FULL REVIEW: BMW Integrated Sirius XM Satellite Radio for the BMW E46 E85 E53 & E39 by delmarco

By diyauto
( 2 )

6 minute read

FULL REVIEW: BMW Integrated Sirius XM Satellite Radio for the BMW E46 E85 E53 & E39 

Compliments of delmarco @ www.bimmerfest.com


For those of you thinking of spending loads of money buying one of the remaining used OEM BMW E46/E39/E53/E85 Sirius Receiver Units of eBay or at the BMW Dealership where new Sirius XM Receiver Radio units have been re-released for the E46 E85 E53 and E39 as well as later years E38 cars.


-Fully Integrated with CD53
-18 Presets are available on the CD53
-Sound Quality and Clarity is Amazing. Better than you'd expect.
-Pretty fast in picking up channels and acquiring a signal-provided the antenna is mounted properly
-Reception is stellar even with a low budget aftermarket antenna
-Easy to set up in car
-The Sirius XM folks do not view these older BMW satellite receivers as "factory installed" or label them part of the "OEM car radio" so the limitations and rules DO NOT apply to these receivers that generally prohibits subscription transfers between factory installed Sirius radios in new cars. You are allowed to transfer subscriptions between these receivers.
-The Receiver will work seamlessly with USA-Spec, DICE, and other iPod Integration and Aux kits as well as any other TV or AV set up you may have.
-Most units can work with BOTH the Business/Professional Radios such as the CD53 and OEM Navigation. So with some receivers (only BMW P/N 84 11 0 153 365) you have the flexibility of upgrading to OEM Navigation and keeping your same Sirius Receiver in the car.
-Resale value at this time is out of this world. Expect to sell your used units for either what you paid for them or more when you are ready to sell them.
-At current BMW has re-released new Satellite Radio receivers BMW P/N 65 12 0 439 436 (formerly BMW P/N 65 12 0 416 377) for around $500-$600 so the prices have leveled out on older used units selling on eBay.

-Scroll features suck on the CD53 Business Radio and this for me is a deal breaker
-Channel Surfing using the Radio < and > buttons are really slow going between 100+ channels. Because of this Presets are a must and the Steering Wheel's << and >> keys use only preset selections when surfing so that is good.
-Older Sirius units may not get XM only packages and channels.
-Scarcity and absence of production have drove up the prices of used units until recently. I was ready to pay close to $500 for a receiver last Fall 2009 and most used 2nd/3rd gen receivers on eBay can bid all the way up to the $900s if they come with subscriptions.
-BMW has re-released new receiver units that can be retrofitted or installed on any car with the factory Pre-wiring for CD Changer. At $500+ these units are still expensive at the dealership compared to back in 2003 - 2005 when the dealership sold them for around $200 to $300.
-BMW either does not warranty or service the older units at all or you have limited service/warranties on them if you buy a CPO with an older receiver installed.

-Fakra Antennas that these receiver units utilize tend to be more expensive and rarer than the normal-connection Sirius antenna.


- Quick signaling. Picks up and keeps a good signal.
- Great sound quality with BM53
- Works seamlessly with other I.C.E and navigation features
- Lots of ways to search thru stations (steering wheel button, arrow buttons or selection knob)
- Allows for choice by CATEGORIES when it comes to organizing and selecting what you want to hear.
- Easy to understand and simple use
- Takes many positives from the CD53 Business Radio experience.

- Very poor use of the vast 16:9 screen real estate to display song information. It only uses half of the screen during song play and allows for 16 characters.
- The BMW E46 Sirius Receiver for Navigation Cars BMW P/N 84 11 0 153 365 and BMW P/N 65 12 0 416 377 are rather rare and expensive when you find them. It is not confirmed but the re-released P/N 65 12 0 439 436 may also work on navigation cars.
- Allows for ONLY 6 presets (the CD53 and other Business/Professional radios gives 18 presets)
- NO scrolling and text display is limited to 16 per line. Period. This is a big deal breaker but I can live with it.

Here is a visual of using SiriusXM on the BMW Business CD53 Alpine Radio (For the 5er and X5, X3, Z4 Professional Radios it will be the same):

Using a website  print out to channel surf :-(

Here is a visual of using SiriusXM on the OEM BMW Navigation 16:9 CD Alpine Monitor:

When I installed the Navigation Retrofit in the car I also decided on upgrading to the more powerful TERK antenna which I mounted OEM style onto the roof.

I previously stored the original smaller Fakra antenna under the trunk lid which was okay in terms of getting a signal but the opening and closing of the trunk lid eventually stressed the wire and snapped it. also moving the antenna around to the lid deck top scratched the paint. In retrospect this was not one of my better ideas.

This is how Sirius looks and works on a Mercedes Benz C300 2010 with the Media Package Display Screen and an iDrive-like controller wheel. I used this to compare the BMW Sirius to.