When you're a mod addict, you'll eventually run out of money or things to do to the i3. I toyed around in my mind of the idea of upgrading the sound system, but I'm not much of an audiophile nor am I technical enough to go through it on my own. But then I discovered Bavsound. The website looked all fancy and I thought for sure I couldn't afford it. Before I stepped away from the website, I hesitantly took a peek anyway and found it was very reasonably priced! The price tag was very attractive. Very fair price of $150 as of the time of this review.
It's nice when companies take the effort to package their stuff nicely. Makes you feel a little honored to have possession of it:
It's a direct replacement. 2 speakers for 2. You're not adding new speakers and there's no new amplifier so set your expectations accordingly, but that's not to say that the change will be minimal. I was surprised at the impact actually. Improvement in base is fairly drastic. I would never go back to stock.
So with the price tag taken care of, next was the know-how on how to swap out the speakers myself. Bavsound claims it's a true DIY replacement specific to the i3. I had my doubts, but was sold when I saw the 30 minute video on youtube of Bavsound installing the exact same system on the exact same car. It wasn't a generic video of installing their product on an entirely different car. It was done on the i3! Every detail outlined.
I installed the system back in October but waited until a few thousand miles of sound to really let things settle before I wrote this review. When I heard from Bavsound that the sound system needs to settle in, I honestly thought it was sort of BS. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed when I first turned on the music immediately after the installation. I figured any change was more in my head than actualy changes. But after maybe 1,500 miles, the difference is actually a lot more pronounced than when I first installed it. It's the base sound that's particularly noticeable in a big way. If you're like me and you listen to trans, house, party/electronic music, you'll notice for sure afer the system settles in. At the same time, it's not muffled on talk shows or pod casts. I listen to about 50/50 between music and podcasts on my 1 long commute to work daily. I repeat that on the way back so I've had a lot of time on the road behind the wheel.
It took me about 45-60 minutes to install the first speaker on the driver's b/c I was rewatching the installation video a few times and had trouble snapping the door off. Once I figured it out on one door, the next one literally took only 15 minutes.
Don't forget to align the push-button lock rod thingy on your door with the hole in the door. I accidentally forgot on the passenger door and had to take it apart and put it back together. I did it faster than it took my kids to pee. Dropped them off in the garage and by the time they came back out, I was done. It was quick once you know how to do it.
Before you start, get your tools together. These plastic wedge tools can be had from Harbor Freight or Aliexpress for cheap. I believe Bavsound sells an installation kit as well.
New speaker in the foreground and the stock paper one in the back:
Let's see the space you're working with in context:
You'll need a tool to access the little circular cover plate that covers the screw which attaches your door in place. Snap that off but be careful not to lose it. Just put in the BAVSOUND box and you'll be well organized:
Wedge your plastic tool in here and pop off the three tabs:
The piece that comes off is shaped like this:
Once that cover is removed, you'll have access to these two allen screws:
There are two pry points that took some trial and error. This wasn't really shown in Bavsound's video, so pay attention here:
Second pry point here:
Don't get scared, the door cracks open and it's really not a big deal. Take plenty of pics in case you get worried you can't put it back together. You'll have that for record, me and Bavsound to help you out. You'll be fine. Remember, I'm not really used to doing this either. I did it once before but I'm really not a sound guy. Wires scare me too.
Next, you'll pull the door panel off. Before you do that, just make sure you're aware of it as you take the door off:
Lift the interior door up and then out. It's basically resting on the bottom of rail:
Bavsounds says to remove the door completely, but I that's more for access. You can reach stuff just fine if you have spake to open the door wide enough to just lay the door panel flat like this. You can just rest it on the inside footwell. Put something else like a paint can underneath too if you want. I didn't.
Let's take a look at everything. Make note of the blue plug. That's the only thing you need to remove. Bavsound asks you to remove a bunch of stuff on the door but that's only to remove the entire door panel. Like I suggested, if you lay the door down on the footwell, you won't have to remove the panel entirely and therefore you can avoid unplugging stuff and having to remember where to plug them back in. We're going to work with only the speaker wire. This allows you to do just that. Minimizing the amount of stuff you unplug I feel is safer. Fewer things to remember and document for putting it back together.
Make note of what needs to be unplugged. You're removing the stock speaker to replace it with the new one.
This is a pic of the new speaker already in place, but this is just to show you the three screws used to secure your OEM speaker. Remove those and put it in your Bavsound box for safe keeping:
Once you pull the speaker out, you'll see how it's wired. Yes, you'll have to cut a small slit in your plastic to feed the car's speaker cable to the speaker. It doesn't quite go back in the way the new one came out. The wires feed in differently. Tough to explain, but Bavsound does a good job of it in their video. You'll need to cut a slit in your black plastic to feed wires through. Smaller than this.
Before you put the Bavsound speaker in place, be sure to use the foam rings they include in the kit:
It adheres with self adhesive:
Congrats! You're done! Put everything back together by doing the reverse of what's above.
The only thing you'll really need to worry about is the lock pin on the door. Make sure that's aligned with the hole in the door panel before you settle it in place and secure the allen scews back in. Remember that I forgot to do this the first time around and wasn't able to lock my door until I came back home after a joy ride and spent a full 5 minutes doing it. Save yourself 5 minutes and just get it right but aligning the door lock pin.
Reach out if you have issues. The guys at Bavsound have good correspondence too. If you can pick a weekday to do this, they're office will be open and you can call them in real time.