December 6, 2021

Retrofit infotainment for 250 euros

State-of-the-art connectivity in an aged car? Go if you dare. You can order infotainment systems for elderly cars from China. Self-test in the BMW 5 Series (E39).

What did he not have to serve for everything, poor BMW. Plush orgies in the interior, glued fake exhaust trims and lots of other cheap junk from China. One might think that my E39 has hardly been spared, but far from it. With this project, he really cares about the bowels – and those who are responsible for on-board entertainment. What is meant is the infotainment system, because here too the large online retailers from the Far East deliver hot goods to Germany. How the installation works step by step can be found below in the article.

Meaningful innovations

If you drive a classic car, you may be familiar with the problem: you are actually very satisfied with your slightly old car, as it is more relaxed than in a faceless new car. After all, it’s a cart with character. One who has already experienced something. But somehow there are one or two innovations of modern times that would not be entirely impractical. A sensible navigation system, for example, instead of sticking the cell phone to the window with a suction cup, from where it says goodbye after every second bump. In addition, the sound of such a cassette with a view to the “signal-to-noise ratio” is not the last word of wisdom and the music experience is also linear yesterday.

Now, of course, no wildly flashing DIN radio should sprout from the fittings, whose look is in stark contrast to the elegant interior ambience. You could stick Kenwood, Alpine or something on the rear window. To solve the dilemma, a trip to the Middle Kingdom is worthwhile – virtually. Internet mail order companies such as Aliexpress or Gearbest offer infotainment systems based on Android, the design of which is strikingly similar to the original parts from the manufacturers. For 250 euros, we ordered one that would fit seamlessly into the E39 cockpit, but that would bring all the modern connectivity functions.

Installation of the infotainment system

As sweet as the idea is, the way there is more rocky than you might think – and BMW is to blame. Because who drives a 5 series from 2001, proudly emblazoned with the original 16: 9 navigation system, will quickly curse the faded glory. The monitor in the cockpit is just a screen, while the individual modules for radio, image signal and navigation are located in the rear left of the trunk. In other words, if you retrofit a modern system, you have to fumble a separately available cable harness right across the car.