Just the facts, Ma'am….
I'm new, so go easy on me. I'm not new to automotive forums, and so I actually realize there are some that will get exasperated with my post - so be it.
I have read through the 36 pages of this thread and, not feeling like I've gained a lot save for shared frustration, I think that the direct question, plus the addition of a curveball, may make my question post-worthy.
Some background first.
I recently recognized the need to buy a new/another car to use for work. Over the last 5 months since this realization, I've been doing my research and made the decision last Monday which car to buy. That Friday, I bought it.
To commemorate the noteworthy milestone that an additional to my fleet would represent, namely, having now owned one car for every year I've been alive, (37) I purchased a 08 535xi, in Platinum grey and black leather. It was delivered in excellent condition replete with the factory navigation system, 2 slots, but no changer or sat radio. As I listen to Pandora or music from my iPhone, neither seemed important.
(For those interested in the process, I did consider the new 5's, specifically the 550/535 GT xDrives, but my wife suggested that might be her next car, so I demurred…)
Moving on… as mentioned, i have the factory Nav. I have the factory bluetooth as well, which integrates with my phone effortlessly and is clear. I also have the usb and 3.5mm jack in the center console, which are nice but useless as neither my iPhone 4 or my iPod Video are recognized. They charge fine, but the car tells me they are incompatible. The iPod acts like it's connected to iTunes, so it can't be charged and used as a player at the same time. and the iphone charges, but the car says I'm SOL.
Despite having been on a number of forums besides this one to discover the answer to this oft asked question,Ii've yet to get a straight, definitive answer of how to appropriately pair my iphone 4 with my car.
I'd like to be able to leave the phone in the console or the glovebox, access the menus from the iDrive unit, and control tracks and playlists from my steering wheel. There is much allusion to this ability, and I've even attached videos of people doing it, but there still seems to be a great mystery on how it's actually been accomplished. Many times the solutions provided are specified, but either the links provided are dead or the unit can't be purchased, is discontinued, etc.
Closest I have to an answer is the 6FL cable from BMW ( which seems awfully simple for $350 and doesn't give a tremendous amount of detail), the Denison 500 unit (which Denison doesn't sell), and the Becker cable.
It seems to me that the easiest fix would be the CD changer emulator. I assume though that there is some programming involved - perhaps that's the reason for the $350 charge converter and audio/usb cable?
After all that, though here is the reality: Ideally, I'd like to play music through the bluetooth (A2DP), which was possible on the last Kia Sorrento I rented for work. In that case, iId quickly forego iDrive compatibility for the convenience of actually being able to use my phone wirelessly.
2008 535xi, 2010 ML350, 1990 RRC