Tech Upgrades for an Aging BMW

Many of us own aging BMW's. Our cars are well built and they stay looking and running good. They serve us well every day. We do keep an eye on the new models though and wish ours had some of the new features. Even in the few years since our cars were built so much has changed. We now get our music from MP3 players and iPods instead of cassettes and CD's. Satellites provide our broadcast music as well as guide us via GPS instead of using maps. Even our phones in our pocket can connect automatically and hands-free in newer cars. We also know that getting to this technology can't always mean a new car. Luckily there are now ways our current cars can be adapted to work conveniently in today's world. Both BMW and independent manufacturers offer methods to provide us and our cars with ways to have what we're missing. The possibilities vary with the age and equipment your car currently has, but if your BMW is within 10 yrs old you should be able to integrate things nicely. Most of these upgrades are hidden completely and will function and be controlled by what is already installed in your car.

Having a "hands free" phone via Bluetooth is one option that can be easily installed in most BMW's that are wired for a phone. Along with a Bluetooth equipped cell phone you will be able to answer, voice dial and converse right through the cars speaker system. Once "paired" your phone will not need to leave your pocket when in your car. Even the music your listening to will mute and return after your phone conversation. Another easily installed system is an MP3/ipod interface. These work in most models with a CD changer option and allow the player to be controlled at some level through the factory radio. These can also include the ability to connect other audio/video devices via an aux. input. This can include separate satellite radio tuners. Some electronics manufacturers make adaptors that work with the BMW "I" bus network. This then allows their various products to work through your cars audio system and even display information visually on the nav screen or current radio display.

BMW also offers kits for some options that were not included on your BMW. This could be either that a car was not ordered with a particular option or for an option that was offered in later years of your model. Things like navigation can be readily installed. Navigation systems can also be upgraded to newer versions if currently installed. On newer model BMW's, upgrading options is getting even more common. This can sometimes be done with just software. If you have never had a cars software updated you may not know what you're missing.

The cost on some of these upgrades can sometimes be significant. However in relation to the cost of replacing the car you still enjoy it can be a very viable "option". It can really help make something old seem new again.

Voit Ritch
Autowerkes Maine Inc.