BMW E46 comes form second half of 90’s. These days car manufacturers audio entertainment gizmos was mostly reduced to operating with steering wheel remote controllers or two-lined displays (wow).
That’s why in early E46 radio units you could’t find even AUX input. First E46 aux units emerged around 2002 and after this time were gradually becoming basic standard.
MP3 format was quite fresh idea in Car audio these days, bluetooth was novelty for geeks. Portable music player was rather big discman than iPod. Funny though – just few years later MP3 technology has exploded. It was rather sad news for all car owners equipped with almost brand new (and outdated as it occured) classic AudioCD players.
Car makers had to adjust their offer to needs of market for sure. In first years of 21’st century they had to upgrade their electronics as much and quick as possible. At first they were adding AUX line in audio inputs, then MP3 CD compatibility. Next was Bluetooth connection and so on.
That’s why only one car model like BMW E46 could be equipped with at least 10 different head units. You could buy CD, MD (!) or Casette, 1 or 2din sized, Business or Professional line and lots of them were available in various options in different years. It’s quite problematic. Especially now, when you try to buy some second-hand unit, usually on the internet, often from someone not awared of what he sells.
It’s really easy to buy some unit looking totally like full-equipped, good sounding Alpine version with AUX and even MP3 CD compatibility, being in fact quite ordinary VDO/Siemens unit accepting only standard AudioCD discs
But don’t be distressed. I will help you and show you how to recognize most popular E46 radio models remotely, basing even only on pictures from eBay auctions.
It’s not very complicated. You just need to be patient and careful while searching. So, first things first. Let’s start with the basics.
Check your E46 radio model and it’s features:
|CD players||Casette players||MD (MiniDisc) players|