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Apple CarPlay iOS 13 upgrade on a Kenwood DMX7017DABS

Apple CarPlay iOS 13 upgrade on a Kenwood DMX7017DABS

Here’s a video showing a quick flick through the redesigned Apple CarPlay launched as part of iOS 13, running on a Kenwood DMX7017DABS installed to replace the factory navigation in the (dreaded) grey Honda CR-V.

After fitting several double-DIN Alpine sat-nav units to my former Subaru Legacy and Outback daily drivers and the Porsche Cayenne S I ran for five years, I switched to Kenwood a couple of years ago, as it was the only manufacturer offering DAB radio with CarPlay. I liked the real-time traffic updates on Google maps and the routes always seemed better than the pricey double-DIN nav I paid a small fortune for.

To avoid expensive data bills, I had started switching in a Garmin widescreen satnav for longer drives, but that then gave me three devices on the dashboard. Switching to iPhone only for navigation was a relief, and, given the temptation to use the phone while driving, it was a double relief to be able to put the iPhone away in the glovebox and control most of what I needed from the head unit.

CarPlay Gen 1 still had some issues: the main one being it was not very pretty and the app integration was clunky. The update that came with the release of iOS 13 last month has given CarPlay a substantial boost via a much-improved UI and better app integration. Adding Siri control to third party apps is a welcome addition.

The Kenwood DMX7017DABS is a couple of years old now but the tech spec is still very useful and the latest iteration of CarPlay makes it a nice upgrade to the older double-DIN PCM units found in Porsche Boxster, 996, Gen 1 997 and all older Cayennes.

Although the DMX 7017 can also run Android Auto, I’ve not tried that as yet. I do have a backup Samsung Galaxy, but my main phone is a much-loved iPhone 8 Plus and that works a treat on this. I’ve just ordered a new Kenwood DMX8019DABS to check out a supposedly slightly better display and wireless CarPlay: I will share another video when that is installed.

Kenwood DMX7017DABS specification includes:

  • Double DIN
  • 7-inch VGA monitor with LED backlight – 800 v 480 1152000 pixels
  • 4 x 50w (max) nominal 4 x 22w
  • 3 RCA preouts all 4V
  • Volume offset control
  • Subwoofer crossover control
  • Variable colour button illumination
  • Remote control and steering wheel control compatible
  • Customisable splash screens and backgrounds
  • Bluetooth Built In (stream BT)
  • USB 2.0 high speed connection – 1.5A quick charge
  • DAB+ tuner built in
  • Display viewing angle adjust
  • High def Audio playback
  • Dashcam and reversing camera link
  • DSP – 13-band EQ – DTA built in
  • High resolution VGA display
  • FLAC files playable
  • Dual Zone control
  • CarPlay and Android Auto compatible

The latest CarPlay iteration has lifted the DMX7017DABS from a good upgrade for double-DIN factory head units into a very good upgrade. The unit has a good internal spec and the new CarPlay homescreen layout makes a smart addition to any dashboard. The apps briefly shared in this video include Overcast, Spotify, Waze and Google Maps and I also include some Siri voice command tests.


Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can:

Updated Blaupunkt Bremen SQR46 in development

Updated Blaupunkt Bremen SQR46 in development

Update 11/2/19: these units are now available to order. There are many happy new owners! Scroll to the end.

I spotted some teaser pics of the updated Blaupunkt Bremen from Evo-Sales in Hamburg on Instagram last week. Details and images are thin on the ground right now, but I thought it was worth a share all the same.

Finding a period radio for a classic car has become an expensive business in recent years, with original Blaupunkt head units particularly pricey to source. I had a nice Blaupunkt Toronto SQR46 on the shelf for my 1981 Porsche 924 Turbo, but it turned out to have no sound. I sold it on eBay and bought a fairly plain Sony unit with DAB and iPhone hookup instead.

I rarely if ever listen to music in the car these days, so what’s in the dash is not a big issue for me most of the time. When I do want to listen to something, my main priorities would be to have DAB radio for BBC 6Music and the ability to stream from the Worldwide FM app on my iPhone. Currently, I run a double-DIN Kenwood DMX-7017DABS with Apple Car Play in the CR-V to handle that or the factory Subaru (Kenwood) integrated audio in my BP5 Outback streams iPhone apps through a mini-jack hookup.

Both sound well through a custom amplifier/speaker setup, but neither is single DIN size or suitable for an old 944 or 911. The new Bremen seems to have my simple needs covered in single DIN size straight out of the box and with a retro look that will suit anyone running a late ’80s or ’90s Porsche.

Matthias Wagner at EVO-Sales tells me that there are no actual pics of the unit installed in a dashboard as yet, but the unit is so reminiscent of Blaupunkts of old that anyone my sort of age will have no problem imagining what it might look like in situ. The styling is super period and all used within the rights to Blaupunkt production, sales and marketing for car, marine and caravan applications held by Evo-Sales since February 2016.

To make it even more attractive for Porsche folks, the head unit is expected to retail at just €449/£400 when it launches later this year. This makes the updated Blaupunkt Bremen SQR46 a much nicer price than the Porsche Classic radio with sat nav, which current retails at £1,000 or so here in the UK. I prefer to use a separate GPS or Google Maps on my iPhone and that should be easily doable with this unit. All things considered, the Bremen is well placed to be a strong contender in the ‘classic retrofit’ market.

Specs are below: headline items include Bluetooth, DAB, USB in and 4 pre-outs with 4×50 native power for those who do not run external amplification.

• CODEM IV High-End Tuner
• Integrierter DAB/DAB+ Tuner
• DAB Band III/L-Band
• Service Link (DAB-DAB, DAB-FM, DAB-DAB-FM)
• Diensteauswahl nach Ensembles
• Travelstore
• Comfort Browsing

• Bluetooth 2.0 mit EDR für Freisprechen und Audiostreaming
• Profile: HFP, PBAP, A2DP, AVRCP, SPP
• Integriertes Mikrofon und Anschluss für externes Mikrofon

Media Player
• Wiedergabeformat: MP3, WMA
• Wählbare Anzeige Modi (ID3-Tags, Ordner, Datei)

• USB 2.0
• SDHC (bis zu 32 GB), SD, MMC

• Front USB (Standard A-Typ)
• SDHC/SD-Kartenslot
• Front Aux-In
• Eingang Steuerung-Lenkradfernbedienung

• Sound Presets (Rock, Pop, Klassik)
• X-Bass
• 3-Band-semi-parametrisch

• 4-Kanal Preamp-Out
• 4 x 50 Watt max. Leistung

Update February 2019: now available for pre-order

I received an email from Matthias at Blaupunkt advising me that these units were now available to pre-order. He has sent no other information other than this so do not shoot the messenger!

Dear Ferdinand,

The BREMEN SQR 46 DAB has passed the long-term test very well. The devices are now being produced and will be delivered in March / April 2019. If interested persons want to pre-reserve then here: best regards,

Matthias Wagner / Blaupunkt Car-MULTIMEDIA


Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can:

New Ruf CTR keeps cool with Classic Retrofit

New Ruf CTR keeps cool with Classic Retrofit

The latest Ruf CTR (AKA Yellowbird) was a guest participant on the recent Mille Miglia. Jonny Hart’s Electrocooler electric A/C system was tasked with keeping Alois Ruf and wife Estonia cool on the run down to Brescia for the start of the rally and over the three days of driving to Rome and back.

With almost five hundred cars on the start list and what often seems like the same number of corporate sponsors on board, the modern-day Mille Miglia is a bit of a glamour puss. But no doubt some of the drivers are there to give their cars a reasonable thrashing and Alois falls into that camp. The primary job of any Ruf creation is to take the experience of driving to another level, so the factory does not spare the testing miles. Mille Miglia might have been part marketing trip, but the lessons learned over several thousand kilometres behind the wheel will all be fed back to the Ruf engineers.

“I’ve returned to Germany for several technical liaisons since you and I first met the Ruf guys almost a year ago and it’s wonderful to work with such a professional engineering group,” Jonny Hart tells me. “The team responsible for this car know their stuff, so there would be no way to bluff my way through this opportunity.

“It goes without saying that Alois is a very cool guy, even without the help of our electric air conditioning. Hearing his appreciation for how well everything works when fitted to the car is such a huge buzz. He’s been great about keeping us informed on progress and recently gave me a call just to express his appreciation for our involvement and for delivering such a reliable product. What a class act! Few people of this stature would bother to make a call just to say thanks. It is a real dream come true to have our products fitted to this awesome machine.”

Ruf recently shared a “Making of the 2017 CTR” video on their Youtube channel and you can watch it below. The video predates the first fit of the Classic Retrofit air con and HVAC, so I love the air tube pointing at the windscreen in a 934 style. These guys are super laid back.

“One thing I really like about being part of this project is how up for it everyone is,” says Jonny. “No one batted an eyelid when we were working on some of the system integration in Pfaffenhausen and Alois suddenly arrived in the workshop. A customer had turned up unexpectedly and the boss politely asked if he could take the chap out for a drive, assuming it was not an interruption. Five minutes later, the panels had been refitted, tools were out and the CTR was ready to go: no tantrums, no egos and no complaining. Just calm professionalism and a very cool car.”

Main pic courtesy of Ruf Automobile on Facebook

Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can:

Electric Porsche 911 Air Con launch

Electric Porsche 911 Air Con launch

One of my favourite Porsche projects of the last few years has been working with my friend Jonny Hart on the brand development of his company, Classic Retrofit. Jonny and I became online friends soon after he joined our 1974-1989 Porsche 911 forum at and it has been fun to follow his electronics magic on parts for these classic 911s, including the all new Porsche 911 air con system.

The peak of achievement to date is Jonny’s electric air con kit for classic Porsche 911s. Branded ‘Electrocooler’, the full kit is about to be unleashed on the classic Porsche community in its first public showing at the LA Lit Show on March 4.

I shared some pics on Classic Retrofit’s social media pages last week and they went totally ballistic: a most rewarding return for all of Jonny’s hard work. I have just sent more details out and am sure that many of my Ferdinand friends will also be interested in knowing more, so I share them below.

Email Jonny at to discuss any of his products.

Classic Porsche 911 Electric Air Con: A/C Technical Layout

The compressor module (front centre in the picture) goes in the smuggler’s box on a LHD 911. On a RHD car, the compressor is mounted adjacent to the battery and fits with no modifications to battery or spare wheel arrangements.

The condenser goes under the front wing/fender, in place of the oversized windscreen washer reservoir on an impact-bumper car. The blower unit (top right) contains a modern fan and evaporator. All original non A/C vents now blow A/C air.

The occupants can also enjoy A/C air out of any vent in the car, including warm A/C air for rapid windscreen defogging. Our blower assembly brings recirculation capability to the 911s ventilation system and assists heated air flow for hot air without the need for footwell blowers.

Maintaining the standards of classic Porsche design, the original cabin slider ventilation controls are retained, for maximum discretion. A single pushbutton with indication is the only visible clue that Electrocooler is fitted.

Electrocooler Weight Savings and Performance Benefits

As shown in our photo, the complete kit weighs a shade over 16 kilograms (35 lbs). Combining the fitment of a smaller washer bottle and accounting for removal of the original fresh air blower, installing Classic Retrofit’s Electrocooler kit to a 911 originally supplied without factory air conditioning adds less than 7 kilograms (15 lbs) to overall weight.

For a car originally equipped with factory air conditioning, converting to the Classic Retrofit Electrocooler system results in an overall weight saving of circa 18 kilograms (40 lbs).

There is the added handling benefit of weight loss at the rear of the car by removing the substantial original air-con compressor from its elevated position in the engine bay, not to mention the increased fuel efficiency and engine power, once the crankshaft load inflicted by the archaic belt-driven compressor is removed.

KW Suspension Variant 1 on Porsche 964 Targa

KW Suspension Variant 1 on Porsche 964 Targa

Watched some Variant 1 KW Suspension going on a Grand Prix White Porsche 964 Targa earlier this week. It was interesting to follow the Porsche project as the rusty old factory dampers came off the 911, to be replaced by KW kit.

When it comes to upgraded Porsche suspension, KW kits are amongst the best available. The German brand with a penchant for finding fine detail on its ex-Formula 1 hydraulic test rig is a favourite of many winning race teams, particularly in the exhilarating VLN championship, so it’s no surprise that KW Suspension Variant 3 kits are common on Porsche cars used for fast road and track days.

KW suspension porsche 911 964 upgrade 2

The new three-way KW Clubsport adjustable coilover kits are one of my favourites amongst the firm’s 997 GT3 RS track day crowd, but the cheaper V1 and V3 kits are an affordable, quality upgrade for worn-out original suspension.

With prices starting at just over £1,000, the  KW Suspension Variant 1 coilover kit is hard to beat. The struts are made from stainless steel, with corrosion resistant springs and bump stops. They also come with the top mounts, which are usually ruined on old 911s. This saves a few quid.

KW suspension porsche 911 964 upgrade 2 (1)

Variant 1 is TUV-approved, so maximum lowering is restricted to no more than 70mm: not that you would want to go quite this low in a classic 911, assuming you were serious about driving. Experienced suspension tech Ricky (above with old and new) carefully set the ride heights before fitting the kit, but the rust-resisting trapezoid thread and composite collar will move freely at any stage in the future, so a new owner could easily raise or lower the car using the supplied KW toolkit.

KW Suspension says that each Porsche suspension kit has been specifically tuned for the car in damper setup and spring rate. The new dampers reduce body roll when the suspension is in compression and give much sharper handling than anything fitted to 911 road cars as standard.

KW suspension porsche 911 964 upgrade 1

It probably sounds like I have swallowed the KW blurb on this, but I’ve road tested quite a few KW cars and no  doubt they feel better to drive. One interesting comparison would be the Bilstein setup fitted to the 964RS I lived with for a few months. That was special, but there seems very little in it when the cars are on track.