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X5 E70 (2007 - 2013)
E70 BMW X5 produced between 2007 and 2013. Discuss the E70 X5 with other BMW owners here.

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Old 05-10-2013, 11:26 AM
mountainman3520 mountainman3520 is offline
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Location: Morgan Hill, CA
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 74
Mein Auto: BMW X5 xDrive35d 2012
First observation after looking at these docs for a few minutes . . .

The battery is in the back right next to the location of the stock amp and new subwoofer location!

I guess that may have been obvious to people who have owned BMWs for years, but my batteries have always been in the front engine compartment and this truck is so new I've not explored around much yet.

So the wiring will be very easy with a few short runs between rear compartments.

But I don't like cutting into the stock wire harnesses as suggested in the JL instructions. I'd much prefer a nicely manufactured harness plug-in that leaves the factory harnesses untouched.
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:33 PM
philooo philooo is offline
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Location: Ft-Lauderdale
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 313
Mein Auto: 2011 X5 5.0
here are a couple of E70 stereo audio upgrades I have found:
'11 X5 50i M-Sport
19" Black Saphire | Black | Alu | Lux Seat | Adaptive | Cold | Tech | Sound | Prem | Comf Acces | combox retrofit | Invisihitch oem harness
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Old 05-18-2013, 10:19 AM
mountainman3520 mountainman3520 is offline
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Location: Morgan Hill, CA
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 74
Mein Auto: BMW X5 xDrive35d 2012
Philooo, those are some nice upgrade ideas.
I read all the material you posted, which was GREAT, and inspected my 2012 X5 diesel in more detail. I bought this truck from the dealer slightly used, with 10k miles, so although the dealer said it was "fully loaded with all the options", I didn't get the typical new car feature window sticker and wasn't 100% sure what was actually installed. Including the audio.

It was clear from the docs you provided that I have the "Top-HiFi System" or "Professional HiFi System", including the satellite radio (Sirius XM). The key ways to tell which system is installed are the quantity of speakers, type of amp, and DSP processing included in the menus. The top system has 7.2 (front doors, rear doors, rear pillars, center dash, underseat subs). The regular hifi system includes 5.2 speakers, missing the rear pillars. I've read that there are more basic systems as well that have fewer speakers but I'm not sure how common they are. The second key difference is the amp since the top hifi system uses the fiber optic MOST to connect between the head unit in the dash and the top amp located in the rear left sidewall compartment. You can easily tell by opening that panel and inspecting the amp if it is the top amp pictured in the docs. A key difference is that there are fewer wires connecting to the top amp since it doesn't have the numerous analog inputs from the head unit. It has just the MOST fiber, power, and wire pairs going out to each of the 9 speaker groups. The third difference is that the top system includes a 7 band graphic eq in the tone menu, as well as an option to enable surround sound processing. These DSP functions are implemented in the top amp which includes DSP, digital to analog conversion, and amplification.

A side effect of having the upgraded top hifi system is that there are no pre-amplifier analog speaker interfaces to tap into because the digital to analog conversion and amplification occur together inside the top amp unit, hence the normal preamp analog outputs are inaccessible. So while its fairly easy to tap into the amplified analog outputs of the 9 speaker channels at the top amp connector, its not possible to get to preamp analog outputs. I guess this means like it or not, we are pretty much stuck with BMWs stock digital top hifi amp being in the system, without getting really invasive and replacing the head unit in the dash. It isn't realistic to connect anything else to the MOST fiber bus. So if an upgraded amp is desired, speaker level inputs must be used. This will probably bother people really into high end car audio since the quality of the top amps DACs is probably marginal and can't be taken out of the circuit.

I'd like to find a plug in wire harness breakout to avoid having to cut the factory harness, but not sure how realistic that is.

I think I'm going to start by replacing the 7 mid/high speaker pairs with the Bavarian Sound units, but leaving the existing underseat subs and digital top amp. I may also tap off the existing powered sub outputs to add a larger amp and sub in the rear floor area, maybe the JL Audio unit. I doubt I'll get so ambitious as to add upgraded amps on the 7 mid/high speaker pairs.

A few other observations about BMW, this being my first one, is that the design and workmanship quality is impressive. The way the wire harnesses are assembled, wrapped, organized, and strapped, is pretty darn nice. Obviously a lot of thought went into it all. Its more nice than on my previous Acura. Also everything is complex but cool, for example the approach to AM/FM antenna reception. There are multiple antennas sprinkled around and an amp/combiner unit to maximize quality of the received signal. Neat. It's all great, so long as the complexity doesn't lead to poor reliability. Time will tell!
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Old 05-18-2013, 03:56 PM
txagbmw txagbmw is offline
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Location: NFB
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 237
Mein Auto: na
i ended up taking a on the lot model that had every opt wanted and the color combo, just not the prem hifi. My 335 had the upgraded radio and just knew had to have it in the X5
After a week finding do not miss the 3's radio. Main difference to me seem to be the surround effect or as some have said the echo effect. Course the 3 was a smaller cabin so sure
that had an effect too. No Suv has sounded as good as a sedan to me. But the way listen to music, no need for the extra 950. Now sirius vs pandora. Still prefer sirius just
because its a simpler pkg. No pairing phones, get apps, wondering about data plans. Just turn it on and listen to the music.
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