How To Change Your BMW E46 M3's Stock Head Unit To Apple CarPlay

Having spent the best part of a year with a dated, factory-fitted head unit (with broken right-hand side speakers), I decided to get in touch with Alpine UK to see if they could help me add a splash of Apple to my M3...

If you’ve been a CT lurker for the past year, you’ll know that I’m the extremely fortunate owner of a 2004 BMW E46 M3. And while I’ve now added to my garage with a tuned R35 Nissan GT-R (more on that very soon), I decided it was time to scrap the old head unit in the M3 and replace it with something a little more this decade.

I got on the phone to in-car media specialists Alpine UK, who had an ILX-700 Apple CarPlay unit in stock and offered to fit it for me. The resulting vlog shows Mitch (Alpine’s technician and audio guru) taking out the old nav unit and hard drives located in the boot, fixing my busted right-hand speakers and saving me some weight by installing the ILX unit and iPhone dock.

How To Change Your BMW E46 M3's Stock Head Unit To Apple CarPlay

The best part? Not only can I now listen to music on Spotify in my 12-year-old car, but there’s an ultra-cool Car Throttle logo that appears when I fire up that straight-six. So I can safely say that this E46 M3 is now truly one-of-a-kind…


iPhones actually really connect well to car head-units. I’ve had four smartphones, a Galaxy S3, Xperia Z1, iPhone 4 and iPhone 5s (which I’m using now) and the iPhones have tended to connect better both by Bluetooth and USB. I’ll probably go Android next time though, Apple prices have just gotten out of hand.

04/12/2016 - 14:48 |
4 | 2

Android users on the internet are like vegans. They always make sure you know about it and are aggressive defenders.

04/13/2016 - 00:36 |
6 | 0
Daniël Eijgelsheim

I swear to god all the right-hand side speakers break in E46’s, not that you would need any with that sweet inline 6 sound!

04/12/2016 - 14:45 |
2 | 0

Congrats Adnan!!! It is one of a kind technology wise…
Suspension wise however..

04/12/2016 - 14:46 |
0 | 0

Good to know!

04/12/2016 - 15:01 |
2 | 0
Sonia Rizzo 🚘

Android head-unit ;)… Full Android experience, internet connection, Bluetooth, Spotify, navi and other stuff AND I CAN HAVE THE CT APP ON IT… just sayin’…

04/12/2016 - 15:23 |
32 | 0

… How? Is easy to do?

04/12/2016 - 16:04 |
0 | 0

I need this for my car. I’ve had to dig out my old ipod because the stereo will only connect to an apple device.

04/12/2016 - 22:21 |
2 | 2

“…can I now listen to music on Spotify in my 12-year-old car…”
I got a €10 cable and now my 15 year old car can play spotify too :)

04/12/2016 - 15:24 |
14 | 2
Black Phillip

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

$20 FM transmitter and I could listen in my 39 year old truck.

But I eventually gave in and bought a $200 retro styled stereo that’ll connect Bluetooth

04/12/2016 - 22:26 |
0 | 0
John Cena (Szymek Smells)

Didn’t you do this ages ago?

04/12/2016 - 15:26 |
0 | 2
Fastlane Blocker

Who Needs a Sound System when s54 is playing his 6 trumpets full of eargasms…

04/12/2016 - 15:29 |
18 | 0
Jonathon North

Simple head unit upgrade is always one of the first mods I do, can’t been bluetooth, touchscreen and built in nav. Easy to do yourself too.

04/12/2016 - 15:41 |
2 | 0

amazing vid but CT’s video player should be a little faster , huge loading times

04/12/2016 - 17:09 |
10 | 2
Adnan Ebrahim

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks for the feedback Gabriel.

04/12/2016 - 17:17 |
6 | 0


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