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Which head unit do I have: CIC, NBT, NBT Evo? Check the details.

BMW is constantly working on iDrive interface changes, as well as introducing newer, more advanced hardware and faster processors to support new features. The iDrive system (or the head unit, which is its main element) in each BMW defines not only the availability or absence of these very features, but also its price. And sometimes the financial difference is so drastic that you make an immediate decision – a 200 GB hard drive or full screen zoom for video playback may not be an absolute necessity for you.

However, there are some key distinctions between the iDrive versions that will really make a difference for a driver who likes to stream music from various devices, play films on the BMW display or use their favorite smartphone apps through the car’s system. And if something’s missing in your existing system, you’re not stuck with it.

Do I Have CIC, NBT or NBT Evo? Navigation System Professional

Fortunately, there are aftermarket solutions like BimmerTech’s navigation retrofits that allow you to upgrade the iDrive for a reasonable price. But to know how to retrofit it and what you will get with the new system, first you need to find out what you have and what features are available in your existing iDrive. So, how do you check the iDrive version in your BMW?

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PLEASE NOTE that this is a guide for BMWs with Navigation System Professional (S609A). In order to check whether your car has it, go to free VIN decoder and type in your VIN. If you have option S609A, you will see it in Vehicle Options. In case there are options like S6UNA, S6UPA or S606A, it means you have a lighter version of pro nav. You can read about it in our blog post on basic BMW navigation systems.

Which iDrive do I have?

So, there are 3 ways to determine which iDrive system you have:

1. By the year of production

Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to determine your iDrive version with 100% accuracy, because in some countries the production month can be different. But at least you’ll have some understanding which head unit can be in your BMW.

iDrive
Series/Model
Timeframes

CCC

(Car Communication Computer)

1-Series E81/E82/E87/E88
06/2004 – 09/2008

3-Series E90/E91/E92/E93
03/2005 – 09/2008

5-Series E60/E61
12/2003 – 11/2008

6-Series E63/E64
12/2003 – 11/2008

X5 Series E70
03/2007 – 10/2009

X6 E72
05/2008 – 10/2009

CIC

(Car Information Computer)

1-Series E81/E82/E87/E88
09/2008 – 03/2014

1-Series F20/F21
09/2011 – 03/2013

3-Series E90/E91/E92/E93
09/2008 – 10/2013

3-Series F30/F31/F34/F80
02/2012 – 11/2012

5-Series E60/E61
11/2008 – 05/2010

5-Series F07
10/2009 – 07/2012

5-Series F10
03/2010 – 09/2012

5-Series F11
09/2010 – 09/2012

6-Series E63/E64
11/2008 – 07/2010

6-Series F06
03/2012 – 03/2013

6-Series F12/F13
12/2010 – 03/2013

7-Series F01/F02/F03
11/2008 – 07/2013

7-Series F04
11/2008 – 06/2015

X1 E84
10/2009 – 06/2015

X3 F25
10/2010 – 04/2013

X5 E70
10/2009 – 06/2013

X6 E71
10/2009 – 08/2014

Z4 E89
04/2009 – present

NBT

(CIC-HIGH, also called the Next Big Thing – NBT)

1-Series F20/F21
03/2013 – 03/2015

2-Series F22
11/2013 – 03/2015

3-Series F30/F31
11/2012 – 07/2015

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3-Series F34
03/2013 – 07/2015

3-Series F80
03/2014 – 07/2015

4-Series F32
07/2013 – 07/2015

4-Series F33
11/2013 – 07/2015

4-Series F36
03/2014 – 07/2015

5-Series F07
07/2012 – present

5-Series F10/F11/F18
09/2012 – present

6-Series F06/F12/F13
03/2013 – present

7-Series F01/F02/F03
07/2012 – 06/2015

X3 F25
04/2013 – 03/2016

X4 F26
04/2014 – 03/2016

X5 F15
08/2014 – 07/2016

X5 F85
12/2014 – 07/2016

X6 F16
08/2014 – 07/2016

X6 F86
12/2014 – 07/2016

i3
09/2013 – present

i8
04/2014 – present

NBT Evo

(the Next Big Thing Evolution) ID4

1-Series F20/F21
03/2015 – 06/2016

2-Series F22
03/2015 – 06/2016

2-Series F23
11/2014 – 06/2016

3-Series F30/F31/F34/F80
07/2015 – 06/2016

4-Series F32/F33/F36
07/2015 – 06/2016

6-Series F06/F12/F13
03/2013 – 06/2016

7-Series G11/G12/G13
07/2015 – 06/2016

X3 F25
03/2016 – 06/2016

X4 F26
03/2016 – 06/2016

NBT Evo

(the Next Big Thing Evolution) ID5/ID6

1-Series F20/F21
07/2016 – present

2-Series F22
07/2016 – present

3-Series F30/F31/F34/F80
07/2016 – present

4-Series F32/F33/F36
07/2016 – present

5-Series G30/G31/G38
10/2016 – present

6-Series F06/F12/F13
07/2016 – present

6-Series G32
07/2017 – present

7-Series G11/G12/G13
07/2016 – present

X3 F25
07/2016 – present

X3 G01
11/2017 – present

X4 F26
07/2016 – present

X5 F15/F85
07/2016 – present

X6 F16/F86
07/2016 – present

MGU

(Media Graphic Unit)

3-Series G20
09/2018 – present

8-Series G14/G15
09/2018 – present

X5 G05
09/2018 – present

Z4 G29
09/2018 – present

2. By the interface

The majority of iDrive systems have specific interfaces, so it’s also worth checking out the look of the menu in comparison with other head units to identify the iDrive version.

CCC

BMW CCC

CIC

BMW CIC

NBT / NBT Evo ID 4

BMW NBT, NBT Evo ID4

NBT Evo ID5

BMW NBT Evo ID5

NBT Evo ID6

BMW NBT Evo ID6

MGU ID7

BMW MGU ID7

3. From BimmerTech

Click the banner below, leave your name, email, VIN, and we will send you your car’s specifications including the head unit, i-Level (software version), etc.

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BMW Navigation Update

If you want to replace your current iDrive system with a new one, it will certainly be a hardware upgrade. It’s important not to mix it with the BMW software update which doesn’t require any part replacement, only coding. In case you’d like to know more about it, read our blog post about the BMW iDrive update of your software version.

So, jumping from NBT to NBT Evo with the help of a BMW update is not possible because the underlying hardware is completely different. Also, the kit contents and price will depend on your existing car’s configurations – it may happen that you only need to install a new screen & head unit leaving your native controller and trim. However, in some cases, the iDrive upgrade may require all of the above mentioned together with additional cables, connectors and modules. For some cars the list of iDrive auto parts might be pretty long and installation – quite expensive.

BMW CCC to CIC

HARDWARE UPGRADE (new screen, head unit, iDrive controller, trim). Swapping the CCC iDrive for a BMW CIC retrofit, you will get a higher resolution screen with a much more extensive menu with many options, as you can see from the difference between the pics above.

What does CIC stand for? CIC is short for Car Information Computer featuring a more advanced infotainment system than CCC (redesigned controller, enhanced menu navigation, bigger screen dimension, etc.)

CIC head unit is also the first in line to give you the opportunity of adding an aftermarket CarPlay from BimmerTech. As CarPlay MMI Prime compatibility list grew in 2020, currently you can install our CarPlay retrofit in cars manufactured since 2008, including E-series, F-series (only 5 / 6 / 7 and X3 Series) and G-series vehicles.

BMW CIC vs NBT

HARDWARE UPGRADE (new screen, head unit, iDrive controller, trim). Though the interface will look similar, you will get much better graphics and higher image contrast. The BMW NBT retrofit has a more power-packed processor together with a 200GB hard drive (instead of 80GB available in CIC), so the response and boot times will be much faster. Find out more about BMW CIC iDrive and how to retrofit it.

How to Retrofit NBT Evo into Your BMW?

BMW NBT to NBT Evo ID4

NBT Evo ID4 are no different on the surface – the same interface and functionality. But the NBT Evo ID4 hardware is more advanced and versatile. Imagine having an older laptop running Windows 10. It works fine for you (though it might be a little sluggish), until you decide to buy a newer-generation laptop with the latest hardware. You’re still running Windows 10, so there is no difference in the look, but the snappier processor and improved hardware gives you a better user experience. It’s the same situation with NBT and NBT Evo retrofit.

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BMW NBT to NBT Evo ID5/ID6

HARDWARE UPGRADE (new screen, head unit, iDrive touch controller, trim). The change in interface and functionality is drastic. Roughly speaking, the NBT Evo ID5/ID6 iDrive includes almost all the features of the previous head units, while adding new functionalities like original CarPlay/Android Screen Mirroring.

How to update BMW NBT Evo ID5 to ID6? You can easily switch between NBT Evo ID5 & ID6 interfaces with the help of painless USB coding.

BMW NBT Evo ID4 to ID5

HARDWARE UPGRADE (new screen (in some cars it doesn’t need to be replaced), head unit, iDrive regular or touch controller, trim). Of course, it’s much easier to upgrade from NBT Evo ID4 to ID5 than from NBT, but it’s still a hardware swap.

It’s also possible to jump from CIC to NBT Evo ID5/ID6 right away, but it will be a complicated and expensive retrofit. So, it’s better to make up your mind which features are important for you and whether you need the additional perks of the latest generation iDrive systems.

What Is the Latest BMW iDrive / Head Unit Version?

With the 2018 X5 G05 and 8-Series G15, BMW presented its new head unit — MGU (Media Graphic Unit), changing also the equipment version from Navigation System Professional (S609A) to BMW Live Cockpit Professional (S6U3A), making it a major BMW navigation update 2020.

The display and menu were adapted to the new system implementing a new iDrive interface (ID7). It consists of 5 widgets arranged on the left side of the screen (Media, Communication, Navigation, Car & Apps). The interface is designed mostly for touch and gesture operation.

the latest BMW Head Unit version

The ID7 features a screen of 10.25″ or 12.3″ diagonal, depending on the vehicle, and a redesigned iDrive Touch Controller.

How to Remove BMW Head Unit?

Be it a CIC or NBT head unit, in order to take it out you would need to:

  • disconnect the negative battery

    terminal in your trunk

  • remove the top and bottom pieces of the trim taking into account all the connections behind them (it’s always better to use professional trim tools not to break any clips or leave scratches)

  • remove the faceplate (secured by screws)

  • unscrew the T20s that hold the head unit and gently pull it out

  • carefully remove all the connections in the back of the head unit

What’s the Difference?

Now it’s time to determine why one head unit is better than the other and whether it’s worth upgrading. Use free VIN decoder to check whether your BMW already has the options mentioned below.

 
CCC
CIC
NBT / NBT Evo ID4
NBT Evo

Bluetooth
• with option S644A or S633A/S639A hands-free calling
• with option S644A or S633A/S639A hands-free calling
• with S6VCA +Enhanced Bluetooth activated = pairing up 2 phones
• hands-free calling
• with Enhanced Bluetooth activated = pairing up 2 phones
• hands-free calling
• with Enhanced Bluetooth activated = pairing up 2 phones

Music

• plays MP3 from CD/DVD discs

• with option S6FLA, plays mp3 files from a USB stick

• allows listening to music through an AUX port

• plays MP3/FLAC from CD/DVD discs


• allows playing music copied from a USB stick to a hard drive

• with option S6FLA plays mp3 files from a USB stick

• with options S6FLA + S6VCA, plays music from a phone via a USB port and Bluetooth streaming (you can’t choose the song, only the previous or next one)

• allows listening to music through an AUX port

• plays MP3/FLAC from CD/DVD discs

• with option S6FLA plays mp3 files from a USB stick

• plays music from a phone via a USB port and Bluetooth streaming (if Enhanced Bluetooth is activated); you CAN choose the song

allows listening to music through an AUX port

• plays MP3/FLAC from CD/DVD discs

• with option S6FLA plays mp3 files from a USB stick

• plays music from a phone via a USB port and Bluetooth streaming (if Enhanced Bluetooth is activated); you CAN choose the song

• allows listening to music through an AUX port

• streams wirelessly from the phone through Apple CarPlay/Android Screen Mirroring if these options are activated

Video
plays only from an original BMW DVD changer (option S696A)

• plays DVD discs

• full screen zoom with black edges on the sides

• plays DVD discs

• plays videos from a USB stick with Enhanced Bluetooth activated

• full screen zoom with black edges on the sides

• plays DVD discs
• plays videos from a USB stick

• full screen zoom WITHOUT black edges on the sides

• streams wirelessly from the phone through Apple CarPlay/Android Screen Mirroring

Maps
no hard drive, so the maps are stored on a DVD disc, and every time you pull it out, there is no navigation

• cars with 2008/2009 software versions support updates only via DVD discs

• starting from 2009, updates available through a USB stick + DVD disc (maps are stored on hard drive)

• 3D maps
• updates available through a USB stick (maps are stored on hard drive)

• improved 3D maps
• updates available through a USB stick (maps are stored on hard drive)

• supports OTA – over the air map updates for free (not the whole map gets updated, only your location)

Apple CarPlay/Android Screen Mirroring
N/A
N/A*
N/A*
Available

BMW apps
N/A
Available only with option S6FLA + S6VCA
Available
Available

BMW iDrive controller
Wheel + MENU button
Wheel + extended set of buttons

• Wheel + extended set of buttons

• iDrive Touch Controller (from 03/2013 only in F-series) = bigger wheel with a touchpad + extended set of buttons

iDrive Touch Controller: wheel with a touchpad + extended set of buttons

∗ Apple CarPlay is available for some CIC/NBT/NBT Evo ID4 iDrives as an aftermarket retrofit from BimmerTech (CarPlay MMI Prime).

What are the main differences between CIC and NBT Evo

  • music streams wirelessly from the phone through Apple Carplay
  • plays videos from a USB stick with Enhanced Bluetooth activated
  • higher screen resolution and contrast
  • 3D maps available
  • iDrive Touch Controller

These are the main differences between head units in cars with BMW Navigation System Professional. Now you can sort out the features you would like to have in your BMW and choose the iDrive system that will be a real value for money upgrade.

Before ordering any navigation retrofit from BimmerTech, it’s always better to first contact us with your VIN. This way we will be able to tell you the exact price of the upgrade depending on your BMW’s specs.

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