To clear up the confusion
To clear up all of the confusion floating around about the best BMW iPod integration kits...
The BMW OEM iPod integration kit runs for about $360 parts and labored to have installed. It requires renaming your first 6 playlists to BMW1, BMW2, etc etc.. It shows you the track number only on the factory radio. The sound quality is great, and the tracks can be changed from the factory radio and steering wheel.
This would be a great option if it was between this kit and an FM transmitter.
The 3rd party BMW iPod integration kits are far superior to the OEM iPod kit, the best one being the I-BMW-T by DICE eletronics for $159.99 at icarkits.com . DICE was formally associated with Dension (ice:link) but have branched off to focus mainly on the iPod integration products.
This kit offers the CD Quality sound, charging, and track controls that other direct connects do, but has a few features that separate it from the rest. The main feature being the text displayed on the factory radio. The BMW business radios, as well as the Nav radios are both capable of receiving and displaying ID3 tags from the iPod. This means that the track artist and title are displayed to the driver.
In addition, you can navigate all of your iPod from the factory radio and steering wheel controls, and are not limited to the first few playlists. Installation of this adapter is a snap because it connects at the CD changer plug usually located in the trunk (or rear) of the vehicle.
After trying both adapters I can say without a doubt that the DICE iPod adapter is much better than the BMW version. Unfortunately I will never be able to get my $90 BMW labor dollars back. On the back of the box my adapter came in it has almost all BMW vehicles from 1998 - 2005 listed as compatible. This would lead me to beleive that they all share a standard BMW CD changer cable in the rear.
I hope this is helpful to all those looking to hook up their iPods. I am happy to post pics if anyone is curious, I currently have the whole setup in the trunk for a stealth look.
This is a repost of what ibill32 wrote and the reason I am posting it is because I had the exact same experience and this thing is great I got it at icarkits.com relatively inexpensively too!!