BMW DAB+ Upgrade: A Comprehensive Guide for Enhanced Radio Experience

Overview of BMW DAB+ Upgrade

Upgrading your BMW with a DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting) radio system can provide you with numerous benefits, including improved audio quality, access to a wider variety of stations, and additional programming information. This section discusses the process of upgrading your BMW’s radio system to DAB+, choosing between factory and aftermarket options, and the key factors to consider during the upgrade.

Firstly, consider your options between a factory upgrade and an aftermarket system. While BMW began offering DAB radio as an option on all new models from January 2013, and as standard on some high-end models like the 7 Series, you may still need to retrofit your vehicle depending on its model and manufacturing date. Aftermarket DAB+ systems are also available, which could potentially offer more features and customization options, although they may require more installation effort and maintenance.

When exploring the upgrade process, ensure compatibility between your BMW model and the desired DAB+ system. Whether you choose a factory or aftermarket option, check that the system is designed for your specific vehicle, as mismatched components can result in poor performance or compatibility issues. Research the available options, read reviews, and seek advice from BMW owners who have installed DAB+ upgrades to their vehicle.

If you choose to retrofit your BMW, be aware of the required components and coding procedures. You may need to invest in a DAB antenna, as well as update vehicle coding to ensure seamless integration with your existing audio system. Step-by-step instructions on the retrofit process can be found on various BMW forums, where experienced users can provide valuable insight and tips.

Finally, weigh the costs and benefits of upgrading your BMW’s radio system to DAB+. Consider the improved audio quality, access to digital-only stations, and enhanced programming information against the potential costs and installation effort.

By understanding the different options for a DAB+ upgrade, considering compatibility and installation requirements, and evaluating the benefits and costs, you can confidently enhance your BMW’s audio system with digital radio capabilities.

Fundamental Components

DAB Tuner

Upgrading your BMW’s radio system to DAB+ starts with the DAB tuner. This component receives digital radio signals, providing you with a clear and interference-free audio experience. With an optional DAB tuner, you’ll benefit from enhanced audio quality and access to additional programming and information.

Antenna Cable

Next, you’ll need an appropriate antenna cable to connect the DAB tuner to your car’s existing antenna system. This cable ensures that the digital radio signals being received by the tuner can be processed optimally. The connection could involve replacing an existing antenna amplifier or integrating it with an additional DAB antenna.

Infotainment System

Your BMW’s infotainment system plays a crucial role in realizing the full benefits of your DAB+ upgrade. The system needs to be compatible with the newly installed DAB tuner, ensuring seamless integration with existing audio controls. For some vehicles, this may require recoding the RAM/MGU HeadUnit using professional tools like Esys.


Finally, the screen of your infotainment system needs to display the relevant information from the DAB+ tuner. This includes data such as radio station names, song titles, artist information, traffic updates, and more. In some BMW models, this may require a screen upgrade or adjustments to the system’s software to ensure full compatibility with the new DAB+ signals.

Cost-Effectiveness of Retrofit

Evaluation of Costs

When considering a BMW DAB+ upgrade, it’s essential to evaluate the costs associated with retrofitting your vehicle. The process usually involves purchasing the necessary hardware and software components and potentially paying for professional installation. It’s crucial to compare the costs of retrofit options for DAB+ with other alternatives, such as using OEM parts.

A retrofit DAB+ solution can vary in price depending on the manufacturer and features offered. In some cases, you might find aftermarket options to be more cost-effective than OEM upgrades. However, keep in mind that OEM parts are typically designed specifically for your vehicle and may provide better integration and warranties.


Upgrading your BMW with a DAB+ retrofit offers several benefits which impact the overall cost-effectiveness of the decision. Firstly, DAB+ provides improved radio signal quality, thanks to its digital nature, resulting in a more enjoyable listening experience. Additionally, DAB+ stations tend to offer a wider variety of programming options, giving you access to more stations and content.

Choosing to retrofit your vehicle can also be advantageous from a practical standpoint, as it allows you to keep and maintain the functionality of your existing car, rather than purchasing a new one with DAB+ capabilities. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of digital radio without the expense of a new vehicle purchase.

When weighing the costs and benefits of a retrofit, it’s essential to consider the long-term value it can provide. Ultimately, upgrading to DAB+ can enhance your driving experience, offering improved audio quality and a greater variety of content to keep you engaged and informed on the road.

Step-by-Step Installation Process

Using the Installation Kit

To begin the upgrade of your BMW’s DAB+ radio system, you will need to use the DAB radio installation kit. First, remove the air conditioning vent by prying it gently with a plastic pry tool. Disconnect the plugs and set the vent aside. Next, unscrew and remove the original audio screen, and disconnect the connector. Remove the screws that fix the CD button panel, and then carefully take it down and unplug the connector1.

Once these components are removed, you can start installing the new DAB+ system. Assemble the kit following the manufacturer’s instructions. The installation process may differ based on your specific BMW model and the chosen DAB+ upgrade kit. If your kit includes an antenna, install it according to the instructions provided2.

Connect the DAB+ module to your existing factory radio using the appropriate wiring harness. Ensure all connections are secure before proceeding. Mount the DAB+ module and antenna in their designated locations, and reassemble the interior components in the reverse order of removal.

Coding Procedure

After successfully installing the DAB+ hardware, you may need to perform a coding procedure to ensure the new system integrates seamlessly with your BMW’s existing electronics3. This step typically requires a coding tool, such as a laptop with specialized software, and a cable to connect it to your vehicle’s OBD-II port.

Follow the instructions provided by the specific coding tool to perform the coding process. This usually involves selecting your BMW model, choosing the DAB+ upgrade option, and following the step-by-step guidance to finalize the coding. Ensure you adhere to all safety precautions and recommendations provided by the coding tool manufacturer.

Once the coding is complete, test your new DAB+ radio system to ensure it functions correctly and integrates well with your BMW’s electronics. Enjoy the enhanced sound quality and greater radio station variety that the DAB+ upgrade brings to your driving experience.

Integration into Different BMW Models

Integration into 1 Series

Upgrading to DAB+ in your BMW 1 Series can greatly enhance your audio experience. The process may involve installing an optional DAB tuner or a FISTUNE DAB+ Integration for your E-Series CIC system. This will allow you to enjoy superior audio quality and receive additional information such as traffic updates, weather reports, and song titles.

Integration into 3, 5, 6, 7 Series

DAB+ upgrades are also available for BMW 3, 5, 6, and 7 Series models. Similar to the 1 Series, you may need to install an optional DAB tuner or use a FISTUNE DAB+ Integration with your vehicle’s CIC infotainment system. This upgrade will ensure crystal clear audio and access to additional programming.

Integration into Z4

For the BMW Z4, upgrading to DAB+ will require compatible hardware, such as an optional DAB tuner or a FISTUNE DAB+ Integration kit. Once installed, you can enjoy improved audio quality, expanded programming options, and enhanced reception.

Integration into M3

When upgrading your BMW M3 to DAB+, seek out the appropriate tuner or integration kit compatible with your vehicle’s infotainment system. By opting for this upgrade, you can expect superior audio quality and additional information, enhancing your overall driving experience.

Integration into X1, X3, X5

BMW X1, X3, and X5 models can benefit from DAB+ upgrades as well. Install the appropriate optional DAB tuner or FISTUNE DAB+ Integration kit to improve your vehicle’s audio quality and access a wider variety of programming. Your driving experience will be enhanced with this high-quality audio upgrade.

Integration into 8, 135

Lastly, for the BMW 8 and 135 models, upgrading to DAB+ is achievable by installing a compatible DAB tuner or FISTUNE DAB+ Integration kit. This will ensure excellent audio quality, free from noise or interference, and access to additional programming that will enhance your driving experience.

Future of Broadcasting in BMW Vehicles

As a proud BMW owner, you can expect to experience the future of broadcasting through digital technology in your vehicle. BMW is constantly working on upgrading their cars to offer you the best in-vehicle infotainment and connectivity. One such advancement is the integration of DAB/DAB+ technology, which ensures superb audio quality and enables reception of additional programming and information such as traffic data, weather reports, song titles, and artist details1.

BMW iDrive, an essential part of your vehicle’s display and operating system, is evolving to accommodate digital broadcasting developments4. Its latest generation offers improved usability and seamless integration with various digital platforms. Your BMW will not only have access to various audio channels but also provide real-time updates to help you make well-informed decisions during your drive.

In some cases, it is possible to retrofit DAB in your BMW, with the necessary components such as a DAB antenna and some coding within the RAM/MGU HeadUnit2. As with any upgrade, it is recommended that you consult your local BMW service center or professional installer to ensure a proper and smooth integration. They can guide you through the available options and provide you with the most suitable solution for your particular model.

With BMW’s commitment to enhancing their vehicles with digital broadcasting technology, you can be confident that your driving experience will be enriched with crystal-clear audio and up-to-date information. This ongoing evolution of in-car entertainment and connectivity ensures that your BMW remains at the forefront of automotive technology.

Choosing Part Numbers and Antenna

Identifying Part Numbers

When upgrading your BMW to DAB+, it’s crucial to identify the correct part numbers for your vehicle’s specific model and year. Start by checking your vehicle identification number (VIN), which can be found in your car’s registration documents or on a label located at the bottom of your car’s windshield. This helps ensure compatibility between your BMW and the DAB+ components you intend to purchase.

Some part numbers may also be found on online forums specialized in BMW vehicles, such as the BimmerFest BMW Forum or BIMMERPOST. However, it’s always best to cross-check with a BMW dealer or specialist to ensure the accuracy of these part numbers.

Choosing the Right Antenna

When it comes to selecting the right antenna for your DAB+ upgrade, there are a few factors to consider. First, decide if you prefer an internal or external antenna. Internal antennas are often easier to install, while external antennas generally provide better reception.

You may also opt for a splitter, which allows you to use your car’s built-in antenna for DAB+ reception, as mentioned in this L322 BMW Headunit upgrade discussion.

It’s crucial to ensure the chosen antenna is compatible with your BMW’s specific model and year. You can accomplish this by verifying the part number and consulting a BMW dealer or specialist.

Finally, consider the ease of installing your antenna. Depending on whether you plan to do the installation yourself or with professional help, it’s essential to choose an antenna that aligns with your level of expertise and comfort.

By carefully identifying the necessary part numbers and selecting the right antenna for your DAB+ upgrade, you’ll enhance your BMW’s listening experience and stay connected to digital radio broadcasts with ease.

Importance and Role of Drivers and Speakers

Upgrading your BMW’s audio system with a DAB+ upgrade can significantly enhance your listening experience. The key components that determine the quality of sound in your car include the drivers and speakers.

When you’re considering an upgrade, it’s essential to understand the role of drivers in your audio system. Drivers are the individual components within the speakers that convert electrical audio signals into audible sound. Usually, there are two main types of drivers in most car audio systems: woofers and tweeters. Woofers handle the low-frequency sounds (bass) while tweeters are responsible for high-frequency sounds (treble). A well-designed and high-quality driver can greatly affect the overall performance and clarity of your audio system.

Speakers, on the other hand, house the drivers and play a crucial role in delivering balanced and accurate sound. The quality of the speakers can significantly impact the audio experience in your vehicle. For example, improved aftermarket speakers can provide better sound, even with the factory radio. To enhance your audio listening experience, you can start by upgrading the front door speakers, followed by the rear door speakers.

When upgrading your BMW’s audio system, consider the following factors:

  • Compatibility: Ensure the new drivers and speakers are compatible with your audio system and vehicle model.
  • Power handling: Choose drivers and speakers with appropriate power handling capabilities to avoid distortion and poor audio quality.
  • Sensitivity: Higher sensitivity speakers can produce louder sound with less power, leading to improved efficiency and audio quality.

By carefully selecting high-quality drivers and speakers, you can significantly improve the audio experience in your BMW, making your driving experience enjoyable and immersive.

Remote Control and TV Tuner Addition

Upgrading your BMW with a DAB+ radio system can provide you with an improved entertainment experience while driving. One aspect worth considering when upgrading is the addition of a remote control and TV tuner.

A remote control allows you and your passengers to conveniently access and navigate through the DAB+ stations, audio settings, and media options without manually reaching for the car’s interface. This can be particularly useful during longer drives, enabling you to adjust settings without taking your eyes off the road.

When considering a TV tuner addition, it is essential to understand that not all BMW models come with the necessary equipment for enabling this feature. However, if your vehicle has the appropriate wiring and capabilities, the addition of a BMW Lear TV Tuner Module can significantly enhance your infotainment system. With the BMW DAB+ Radio Upgrade Conversion Kit, you can receive digital TV signals and enjoy a more immersive in-car entertainment experience alongside your DAB+ radio.

Installing a TV tuner and remote control could require some at-home DIY work or may need professional help, depending on your vehicle’s current configuration and your level of expertise. It is essential to check your car’s compatibility with the DAB+ and TV tuner systems to ensure a successful installation. Additionally, proper coding may be necessary for some modules to function correctly, such as updating the FA (Fahrzeugauftrag) code.

In summary, if you want to elevate your BMW’s in-car entertainment, considering the addition of a remote control and a TV tuner alongside your DAB+ upgrade can provide you with an enhanced audiovisual environment while driving. Always make sure your vehicle is compatible with these upgrades and seek professional assistance if you’re unsure about performing the installation yourself.

Popular DAB+ Radio Stations

DAB+ radio stations have become increasingly popular over the years, providing you with a wide variety of stations to choose from, ensuring crystal clear sound quality without any interference. Here are some popular DAB+ radio stations that you might want to listen to in your BMW with a DAB+ upgrade:

  • BBC Radio: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) offers a range of DAB+ stations, covering various genres like news, sports, music, and entertainment. You can find national stations like BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, and BBC Radio 4, as well as regional options such as BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio Wales.
  • Absolute Radio: This station offers a mix of music from across the decades, as well as engaging talk shows and entertainment programs. You might enjoy their themed channels, such as Absolute 80s, Absolute 90s, or Absolute Classic Rock, which cater to different musical tastes.
  • Global Radio: Global Radio is a leading media group with several popular DAB+ stations under its umbrella. You can tune into Capital FM for contemporary hits, LBC for news and current affairs, or Smooth Radio for easy-listening tracks.
  • Bauer Media: As another key player in the radio industry, Bauer Media provides a variety of options for DAB+ listeners. You can try out Kiss Radio, which offers a mix of dance, hip hop, and R&B, or delve into the world of indie and alternative music on Absolute Radio.
  • Digital-Only Stations: Some radio stations are only available on DAB+, giving you access to exclusive content. For example, Jazz FM and Magic Chilled are both digital-only stations that serve as a great addition to your listening experience1.

Whether you’re a fan of music, talk radio, news, or sports, upgrading your BMW to DAB+ radio opens up a world of new possibilities. With so many diverse options available, you’re sure to find the perfect station to suit your interests and enjoy the enhanced audio quality that DAB+ has to offer.

Additional Considerations for Sedan and Touring Models

When considering a BMW DAB+ upgrade for your sedan or touring model, it’s essential to keep a few factors in mind. Ensuring compatibility, understanding the costs involved, and knowing the benefits of DAB+ radio are crucial to making an informed decision about this upgrade.

Firstly, you need to confirm that your BMW model is compatible with a DAB+ upgrade. Most current BMW models can be equipped with digital radio systems, and vehicles can become ready for DAB/DAB+ reception with the addition of an optional DAB tuner1. Consult your local BMW dealer or service center to confirm your vehicle’s compatibility.

The costs associated with a DAB+ upgrade may vary depending on the specific model and installation requirements. Some owners have reported success in retrofitting DAB radio by adding a DAB antenna and coding the RAM/MGU HeadUnit2. However, it’s essential to consult with a professional to minimize potential issues and ensure proper functionality.

DAB+ radio provides numerous advantages over traditional analog radio systems. The digital transmission offers superior audio quality, reduced noise and interference, and easier access to a wider range of radio stations3. Additionally, DAB+ systems can deliver useful information such as traffic data, weather reports, song titles, artists, and news headlines.

Lastly, when upgrading your BMW sedan or touring model to a DAB+ system, it’s important to remember the potential impact on the vehicle’s resale value. Upgrading to a more advanced radio system can enhance the overall appeal of your vehicle, making it more attractive to potential buyers in the future.

In summary, if you’re considering a DAB+ upgrade for your BMW sedan or touring model, consult with a professional to ensure compatibility, understand the costs involved, and be aware of the benefits that DAB+ radio provides. With these considerations in mind, you can make an informed decision to enhance your vehicle’s audio system.


  1. 7 Steps to Install An Upgraded Car Audio System in BMW 3 Series 2 3 4
  2. DAB antenna reception – Dension 2 3
  3. Replacing a factory fit car radio for DAB – Digital Radio Choice 2

Georg Meier

BMW technician since 1996. I began my automotive journey in 1993 as an apprentice mechanic at Automag, the world's oldest BMW dealership in Munich. With years of experience and dedication, I garnered a wealth of knowledge about the intricacies of BMW and MINI vehicles. The love/hate relationship with the brand led me to found BIMMERIST where I share expertise and insights with fellow enthusiasts.

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