Determining the iDrive version installed in your BMW is vital if you are intending to install a Retrofit CarPlay/Android Auto Kit such as the IMI-1000 from Integrated Automotive. After reading this article you will be able to determine your iDrive version and also have thorough background knowledge of the history of iDrive.
What is the IMI-1000?
The IMI-1000 is a mini-computer which is installed behind your head unit. It adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Range Rover, Mini and Porsche vehicles.
The IMI-1000 is compatible with;
BMW: CCC, CiC and NBT iDrive
Audi/VW: 2G, 3G and MIB MMI Systems
Mercedes: NTG4.5 and NTG5.0 Systems
Why do I need to know my iDrive version?
For us to configure your retrofit system correctly with a compatible IMI-1000 interface (including a plug-and-play wiring loom) for your car, we will need to know what version of iDrive you have installed in your vehicle. Using the simple steps outlined in this article, you will be able to destrrmine your iDrive version.
There are three generations of iDrive system which are compatible with the IMI-1000 Retrofit CarPlay multimedia interface. These are the CCC, CiC and NBT iDrive systems. These systems are fitted to BMW vehicles manufactured between the years 2004 to the present day (2019). After 2016/2017 most BMW models migrated over to the “EVO” iDrive System. The EVO system does not require the IMI-1000 to activate CarPlay/Android Auto, Integrated Automotive can offer an alternative upgrade path which “activates” CarPlay/Android Auto for NBT-EVO equipped vehicles, contact us for more information regarding NBT-EVO Apple Carplay activation.
CCC, CiC and NBT iDrive Systems were not originally equipped with the electronics required run Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A software update alone is not enough to “enable” Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The IMI-1000 Retrofit Kit adds the necessary hardware to your vehicle in order to process information streamed to and from your phone. It will also interpret the CAN messages to and from the in-car iDrive user controls. Examples of such CAN messages are those sent from the rotary control on the central console as well as the steering wheel user controls. The messages are read, processed, interpreted and relayed in order to control the CarPlay/Android Auto interface.
Vehicles equipped with NBT-EVO iDrive will already have the necessary hardware to provide Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, these vehicles simply require “software activation” to enable Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. For clarification, NBT-EVO vehicles (mostly manufactured after 2017) do not require additional electronic hardware such as the IMI-1000.
CCC iDrive – Car Communication Computer
CCC iDrive was introduced to production vehicles during 2003 on the 5 Series E60/E61. It was then later rolled out to other BMW models up until 2009 with the X5 and X6. CCC iDrive benefited from two updates during its time on the market, in 2007 and 2008. Some BMW’s manufactured in 2009 were fitted with the new CiC controller (installed on the centre console) but still had the CCC head unit. These cars are essentially still CCC iDrive vehicles and were considered “Hybrid” CCC/CiC iDrive systems. The CCC iDrive system features an 8.8in 640×240 pixel display.
CCC iDrive Systems use a legacy LVDS transmission protocol which requires an 8 pin 8 wire connector between the CCC and the CiC. If you have a CCC system, your IMI-1000 will be configured to match the 8-wire LVDS connectors.
How do I know if I have CCC iDrive?
You will know if you have CCC iDrive by checking if you have one or more of the following;
1. 2x DVD/CD DRIVES : CCC iDrive Systems use a DVD drive to store/read the satellite navigation map data – You can tell if an iDrive System is a CCC System if there are two DVD slots on the main head unit.
2. Menu System design : The CCC menu system is distinct from other iDrive systems as it features a central “i” and 4 main menu items corresponding to the directional “left, right, up and down” movement of the rotary controller.
3. NAV Option – Check to see if you have;
CCC – option 609 (Navigation System Professional)
By entering your VIN on this website : https://decoder.bvzine.com
4. 8.8in TFT/LCD Display (measured diagonally)
5. Rotary Controller Type – You will have one of the three CCC iDrive rotary controllers shown below.
See below an example of the CCC iDrive System.
CiC iDrive – Car Information Computer
CiC iDrive – Car Information Computer
CiC iDrive was the next generation iDrive system after CCC. CiC iDrive was first introduced to the market during 2008 in the F01/F02 7 Series. CiC iDrive systems provide faster processing power and a more responsive graphical user interface in comparison to the CCC system. The controller on the central console had a complete redesign and featured 7 quick access menu buttons, taking you directly to various sub menus such as Nav, Tel etc.
CiC iDrive Systems feature a higher resolution display in comparison to CCC systems, moving from a 640×240 pixel display on the CCC iDrive to a 1280×480 pixel display on the CiC iDrive, this offers a sharper and more attractive look to the display.
The primary reason BMW upgraded to the 2-wire LVDS line was the increased resolution and performance achievable in comparison to the 8-wire LVDS protocol.
If your vehicle has a CiC iDrive system, we will configure your IMI-1000 Retrofit CarPlay/Android Auto Kit with a 2-wire LVDS wiring loom.
CiC iDrive Systems have an 80Gb 2.5in hard drive (HDD) which stores the maps for the BMW satellite navigation system. The HDD can also store 8Gb of music files which can be uploaded via a USB port. This makes upgrading of maps arguably a more complicated task.
After 2009 LCI, DVD playback was also available when in the park position. CiC Systems were phased out on various vehicles during 2012 for the NBT (Next Big Thing) iDrive System. CiC was eventually completely replaced by NBT over the following couple of years. By 2014, all BMW models were equipped with NBT iDrive in-car entertainment.
How do I know if I have CiC iDrive?
As CiC iDrive uses an internal 80Gb HDD, there is no requirement for a second CD/DVD drive. Thus, vehicles fitted with CiC iDrive only have one CD/DVD drive.
CiC iDrive will have:
CiC iDrive is distinguishable from other iDrive versions by the following characteristics;
1. Single CD/DVD Drive on Head Unit : As the CiC unit features an internal HDD drive, there is no requirement for an additional CD/DVD drive for map data.
2. User interface : The user interface is distinguishable from CCC and NBT interfaces as it features a noticeable red border around the selected menu option (see below)
3. NAV Option – Check to see if you have;
- iDrive Professional Navigation CIC – option 609A Navigation system Professional
- iDrive Business Navigation CIC MID – option 606A Navigation system Business
by entering your VIN on this website;
4. Rotary Controller Type – You will have the CiC iDrive rotary Controller, see below;
As can be seen in the image above, the 2011 BMW 1 series (F20) features a single CD/DVD slot and red border on all 4 sides when a menu item is selected.
NBT iDrive “Next Big Thing”
In 2012, the 3 series F3x models were updated to the NBT iDrive System.
*Note: It is worth mentioning that there were some “Hybrid” models that were equipped with the 2-wire higher resolution LVDS display yet they still used the CiC head unit. These systems can sometimes be confused with the standard CiC system, if you have a 2012 BMW you should be aware that you may not have a standard CiC or NBT System (if you are unsure which system you have, please contact us).
What we the benefits of NBT iDrive?
NBT iDrive – Next Big Thing
After CiC came NBT, NBT iDrive Systems benefit from faster processing, 3D maps and a more intuitive user interface in comparison to the previous CiC iDrive.
How do I know if I have NBT iDrive?
You will know if you have NBT iDrive by looking for one or more of the following characteristics;
- By inspection of the iDrive user interface – NBT iDrive features a distinct user interface which consists of a lined border at the top and bottom of each menu item (when selected) as well as a red gradient background, see below;
- BMW “Connected Drive” in the menu
- Rotary Controller Type – You will have the updated NBT iDrive controller type which has a larger knob than the CiC version, see below;
NBT iDrive Systems are configured with 6.5in, 8.8in and 10.25in displays, this means you cannot use display size as an indicator of having NBT iDrive. It is always best to use either the date of manufacture or the visual appearance of the user interface (or both) as your method of determining if you have NBT iDrive.
Do you have NBT or NBT-EVO iD4?
It can be difficult to tell if you have an NBT or an NBT-EVO iD4 system. The best way to tell if you have a late NBT or and NBT iD4 System is to look at the main menu graphics, see below the subtle differences of each version;
Starting in 2014 with the 2 series F23,l and over the following 24 months, around half of the BMW model range were upgraded to the NBT-EVO iDrive System. The 5 series, X1, X5 and X6 did not benefit from the NBT-EVO iDrive System until around 2016. The 6 series (G32) and X3 (G01) did not receive NBT-EVO until 2017.
NBT-EVO iDrive is available in 3 versions, iD4, iD5 and iD6. The easiest way of determining which version you have is by looking at the menu screen.