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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Mon, Dec-11-2017, 10:26:33 PM   #31
nholmes
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Default Re: OEM Radio Alternative

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Originally Posted by M_Parallel View Post
Strictly speaking, if you just want to ditch the cassette, read: want newer media options, you can also add an aftermarket interface to your OEM unit that utilizes the CDC connection.

You can have Aux/MP3/USB/Apple/BlueTooth connectivity and keep the stock look.

Problem with the E36 dash layout is that any aftermarket unit looks completely out of place. Some may kind of match the color, but that's it.
Funny you should say this, as I installed a media bridge in my car just last night so I can stream Spotify from my iPhone while driving to the track.



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Old Mon, Dec-11-2017, 10:30:30 PM   #32
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Default Re: OEM Radio Alternative

I have the original tape deck in my sedan, the coupe has an Alpine unit the previous owner installed in the dark ages before Bluetooth was common.

The original radio, the C33 tape deck one, can actually be modified for an Aux-In cable. I did this and it works surprisingly well! It's especially nice if, like me, you still buy CDs and don't want to give up your CD changer just to listen to streaming music occasionally. I understand the other OE radios that fit have somewhat better sound quality, so.....decide what's important to you. The OE stuff sounds good enough for me with the Bavsound speaker+sub upgrades.

Link to the modification thread: https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...-E36-head-unit
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Old Tue, Dec-12-2017, 02:59:17 PM   #33
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Default Re: OEM Radio Alternative

There's a new one coming out from Clarion that looks fairly plain and somewhat period correct. It's the Clarion m508.

Apparently it's a marine grade unit: https://www.waterskimag.com/clarion-m508 but I think would look correct for an e36
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Old Thu, Dec-14-2017, 04:09:24 AM   #34
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Default Re: OEM Radio Alternative



Looks great in Matt Farah’s 911!
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Old Thu, Dec-14-2017, 01:58:40 PM   #35
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Default Re: OEM Radio Alternative

Why can't anyone make a head unit in matte black? That Clarion is better than most, but still clearly aftermarket in the gloss.
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Old Thu, Dec-14-2017, 02:42:03 PM   #36
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Default Re: OEM Radio Alternative

I have a factory tape deck unit that someone on ebay pulled the tape deck out and replaced with a bluetooth unit. It works great but the buttons they used suck so I am going to take it apart soon and play with it.
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Old Thu, Dec-14-2017, 06:32:18 PM   #37
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Default Re: OEM Radio Alternative

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Originally Posted by Obioban View Post
Why can't anyone make a head unit in matte black? That Clarion is better than most, but still clearly aftermarket in the gloss.
Agreed. Additionally, no bezel (meaning radio face fills the gap) and no plug in ports on the front (why are we still making radios with wires hanging off the face ???)
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Old Fri, Dec-15-2017, 01:59:28 PM   #38
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Default Re: OEM Radio Alternative

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Originally Posted by Obioban View Post
Why can't anyone make a head unit in matte black? That Clarion is better than most, but still clearly aftermarket in the gloss.
If you can safely remove the plastic pieces, you can lightly bead blast them to a nice, EDM-like matte finish. Just note that you can't do this to any pieces with printed (other color) text on them as it will remove it.

The problem is that Piano Black (Highly polished mold surfaces) are the "trend" now and used everywhere. It is not so much the styling of geometry of the headunits, but the surface texturing on the plastics that makes them look modern and stick out.

A matte finish won't look near as deep black either and will blend better with the charcoalish/dark grey E36 interior vinyls and plastics. If you are willing and capable of this, it will greatly expand your HU options. The ones that match the look of E36 as is, generally don't bring many features to the table to make them worth the upgrade over a hidden/wired input type solution. The plastic pieces were apart at some point, so they technically are all removable unless (very unlikely for HUs) they were overmolded a steel piece.

Good before/after thread on the process and results.
https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums...clusion-2.html

Before:


After bead blast:

Last edited by wgknestrick; Fri, Dec-15-2017 at 02:02:39 PM.
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Old Fri, Dec-15-2017, 02:26:17 PM   #39
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Default Re: OEM Radio Alternative

I have this coming for my e46:



which looks, in renderings, pretty close to the stock e46 navigation, but with a ton of modern functionality (it runs android, and all apps that run on android-- E.g. Wave, YaV1, harry's GPS lap timer, etc)



I'm just hoping hoping hoping the interface and/or quality doesn't suck.

It should allow me to take ~40 lbs of weight out of the car. It makes redundant all of the modules in the trunk (amp, bluetooth, radio tuner, nav brain, etc), which also means I can remove the brackets that hold all those modules and the stereo harness (~11 lbs).

It does have a glossy screen, which I dislike, but I have a matte screen protector coming that I'm hoping will address it.

I really want this to not suck.

I wonder if they'd be interested in doing something similar for the e36. Clearly it couldn't copy the design of a stock head unit, but perhaps they could make something that would look natural and take both top slots, as well as a relocation bracket for the climate control to the lower slot.
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Discussing OEM Radio Alternative in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)