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BMW i3 I01 (2014 - Current)
The BMW i3 and BMW i8 are the first two cars launch under BMW's new sub brand BMW i. The i3 is an all carbon fiber, all electric vehicle meant for urban mobility.

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  #1  
Old 05-21-2018, 06:20 PM
soheilk soheilk is offline
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Harman Kardon vs. base sound system

Looking into leasing a 2018 i3. My CA has found the exact build that we want from out of state but it doesn't have H/K sound package. So now we are debating between getting this now or custom ordering one which will take 2-3 months.

The closest dealer to us that has the base sound system is about 2 hours away so driving there just to listen to the sound seems a bit unreasonable but we might do it if necessary.

What do you guys think about the base sound system on i3? How terrible is it?
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  #2  
Old 05-21-2018, 08:30 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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It's a matter of perspective. What do you like to listen to? NPR and talk shows, or heavy rock or classical? The HK system has deeper base and probably cleaner highs, but at my age, I can't really hear those highs anymore! Is it worth an extra grand? The base system isn't 'bad', it's just not great (well, neither is the HK system, but it is better).
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:29 PM
soheilk soheilk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadnashuanh View Post
It's a matter of perspective. What do you like to listen to? NPR and talk shows, or heavy rock or classical? The HK system has deeper base and probably cleaner highs, but at my age, I can't really hear those highs anymore! Is it worth an extra grand? The base system isn't 'bad', it's just not great (well, neither is the HK system, but it is better).

This is gonna be my wife's car. She usually streams music through her phone (Pandora/Spotify, part of the reason we're getting the Apple CarPlay option) and also sometimes local FM radio stations. I realize that it's a car and not a listening studio and there's always going to be road noise and such! I guess it's just the marketing hype of "premium sound package" that makes us feel we're going to miss out something...


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Old 05-23-2018, 10:28 AM
Tirpitz Tirpitz is offline
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My two cents- it is a pretty big difference on the i3. The base system is two speakers in the front doors. It sounds very lightweight and thin. It is decidedly inferior to the base system on a 3 series.

The HK system adds front tweeters and a pair of speakers in the rear. The upgraded system still lacks deep bass but it makes music more engaging. It is inferior to the HK system in my 3GT though which has subwoofers.

Before we decided to buy one we had borrowed a 2014 i3 through Turo and it had the base audio. The owner said his one regret was that he didn't get HK. After driving it around for three days we insisted on getting a car with HK and as a result had to order one built and shipped from Germany.
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Old 05-25-2018, 11:16 AM
FederalSnowplow FederalSnowplow is offline
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The base system on my 2017 REx is the worst-sounding car stereo I can remember ever hearing and the only thing I really *hate* about my car.
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Old 05-30-2018, 01:38 PM
clutchy clutchy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tirpitz View Post
My two cents- it is a pretty big difference on the i3. The base system is two speakers in the front doors. It sounds very lightweight and thin. It is decidedly inferior to the base system on a 3 series.

The HK system adds front tweeters and a pair of speakers in the rear. The upgraded system still lacks deep bass but it makes music more engaging. It is inferior to the HK system in my 3GT though which has subwoofers.

Before we decided to buy one we had borrowed a 2014 i3 through Turo and it had the base audio. The owner said his one regret was that he didn't get HK. After driving it around for three days we insisted on getting a car with HK and as a result had to order one built and shipped from Germany.
don't forget the center channel in the front middle!

I have a logic 7 system in my 330i and I love it. I also like the HK system in my i3 but it's more musical and less base intensive. It's great.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:24 PM
soheilk soheilk is offline
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Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and recommendations. We ended up ordering an i3 with HK and all the options that we want


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Old 06-02-2018, 09:09 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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I've been in that field during my European delivery experience! Pretty spot. In a way, too bad you can't do it with the i3, but the limited range and the different charging plug would make that a less than stellar experience for most.
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:30 PM
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MMMGP MMMGP is offline
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Bumping an older thread with some additional information about the HK system found in the BMW i3.

From the HK website:

Quote:
The Harman Kardon premium surround-sound system for the BMW i3 is energy-efficient, yet it delivers a powerful sound. 12 high-performance speakers and a Class-D DSP amplifier with 360-watts of total output work their magic in an unconventional cabin. The car interior is the most important component of the audio system. The BMW i3 Life Drive architecture has no central tunnel, creating an incredibly spacious interior feel. The positioning and direction of each individual speaker were analyzed well in advance and optimized for this innovative interior design concept - for spatially accurate music playback. Ergonomic design and spacious sound. Clever details and sustainable materials for an inspiring musical experience. The result: 30% energy savings, 100% emotion.
Quote:
  • 5 x 26 mm metal-matrix dome tweeters in the dashboard, front, side and rear
  • 2 x 150 x 230 mm mid-bass woofers, front
  • 5 x 100 mm Alumaprene mid-range speakers in the front, side and rear
  • Harman Kardon DSP amplifier w/ Class-D technology with a total output of 360 watts
  • Center Channel: 2-way setup, 4" mid with a 1" tweeter mounted in the dash
  • Front Stage: 3-way set up, ported 6x9 sub in the kick panels, 4" mid in the door and 1" tweeter in the a-pillar
  • Rear Stage: 2-way setup, 4" mid with a 1" tweeter mounted in the rear doors
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Last edited by MMMGP; 10-20-2018 at 08:50 AM.
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  #10  
Old 01-19-2019, 09:04 PM
sipabit sipabit is offline
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I've never heard the HK sound system, but I can imagine it's tons better. Any improvement on a 2 speaker sounds system would be noticable. I'm not much of an audiofile myself and with one of the reasons for getting the i3 being good value and spending more on a Value Package model, I was fine with not having the HK sounds system. I would've wanted the drivers assist package if anything.

I do listen to Podcasts daily for hours on end as my commute is quite long, but I have no regrets for not getting the HK system. It's not available with the Value Package anyway I don't think. If the price isn't a huge difference and you think you might want it and it's available, by all means get it. The difference should be pretty substantial. You're talking about adding 10 more speakers than an i3 standard which only has 2.
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  #11  
Old 08-21-2019, 01:22 PM
KMB_CA KMB_CA is offline
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Apologies for resurrecting an old thread... New user here, looking to pick up a 2017 i3 REx by the end of the year.

I would LOVE to find one with the HK speaker package, but it's not super common. I wonder, has anyone here with the base speakers ever tried simply replacing them with something better? Both Polk and Infinity offer 4" speakers that I'd bet are at least better than the standard stock ones.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:53 AM
KMB_CA KMB_CA is offline
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Answering my own question after buying a 2017 i3 w/HK speakers yesterday, the HK speakers sound fantastic. Perfect? No. But probably the best factory provided sound system I've heard in a car since my Volvo C70's Alpine+DynAudio stock setup. If I can find a way to EQ the settings into slightly more fit form for my aging ears, I will have absolutely nothing to complain about.

In fairness, I've never heard the i3's base, non-HK speakers, so can't really compare.
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