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Old 01-09-2006, 11:05 AM
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BMW Navigation System FAQ

Contributed by: El Jeffe (aka UCrewX5)

Updated March 29, 2008

There are two basic software components to the BMW navigation system. One is the Operating System (OS) software and the other is the Map software from Navteq. The focus of this FAQ is on the OS software.

To determine which Nav OS software version you presently have, go into either “Set” or “Settings” from the main menu of your navigation screen. In the upper right hand corner you will see SW x-x/xx (see picture below).

  • The first number indicates which generation navigation system you have. 1 indicates MKI, 2 indicates MKII, 3 indicates MKIII, and 4 indicates MKIV.
  • The second number (which will most likely be 1) tells you that you have the full color “high level” nav screen.
  • The third numbers tells you the software version. For example, the version 18 disk will take a MKIII system to version 4.0 and show 1/40.
The following table will tell you the version number of the OS that you are currently at:

Navigation Distribution Disk
V141-1/69 (7.7)2-1/30 Released 12/1999
V151-1/72 (8.0)2-1/503-1/10 Released 6/2000
V161-1/72 (8.0)2-1/603-1/20 Released 8/2000
V16.21-1/72 (8.0)2-1/603-1/21 Released 12/2000
V171-1/72 (8.0)2-1/703-1/30 Released 4/2001
V17.11-1/72 (8.0)2-1/703-1/31 Released 8/2002
V181-1/72 (8.0)2-1/803-1/40 Released 9/2001
V18.21-1/72 (8.0)2-1/803-1/41 Released 11/2001
V191-1/72 (8.0)2-1/803-1/50 Released 3/2002
V201-1/72 (8.0)2-1/803-1/60 Released 9/2002
V20.11-1/72 (8.0)2-1/803-1/604-1/12Released 11/2002 - The MK4
units were shipped with 4-1/10 from the factory at the start (from 09/02
to 10/02) but this version had some known bugs and therefore BMW put the
text "T20.10" as a dealer reminder to upgrade with the V20.1 CD when
This 4-1/10 software for MK4 has never been released
on any CDs since it was a temporary beta software they had to rush out
since all cars from 09/02 would have the new DVD based MK4 unit.

The V20.1 CD will install 4-1/12 and remove the text
"T20.10" at the start up screen. The only software version that has this
text is the beta version of 4-1/10 that was used at the factory for a
short period while finishing the 4-1/12 that was released on the V20.1
V211-1/72 (8.0)2-1/813-1/614-1/12Released 2/2003
V21.11-1/72 (8.0)2-1/813-1/624-1/12Released 4/2003
V221-1/72 (8.0)2-1/813-1/634-1/20Released 8/2003
V22.11-1/72 (8.0)2-1/813-1/634-1/20Released 11/2003 - This
version didn't have any new updates for the MK1 MK2. MK3 and MK4 units
(only for NAVI01 units in the 7-series)
V231-1/72 (8.0)2-1/813-1/634-1/30Released 3/2004 - This
version only has changes that affect the MkIV unit.
V241-1/72 (8.0)2-1/813-1/634-1/40
7/2004 - New features:

- Stolen
vehicle tracking on vehicles from 09/2004 on

- E83,
E85: Displaying of MP3 info text

- "Route
Magnet" feature

V24.11-1/802-1/813-1/634-1/42Released 11/2004 - no new
V251-1/802-1/813-1/634-1/50Released 3/2005 - see V25 TSB for details
V261-1/802-1/813-1/634-1/60Released 9/2005 - see this X5world thread for details. V26 TSB
V26 with Perspective Mode

4-1/60Custom version. See this post
4-1/70Released 3/2006. See this post for details. V27 TSB
4-1/71Released 6/2006. See this post for details. V27.1 TSB
4-1/80Released 9/2006. See this post for details. V28 TSB
4-1/91Released 3/2007. See this post for details.
4-1/91Released 9/2007. See this post for details. V30 TSB
4-1/00Released 3/2008. See this post for details. V31 TSB

Note that the "V" numbers pertains to Distribution Disks which BMW issues - they do not refer to Software Versions. Each of these Distribution Disks contains the latest version of the software which BMW has produced for Mk I, Mk II, Mk III and Mk IV systems.

The Software Version for your Mk III on both V22 and V27 is 3-1/63 (this is what you will see if you go into the Setting screen on your SatNav), so it makes no difference whether you use the V22, V23, V24, V25, V26 or V27 Distribution Disk on a Mk III - you will end up with the exact same Software. BMW appears to have stopped development for the Mk III at 3-1/63.

Thus, the only nav drive that will benefit from a software release greater then V22 is the MkIV.
You can also visually determine what kind ofhardware your system has.

The following images depict what each generation of
the navigation computer looks like, along with the nuances associated with each:


  • The KeyCD does not apply to the MkII
  • Although they look alike, you can tell the MKI from the MKII by the voice driver. The MKI has a male voice and MKII has a female voice. On the back of the unit, if there are twoconnections that are blue and purple then the unit is a MkII. If the connections are brown and black then the unt is a MkI.
  • Separate GPS receiver module


  • The MKIII system is installed on all 3-Series produced after 6/2000 and all X5, 5 & 7-series produced after 9/2000 through the end of the 2002 model year.
  • The MKIII system is the only nav version that requires the KeyCD. If you are doing the upgrade on a MKIII that is on Version 15 through Version 17 you will be asked to insert a Key-CD after you complete the upgrade. If you do not have that disk you may be able to obtain a copy from the bmwnav group on Yahoo. MKIII systems that are already on Version 18 or newer will not need a KeyCD in order to upgrade to a newer OS version.
  • For the MKIII based systems, the biggest software change is going from Version 17 to Version 18 (or beyond). This adds the split-screen capability to your system. However, you do loose the OBC+Radio option. It comes down to personal preference, but in my opinion, the new features far outweigh loosing this. Click here for screen shots of the MkIII on a 4:3 screen with split screen working.
  • On the MKIII systems, if you do the upgrade and then install an older software version, the navigation system may reset out of USA mode and put you into UK mode. You will know this has happened if you are now receiving directions in yards instead of feet and the "Emergency" option has disappeared from your main menu. The advantage of this is that you no longer have the annoying "Accept" screen to hassle with every time you turn on the car. To fix this, the dealer can hook the car up to their computer and reset the navigation system to "USA".


  • The MKIV system system is installed on model year 2003 and beyond vehicles.

  • The MKIV is DVD-based and can use both CD and DVD navigation disks from Navteq
  • The MKIII systems can be upgraded to a MKIV - it is a simple plug-and-play swap.
  • On the MKIV systems, if you do the upgrade and then install an older software version (such as going from V23 down to V22.1 and then back to V23) , the navigation system may reset out of USA mode and put you into UK mode. You will know this has happened if you are now receiving directions in yards instead of feet and the "Emergency" option has disappeared from your main menu. The advantage of this is that you no longer have the annoying "Accept" screen to hassle with every time you turn on the car. To fix this, the dealer can hook the car up to their computer and reset the navigation system to "USA".

To upgrade your navigation software, follow these steps (see
for additional tips)
  1. Go to your vehicle and turn the ignition switch to the first position. Let the navigation system boot up and get into a normal operating mode.
  2. Leaving the system on (never turn the power off during these steps!!), go back and eject the navigation CD from your drive unit.
  3. Put in the V "XX" disk into your drive unit. Watch your screen and be patient. It will take about 6 minutes to do the upgrade. When it’s done it will eject the CD automatically. (note: for MKIII systems that are on version 17 or lower, the system may ask you to insert the Key CD. If so, insert the KeyCD and then follow the on-screen instructions. THIS ONLY APPLIES TO THE MKIII)
  4. Put your navigation CD back in the drive and make sure everything is working properly.

Benefits owners have seen from Version 22:
  • The brightness is much better, and you can see the NAV display with polarized sunglasses.
  • The white lines mapping your route to a destination disappear immediately when you turn off guidance.
  • The white lines mapping your route to a destination disappear after you reach your destination.

Benefits owners have seen from Version 23:
  • while V22 would show many streets with a route number (like SR581, A21,
    M10, etc.), after V23 is loaded on a MKIV system the display shows the actual
    "common" street names (like Bruce Downs Blvd, Fort Street, Southfield Road,
    etc.). It has not been confirmed if this also works with the MkIII systems.
Benefits owners have seen from Version 24
  • Route Magnet (only on MkIV's in Euro mode or in USA mode with Accept
    Screen eliminated)
Benefits owners have seen from Version 24.1
  • TBD
Benefits owners have seen from Version 25
  • Route preferences selection "via Freeway" and "avoid Freeway" is changed to "via Highway" and "avoid Highway"
  • One user also noticed a language preference change. Instead of English, German & French it is now English, German & Italian
Benefits owners have seen from Version 26:
  • The actual location is shown as an arrow in a circle.
  • The destination is marked with a checkered flag.
  • Voice guidance has more words and provides clearer directions.
  • Now you can avoid a trouble spot on your route to a destination.
  • Main roads are now shown at all times for enhanced visibility at a glance.
  • Some graphics changed to enhance visibility at a glance… including icons.
  • Map positioning in “Travel Direction” can now be selected in scales up to 100 miles
  • Disable point of interest icons is now selectable as on or off
Benefits owners have seen from Version 27:
  • Perspective Mode for MkIV nav drives
  • Disclaimer screen disappears automatically after 8 second
  • City/Town names displayed in the map
  • Destination input when Country (UNITED STATES or CANADA) is selected via:
    • ZIP code
    • City name
  • Destination input when an US State or a Canadian Province is selected via:
    • Street name
    • City name
    • ZIP code
  • Note: Only in conjunction with NAVTEQ DVD road Map 2006-2:
    • POI (Point of Interest) icons and "City Center" icons are displayed together
    • Travel Information (TMC) is no longer displayed (is inactive and not selectable)
    • Entries in "Address Book/Last Destination" displayed as:
      • City name, Street name (Destination entry via City name)
      • ZIP code, City name, Street name (Destination entry via ZIP code)
Operating System updates can be downloaded from this link

To burn a Nav disk using a Mac computer, see this thread

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