, due to older production dates. But retrofitting them definitely isn't impossible! So for all of you who wonder how to retrofit your BMW E-Series, we’ve prepared a list of retrofits suitable to specific E-Series models. 

Here you’re going to learn what your options are, including BMW E-Series aftermarket stereos, BMW iDrive upgrades, BMW map updates, BMW E-Series coding or even adding a BMW CarPlay retrofit. Just search for your BMW Series number and your head unit version, and learn all about the available upgrades for your car. Dig in!

How to retrofit BMW E-Series?

What is BMW E-Series?

A bit of history to start with :) BMW E-Series cars first appeared on the market way back in 1968. They carried an E project number (standing for the German ‘Entwicklung’, or in other words ‘development’) ...until the model numbers neared triple digits with the appearance of the E89 - launched in 2009. From this year forward, the E codename was replaced by F numbers for all new-generation BMWs, which in time have changed to G models — currently produced by BMW.

What are the BMW E-Series models?

If you wonder how to distinguish between BMW E-Series cars and F or G-Series vehicles, here’s the whole list of BMW E-Series models to help you identify your car by production year and the different BMW E generations.

Learn which BMW model you have from this blog post.

BMW E-Series model

BMW Series

Production years

BMW E3

2500/2800 saloons

1968-1977

BMW E9

2000-2800 coupés

1968-1974

BMW E12

1st-gen 5-series

1975-1981

BMW E21

1st-gen 3-series

1976-1983

BMW E23

1st-gen 7-series

1978-1987

BMW E24

1st-gen 6-series

1977-1989

BMW E25

Turbo concept car

1972

BMW E26

M1 supercar

1978-1981

BMW E28

2nd-gen 5-series

1982-1988

BMW E30

2nd-gen 3-series

1984-1992

BMW E31 

8-series

1989-1999

BMW E32

2nd-gen 7-series

1986-1994

BMW E32

2nd-gen 7-series LWB

1987-1994

BMW E34 

3rd-gen 5-series

1989-1995

BMW E36

Z3, M Roadster, M Coupé

1995-2002

BMW E38

3rd-gen 7-series

1994-2001

BMW E38

3rd-gen 7-series LWB

1994-2001

BMW E38

3rd-gen 7-series armoured

1998-2001

BMW E39

4th-gen 5-series

1996-2004

BMW E46 

4th-gen 3-series

1999-2005

BMW E46

2nd-gen 3-series Compact

2001-2004

BMW E52

Z8

2000-2003

BMW E53

1st-gen X5

2000-2006

BMW E60

5th-gen 5-series

2004-2010

BMW E61 

5th-gen 5-series Touring

2004-2010

BMW E63

2nd-gen 6-series Coupe

2003-2011

BMW E64

2nd-gen 6-series Cabriolet

2003-2011

BMW E65

4th-gen 7-series

2001-2008

BMW E66 

4th-gen 7-series LWB

2002-2008

BMW E67

4th-gen 7-series armoured

2001-2008

BMW E68

4th-gen 7-series hydrogen

2005-2007

BMW E70 

2nd-gen X5

2007-2013

BMW E71

1st-gen X6

2008-2014

BMW E81

1st-gen 1-series

2004-2011

BMW E82 

1st-gen 1-series

2004-2011

BMW E83 

1st-gen X3

2003-2010

BMW E84

1st-gen X1

2009-2016

BMW E85

1st-gen Z4

2003-2009

BMW E87

1st-gen 1-series Coupe

2004-2011

BMW E88 

1st-gen 1-series Convertible

2004-2011

BMW E89

2nd-gen Z4

2009-2016

BMW E90

5th-gen 3-series saloon

2005-2011

BMW E91

5th-gen 3-series Touring

2005-2011

BMW E92

5th-gen 3-series coupé

2005-2013

BMW E93

5th-gen 3-series convertible

2005-2013 

BMW E-Series head unit systems

Before diving into your search for available retrofits, remember to also check what head unit you have. Each upgrade largely depends on the type of head unit, and the tricky part is that each model had several iDrive systems throughout the model run. Is it too much? Let us explain the whole selection of head units that appeared in E-Series BMWs. 

Not sure which head unit your car has? Decode your VIN and we’ll send your car specifications in a PDF file straight to your inbox.

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RAD

The RAD (Radio BMW Professional CD) head unit is a very basic radio head unit utilized for the audio system, telephone and on-board computer. It was used in the following E-Series models:

  • 1-Series E88 
  • 3-Series E90/E91/E93
  • X1 E84
  • Z4 E89 

M-ASK

The BMW M-ASK (MMI Audio System controller) is a limited version of the iDrive computer with a small 6.6" screen. On the US market it can only be found in 5 Series and 6 Series, as well as X5 or X6, without navigation abilities. If you have a European car you may also get it as ‘Business navigation’ in 1 or 3 Series BMWs, where you’ll be able to identify it thanks to its basic navigation features, such as directional arrows or 2D maps. 

M-ASK Business navigation was available for these BMWs depending on region:

  • 1 Series E81/E82/E87/E88
  • 3 Series E90/E91/E92/E93
  • 5 Series E60/E61
  • 6 Series E63/E64
  • X5 E70
  • X6 E71

CHAMP

Just like M-ASK, CHAMP (M-Audio System Controller) is a 2nd generation Business navigation system. It is used for the audio system, telephone, and on-board computer, and offers hands-free calling, playing MP3 files from a USB stick and listening to music through an AUX port.

Learn more about Basic BMW Navigation systems.

The BMW CHAMP system was featured in the following E-Series models:

  • 5 Series E60/E61
  • X5 E70
  • X6 E71

CCC

The BMW CCC (Car Communication Computer) is a 2nd generation head unit and a real-time operating system that has an 8.8” display, a DVD drive for DVD based maps, a CD drive and an AUX input. It debuted on the market in 2003 with E60/E61 5 Series BMW, and since then has featured in the following models:

  • 1-Series E81/E82/E87/E88 
  • 3-Series E90/E91/E92/E93 
  • 5-Series E60/E61
  • 6-Series E63/E64 
  • X5 E70 
  • X6 E72 

BMW CCC head unit

CIC

The BMW CIC (Car Information Computer) system is a successor of the CCC head unit, and belongs to the iDrives of the 3rd generation. It appeared in 2008 — replacing the display, computer and the controller of its predecessor — and came with additional features such as: an 80 GB hard disk drive (HDD) and a USB connector in the glove box.

Get to know more features and retrofit possibilities for CIC iDrive.

BMW CIC head unit

CIC iDrive system has appeared in the following E-Series models:

  • 1-Series E81/E82/E87/E88 
  • 3-Series E90/E91/E92/E93 
  • 5-Series E60/E61
  • 6-Series E63/E64 
  • X3 E83
  • X4 E84  
  • X5 E70 
  • X6 E71 
  • Z4 E89 

If you want to know more about BMW head units, read our blog post.

What are the retrofit possibilities with each head unit?

Looking at how advanced each of these head units is, you can already guess that some will get more retrofit opportunities than others. While the basic RAD will only let you replace it with a more functional CIC iDrive system retrofit, head units such as M-ASK, CHAMP or CCC will give you the option of installing Front & Rear View Cameras, SmartView solutions or our VividScreen screen — all due to the presence of on-board computers and factory screens. 

But there’s another catch. Not every M-ASK head unit will have the same retrofit opportunities, as it divides into 2 different versions: M-ASK 2 and M-ASK60 — with the latter being a more advanced iDrive that includes support for BimmerTech's MMI module. Having M-ASK60 in your BMW means you can add our MMI-based cameras or SmartView products.

CIC head units, just like M-ASK, divide into versions: CIC/CICM (in F-Series vehicles) and CICR/CICMR (in E-Series vehicles). This doesn't have much actual impact on what retrofits you can add to your BMW. CIC iDrive systems in general have support for the MMI module, which allows adding Front & Rear View Cameras or SmartView devices. Also, thanks to their advanced connectivity features, CIC iDrives make it possible to add Combox Media PnP retrofits, BMW Apps retrofits and Enhanced Bluetooth/USB Activation.

Some E models with CIC will have a Rear View Camera (OEM) available, while others won’t - it has nothing to do with the iDrive version, it’s only due to the presence of PDC and Navigation Professional in given BMW models.

BMW E-Series retrofit 

Is your BMW E-Series from before 2002? Or was it produced right after BMW started equipping its cars with iDrive systems? Your model will not be missed. We are going to go through all E-Series cars — from BMW 1 Series to BMW Z4 — and show you what you can do to upgrade them, even just a little.

BMWs produced before 2002

Concerns BMW models such as E46/E39, etc. 

While more recent E-Series BMWs have optimistic upgrade hopes, those manufactured before 2002 will unfortunately have a hard time with any retrofit. Due to a lack of iDrive system in these cars, it’s impossible to do any major technology upgrade on them. The only thing you can do is a BMW key fob replacement.  

If you lose or damage your key fob, you can easily get a new one from BimmerTech. Our replacement key fob comes pre-programmed by the BMW factory, so doesn’t require any additional programming. All you have to do is get it activated and you’re all set. 

Need a key fob replacement? Check everything you need to know about BMW key fobs.

BMWs produced after 2002

BMWs from the E range produced after 2002 already came with iDrive systems, which made it possible to retrofit them with a couple of upgrades. In the table below you’ll be able to check the available retrofits depending on your model’s head unit.

BMW Series and models

Production years

Head unit

Available retrofits










1 Series


E81/E82/E87/E88










2005–2013


All vehicles (not depending on the head unit)

Alpha One Speakers
Premium Audio System
BMW key fob
SiriusXM Satellite Radio

M-ASK

CIC iDrive Retrofit

RAD

CIC iDrive Retrofit

CCC

Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
SmartView HD Flex
CIC iDrive Retrofit

CIC

Map Update PREMIUM
CarPlay MMI Prime
Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
Combox Media PnP Retrofit
BMW Apps
Enhanced Bluetooth/USB Activation

3 Series


E90/E91/E92/E93



2005–2013

All vehicles (not depending on the head unit)

Alpha One Speakers
Premium Audio System
BMW key fob
AUX Port
SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Park Distance Control (PDC)

M-ASK

Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
SmartView HD Flex
VividScreen Retrofit
CIC iDrive Retrofit

RAD

CIC iDrive Retrofit

CCC

Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
SmartView HD Flex
VividScreen Retrofit
CIC iDrive Retrofit

CIC

Map Update PREMIUM
CarPlay MMI Prime
Rear View Camera (MMI)
Rear View Camera (OEM)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
Combox Media PnP Retrofit
BMW AppsEnhanced Bluetooth/USB Activation

5 Series


E60/E61



2004–2010

All vehicles (not depending on the head unit)

Alpha One Speakers
Premium Audio System
BMW key fob
SiriusXM Satellite Radio
AUX Port

M-ASK

Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
SmartView HD Flex
VividScreen Retrofit
CIC iDrive Retrofit

CCC

Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
SmartView HD Flex
VividScreen Retrofit
CIC iDrive Retrofit

CHAMP

Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
SmartView HD Flex
VividScreen Retrofit
CIC iDrive Retrofit

CIC

Map Update PREMIUM
CarPlay MMI Prime
Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
Combox Media PnP Retrofit
BMW Apps
Enhanced Bluetooth/USB Activation

6 Series


E63/E64



2004–2010

All vehicles (not depending on the head unit)

Alpha One Speakers
Premium Audio System
BMW key fob
SiriusXM Satellite Radio
AUX Port

M-ASK

VividScreen Retrofit
CIC iDrive Retrofit

CCC

Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
SmartView HD Flex
VividScreen Retrofit
CIC iDrive Retrofit

CIC

Map Update PREMIUM
CarPlay MMI Prime
Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
Combox Media PnP Retrofit
BMW Apps
Enhanced Bluetooth/USB Activation

7 Series


E65/E66



2002–2008

All vehicles

Alpha One Speakers
BMW key fob

X3/X4


E83/E84



2004–2010

All vehicles

(not depending on the head unit)

Alpha One Speakers
Premium Audio System
BMW key fob
SiriusXM Satellite Radio

RAD

CIC iDrive Retrofit

CIC

Map Update PREMIUM
CarPlay MMI Prime
Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
Combox Media PnP Retrofit
BMW Apps
Enhanced Bluetooth/USB Activation

X5/X6


E70/E71



2007–2013

All vehicles

(not depending on the head unit)

Alpha One Speakers
Premium Audio System
BMW key fob
SiriusXM Satellite Radio

M-ASK

CIC iDrive Retrofit

CCC

Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
SmartView HD Flex
CIC iDrive Retrofit

CHAMP

Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
SmartView HD Flex
CIC iDrive Retrofit

CIC

Map Update PREMIUM
CarPlay MMI Prime
Rear View Camera (MMI)
Rear View Camera (OEM)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
Combox Media PnP Retrofit
BMW AppsEnhanced Bluetooth/USB Activation

Z4


E89



2009–2016

All vehicles

(not depending on the head unit)

Alpha One Speakers
Premium Audio System
BMW key fob
SiriusXM Satellite Radio

RAD

 

CCC

Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
SmartView HD Flex

CIC

Map Update PREMIUM
CarPlay MMI Prime
Rear View Camera (MMI)
Front View Camera
SmartView HD Apple TV3
SmartView HD Apple TV4
Combox Media PnP Retrofit
BMW Apps
Enhanced Bluetooth/USB Activation

Still not sure which retrofit is available for you? 

If you wonder what retrofits would be perfect for your specific BMW model, you still have two other options to find it out:

  1. Enter your VIN on our website and get to know all available upgrades yourself — you’ll find them in the retrofits category menu. A decoded VIN will let you see which products are compatible with your vehicle. 
  2. Enter your VIN here and we’ll send you a PDF file with a complete vehicle specification.

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BMW CIC retrofit

It’s hard to keep up with BMW's ever-changing technology, especially if your car has 15+ years under its belt. Luckily, with this retrofit your beloved vehicle can level up to the latest the BMW market has to offer.

BMW CIC Navigation System retrofit will let you enjoy the most important tech functionalities of your iDrive — a high definition screen, the latest BMW map update for your region, multimedia features such as Video & Services in motion and Voice Control, as well as some USB coding options that will depend on your vehicle. But the biggest perk of all is the ability to add our CarPlay MMI Prime retrofit to your 2008 or later BMW. 

What other features and upgrade options are there in a CIC iDrive retrofit? Check it out in our blog post.

BMW CIC Navigation system retrofit is available for: 

  • 1 Series (E81/E82/E87/E88) with M-ASK, RAD, CCC
  • 3 Series (E90/E91/E92/E93) with M-ASK, RAD, CCC
  • 5 Series (E60/E61) with M-ASK, CCC, CHAMP
  • 6 Series (E63/E64) with M-ASK, CCC
  • X3/X4 (E83/E84) with RAD
  • X5/X6 (E70/E71) with M-ASK, CCC, CHAMP

CarPlay retrofit E-Series

Having CarPlay in your E-Series BMW might have seemed out of the question. Fortunately, at BimmerTech we like a challenge, and we’ve decided to create a CarPlay upgrade for as many vehicles as possible. Our CarPlay MMI Prime retrofit is now available for E & F Series BMWs produced since 2008, including those with CIC iDrive systems. 

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It’s a true catch for retrofit enthusiasts that truly brings older BMW’s multimedia system up to modern day standards. With CarPlay MMI Prime you can use your favourite iPhone apps, such as Google Maps, Waze, Spotify or WhatsApp, right from the iDrive screen, and control them with your iDrive controller or Siri. Also, thanks to our MMI’s Android Auto support, you can pair up your Android smartphone with the module, or even add Front or Rear View Cameras for a much lower price.

To learn more about your broad possibilities with CarPlay MMI Prime, check out our blog post.

Summary

As it turns out, there are more retrofit possibilities for E-Series BMWs than many would think. From a full-on upgrade of the iDrive system, through adding Front or Rear View Cameras and SmartView solutions, to a high-tech CarPlay retrofit — your beloved E-Series car can undergo a modern transformation which will make it compete with the newest vehicles on the market. 









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