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November 01, 2021 3 min read 13 Comments

BMW E46 Digital Instrument Cluster Concept - See more

Many of you were asking for an E46 digital cluster so we have started a new project with the 3 Series BMW from 1997 to 2006.

To start: We need a car.

The choice has fallen on this 323i E46 out of 2000 bought from a local dealer here in the Netherlands. Imported from Germany in 2006, with 7 previous owners and 287.254km / 178.491 miles. She isn't the cleanest E46 on the road. The small dents, scratches, and faded paint make her well used. But she is still running strong, perfect for measuring all the signals we need for the digital cluster.

ID4Motion E46 digital cluster test car


We were searching for a few key options. It had to be automatic, with curse control and infotainment that would be controlled by the steering wheel. This is possibly the most complex electronics configuration available in the E46, covering most of the essential signals.

 BMW E46 dashboard interior
E46 BMW 3 Series Instrument cluster

 

The fitment into the Dashboard.

We also have purchased a second dashboard and instrument cluster from a BMW scrap yard/wreckers. We use this to measure all the dimensions for a perfect integration and create an original-looking cluster. We are working together with  LM Creations, a small concept and design studio in Groningen (the Netherlands), to make a 3D scan of the Dashboard to get a correct fitment,

This 3D scanner has an accuracy of up to 0.02mm:

 

After the digitalization of the dashboard, we can reverse engineer the mounting brackets for the new LCD. In this case, we use the original mounting point for the BMW e46 cluster for the install. We can also develop a front cover to enclose the LCD screen and give it that factory feels with the digital model. A 3D printer is used to make a prototype to check the fitment into the dashboard.

Development BMW E46 digital cluster

 

Over the years, we have developed our hardware on a 10,3-inch or 12,3-inch automotive display. And looking at it, the 10,3-inch display will be the best fit for the E46. This is the same as all the other E Series BMW displays we make. (E81, E90, E60, E63, and more)

BMW E46 dashboard speedo fitment

 

 

The next step: Concept art

The next step is creating a concept of its design. Because we are working with a digital screen, we can design a wide range of layouts without any restraints. Critical is to include all the original indicators in the design and have room for multiple data fields to display the Board Computer information.

 
ID4Motion BMW E46 Concept Cluster 1ID4Motion BMW E46 Concept Cluster 1
Theme #1 (You’re looking at the concept art of what might become the default design for the following BMW E46 Digital Instrument Cluster)

This concept takes a minimalistic approach to Skeuomorphism. Skeuomorphism is an embellished UI design style intended to make elements resemble their real-world counterparts. Small details with shadows and highlights emphasize each of the individual indicators and contrast with the minimalistic color scheme and subtle gradients.
ID4Motion BMW E46 Concept Cluster 2ID4Motion BMW E46 Concept Cluster 2
Theme 2#.

Inspired by the original BMW E46 instrument cluster, The analog gauges with traditional pointers and tick-mark patterns are inspired by the original BMW E46 instrument cluster. The beautiful blue and red color scheme strongly represent the vehicle's brand value and recognition.
ID4Motion BMW E46 Concept Cluster 3ID4Motion BMW E46 Concept Cluster 3
Theme 3#
The cluster will have 3 different layouts/themes from the start, so you can switch as you like.

 

To get an idea of how the cluster would behave, we have made a simulation on the testbench:

 Up next:

  • The internal menu
  • The wiring and connectors
  • Getting the signals

See more about the BMW E46 Digital Gauge Cluster

Subscribe to the E46 Mailinglist


13 Responses

Omar Elkhazendar
Omar Elkhazendar

December 16, 2021

I will this work for the e39 5 series BMW

johnnie
johnnie

December 16, 2021

very nice job guys!!!i am interested to buy it,i have e46 coupe 2004 manual gerabox in greece! it will be amazing if this can connect with android headunit to show info like gps,music playing or phone calling….but with only this that you do its a fantastic job,more theme wiil apreciate!when you think you finish it?

Kristaps Kairis
Kristaps Kairis

December 16, 2021

Can’t wait for e46 cluster

Khalid Paden
Khalid Paden

December 16, 2021

I have your cluster for my E90 and boy are other BMW owners jealous. I just purchased a e46 330ci. So, I am looking forward to your new cluster. :D

Michael Riciputo
Michael Riciputo

December 16, 2021

Ottimo lavoro per bmw e46
Ma dovestre mettere i 2 quadranti come originale, uno switch se si passa in modalità Sport per cambio automatico

Jose Maria Lopez Marton
Jose Maria Lopez Marton

December 16, 2021

Hello from Spain. I love the three themes for the e46, I hope they can be applied to the rest of BMW models, I have had two e46s but now I have an E64 and let’s see if we dare to create tmas for the car. I really like changing the look of the screen.
Nice work with those skins for the e46.
All the best
Hola desde España. Me encantan los tres temas para el e46, espero se puedan aplicar al ressto de modelos BMW, Yo he tenido dos e46 pero ahora tengo un E64 y a ver si nos animamos qa crear tmas par el coche. Me gusta mucho cambiar el aspecto de la pantalla.
Buen trabajo con esos Skin para el e46.
Un saludo

Napas
Napas

December 16, 2021

Thank you for Starting the E46 Cluster Development :)
Fr sure you have a client here

BMW E46 320D diesel – Manual Gear

Napas
Napas

December 16, 2021

Thank you for Starting the E46 Cluster Development :)
Fr sure you have a client here

BMW E46 320D diesel – Manual Gear

LEONG HAW CHIN
LEONG HAW CHIN

December 16, 2021

Great work and can’t wait to get one for my E46.

Thando
Thando

December 16, 2021

I’d like to thank you for considering the e46 as some of us still love it. It would be great to have this South Africa as well

James Taylor
James Taylor

December 16, 2021

Hi,

I’ve been following your progress on the E46 gauge cluster with great interest, it’s coming along great from what I can see.

I have a 2005 E46 M3 CS and have a few questions:

1.) Being able to see oil temperature at a glance is important, to know when the engine can be pushed. The OEM M3 gauge cluster shows oil temp in place of the instant fuel economy gauge. Where do you plan to show oil temp?
2.) How do you plan to cater for the M3 specific moving redline indicators in the OEM gauge cluster, that show a changing rpm limit which increases as the engine warms up?
3.) The car you have bought has an aftermarket infotainment system. The OEM BM54 infotainment/ sat nav unit has functions within that output signals to the OEM gauge cluster, including distance to turn for the sat nav and a flashing warning if a speed limit set in the BM54 has been exceeded.
3.) The M3 CS and M3 CSL only have 1 button on the steering wheel for ‘M-Track’ mode (resulting in the relevant tell tale light in the dash). Thought I’d mentioned in-case there are implications for owners of these cars in terms of missing buttons for interacting with your gauge cluster.

Thanks,
James

Coco christian
Coco christian

December 16, 2021

Vous avez toute mon attention pour ce merveilleux projet ! Il n’y a que quelques paramètres à ne pas négliger tels que la température de l’huile moteur, et la température numérique précise du liquide de refroidissement et un turbo boost serait vraiment un gros plus qui ferait plus d’une fissure. Shiftlight + Max rmp + plus de vitesse engagée sont vraiment essentiels en mode course. Je pense que vous ferez de votre mieux pour faire de ce compteur une pièce unique.

Dan
Dan

December 16, 2021

Ooooh! This is exciting. I’m check in on this project regularly!

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