The Dension ICE-Link Plus Reviewed

The Dension Ice-Link Plus came out swinging with the promise of such features as iPod navigation from the head-unit and ID3 tags. While the device delivered on most of this, ID3 tags have remained missing from the Ice-Link Plus when used with the MINI’s head-unit. While Dension has since backed off the claim of ID3 tags for the MINI, I can’t help but go into the review thinking that Dension dropped the ball on the initial rollout phase of this product back in December. Just a quick look at the comment section of our previous Ice-Link Plus stories and you’ll see the kind of frustration many had to deal with. While it seems most of the pesky software issues have now been fixed, there’s still some lingering questions from many about the Ice-Link Plus. With that in mind, I figured it was time to throw our hat in the ring and officially review the Ice-Link Plus, from installation to final use.

On paper the Ice-Link Plus looks to be the ultimate iPod integration for the MINI. The “Plus” not only has all of the functionality inherent in the iPod (being able to choose any playlist, album, artist, etc. directly from the iPod’s interface) but now also takes on the functionality that the official MINI iPod adapter – and even a little more. Dual mode operation (as Dension calls it) means that you can use your radio or iPod user interface to navigate through playlists, albums and songs. It also means that you can use your headunit’s first five radio preset buttons as shortcuts to the first five playlists on your iPod.


The last feature is especially important in helping drivers keep their eyes on the road as opposed to their iPods. Essentially, this gives users the best of both worlds and effectively one-ups the official adapter in the process.

Being very familiar with the first generation Ice-Link adapter and its installation, getting the Ice-Link Plus operational was fairly straightforward. I won’t repeat the install process here, but needless to say there really weren’t any surprises.

That said, there were some surprises after the install. Once everything was up and working, I put the Plus to work with the help of the latest Beck. It didn’t take more than a couple seconds to notice that there was some very obvious distortion in some ranges of the music. Knowing that I had the very first firmware on my Ice-Link Plus, I figured the solution was fairly obvious: time to update the firmware. This was confirmed with a quick call to Dension support.


However, after many attempts at updating my Ice-Link and several calls to support (all very helpful), it became obvious that it just wasn’t going to happen with the unit I had. So after another call the Dension support, I had a new Ice-Link Plus with the most current firmware (2.05) on the way.

After a few days wait and a five minute install/switch, I was finally able to enjoy Beck in all his sonic glory. The distortion was gone and the Plus has since performed flawlessly.

Instead of going for the ever popular cradle, I ordered the standard cord connector. I decided for the most part that I wanted to replicate the Official MINI Adapter in operation and functionality. Thus, I installed the Plus with the wire coming out from under the toggles. That allows me to simply put my iPod in the storage tray (standard on ’05 MINIs) and navigate via the head-unit or multi-function steering wheel. Installing it out of sight and navigating via the MINI’s radio interface is by far the safest way to go about using the Ice-Link while driving.


However, for those that do use the cradle and navigate via the iPod interface itself, there are a couple of downsides to Dension’s interface design. First off, Dension replaces the iPod’s standard Chicago typeface with something that is less much less readable. Further, the Ice-Link’s display on the iPod doesn’t actually make use of the entire screen but a smaller portion of it. Hopefully this is an oversight that can be fixed with future firmware updates. That said, it’s not exactly stellar interface design and not an issue you want to have with something that you’re going to potentially use while driving.

Another issue that is more obvious when navigating via the iPod is the lag-time while trying to navigate the Ice-Link interface. I asked Dension about this issue and was told it’s inherent in the connection between the iPod and the head-unit. While that may be true with this new system, I can say that the lag-time wasn’t present with the older, much simpler original Ice-Link (Reviewed here). It would seem that it’s a necessary trade-off with the new functionality built into the Plus.

One area the new Plus differs from the original ICE-Link is that it doesn’t light-up the iPod’s display when you start navigating via the head-unit. Perhaps Dension decided this wasn’t needed since many cars support ID3 tags on the head-unit and one wouldn’t need to look at the iPods display for information. However, since that feature has yet to be added to the non-Nav equipped MINIs (and may never be on pre- ’05 models), not being able to see the iPod’s display is definitely a drawback if you plan on using the cradle.

While the early software issues that plagued the Plus have long since been rectified, I can’t help but feel Dension hurt their credibility by releasing a product that probably wasn’t fully ready for the public. Due to this, I know there are some in the MINI community with mixed feelings about Dension and the ICE-Link. Yet, in the end I think the ICE-Link Plus succeeds as being the best iPod integration solution presently available. It gives you the freedom to use it as an extension of the head unit as well as using the iPod’s interface on its own. After a few short weeks of using it, I can’t imagine having a MINI without it.

Rating: 4.0 (out of five)

The Ice-Link Plus retails for around $200. You can read further specifications and find retail location at

A word on the early software issues with the product and the final MotoringFile score in this review: I had originally gone into this review thinking that the early software issues would have to be factored into the final conclusion in some way. Having experienced them first-hand, I know how frustrating they were to deal with. However, after a couple of weeks of living with the ICE-Link Plus (w/2.05 firmware), I feel it may be a bit unfair to degrade the final score of the device due to some problems with the earlier versions. It’s obvious to me that Dension has fully worked out the software issues and has delivered a very solid product. At this point, I see no reason for any potential buyer to be concerned about software issues. As long as you know going into the purchase that ID3 tags are not supported on the MINI. (FYI – There are some reports that the latest firmware does indeed support ID3 tags on MINIs equipped with Navigation).

  • I would agree with most of that. And to clear up the ID3 information…there is a file somewhere on the pages in the MINI2 thread (not in current firmware) that will let all model year MINIs with nav display track info. However…it renders the nav completely useless because it covers the entire screen, and it doesn’t go away. Someone in the thread mentioned if it would just disappear after 2-3 seconds then it’d probably be fine for now.

    For those without nav it would seem that they can make MY05 cars work (~4 weeks) to display the ID3 info on the HU. Pre-05, we are SOL…although switching out the HU for an ’05 HU might work – which I plan to try once that update comes out.

  • Thanks for the clarification Jared.

  • blalor

    I’ve asked high and low about this but haven’t gotten an answer…

    Gabe, does iTunes see that a track played from the iPod via the ice>Link: Plus (that’s a lotta work typing that…) has been played? I mean, do the last-played date and the play count attributes get updated? (please please please!)

    I’ve got an ’05 MCS on order (ASK MINI tells me its out of the paint shop! taking delivery 6/1) and I’ve requested an ice>Link: Plus for my b-day (Thursday) from my lovely wife. I hope to be able to offer first-hand information on the ID3 debacle. 🙂

  • blalor – I’ve been meaning to figure that out for the past couple of weeks. I’ll try to confirm it today.

  • blalor

    /me taps impatiently on his desk

  • Jake

    Perhaps I read the article too hastily, but how is the Denison any better than the factory iPod interface, especially at a higher price point? For $125 delivered, I used the factory kit with flawless results from the beginning. Based on the multitude of reviews both here and elsewhere, it’s challenging to understand how this product is competitive with the factory interface which was developed with Apple input.

    Note also, the playlists are directly accessible from the head unit on the factory interface kit.

  • blalor

    Jake, you get two things for the add’l 75 clams:

    • navigation to any playlist (just just the ones numbered 1MINI to 5MINI)
    • a display of the current-playing track

    There’s also the possibility of having ID3 tags displayed on the head unit.

    Frankly, all other things being equal, I think that’s worth it.

    I got a good belly laugh when I read Monster’s info on the iCruze and saw that they charge an additional Ben Franklin for a display when there’s a perfectly useful LCD on the iPod…

    I agree with keeping distractions to a minimum for the driver, but I don’t see anything wrong with having additional information available.

    I know a lot of stink’s been raised about the ID3 tags, but when you’ve got 1700 songs on your iPod playing at random, I think it’s nice to be able to see what’s what.

  • While I’m quite happy with my ICE-Link a friend of mine has the ICE-Link Plus installed.

    He has a facelift MCS with the new Boost that also playes MP3-CDs. After updating the ICE-Link with new config files the ID3 tags now show up on the HU.


  • ChrisW

    I’d also love to know if the Ice-Link updates play count information. All my music is in Apple Lossless format, so I rely on “last played” information to cycle my music library automatically via Smart Playlists (which, BTW, is a great solution for those who don’t want to compromise their music with compression).

    Another plus for Dension: Best Buy is said (per Dension’s website) to now carry the Ice-Link. BUT another minus for Dension: it’s not shown on the Best Buy website, nor does anyone at the two stores I called know anything about the Ice-Link. 🙁

    DensionUSA seriously needs to get their premature information releases under control.

  • ChrisW

    Quote: “After updating the ICE-Link with new config files the ID3 tags now show up on the HU.”

    Whoa! Philip, can you get any pics to confirm? Sorry to be doubtful, but there’s been so much FUD about the ID3 tag “feature” that I won’t believe it until I see it.

  • Kurt

    Dension did, I don’t know if its still there, have a page on its support area for BMW text display…

    Trying to use the BMW text display with the newest firmware didn’t do anything on my 2005 MCS…

    I SOOO want text display on my 2005 MCS!

    I’m very disapointed in Dension… I give them an F for product preparation…

  • ChrisW

    Quote: “For those without nav it would seem that they can make MY05 cars work (~4 weeks) to display the ID3 info on the HU.”

    Jared, didn’t we get a similar timeframe from Dension way back in Nov/Dec?

  • Ian

    ChrisW, have a search around the MINI forums and see what you find – for example start reading this MINI2 thread which even has pics!

  • Ian

    Gabe, Where I do wonder about your 4/5 rating is that initially your ICElink did not work properly, and you could not update it … how many customers will receive the same quality of product and be frustrated; do you think you got a replacement because of your status in the MINI world?

  • Chris, yeah…I know. That was when everything was confusing and Tom at Dension said that all MINIs would be supported by Christmas…blah.

    This is the latest post from Lee at Dension:

    w.r.t. text on 05 cars, personally I’d wait for 3-4(ish) weeks until the 2.1 firmware stream becomes available as there will be a BMW-text specific stream of this.

    That was posted on April 1.

    Let me also note that the iPod mini cradle from Dension – paired up with the ProClip mount they sell, is nothing short of perfect (for me). It looks nice, and it’s so easy to just hop in the car and drop the iPod in the cradle – not have to find a cord to plug into the bottom of the iPod.

    Dension really could use some help with their PR and their website…both are well below average. But I have to say that overall I’m quite pleased with the Ice>Link Plus package.

  • Ian – I don’t believe that was the case. Here’s how it happened:

    I was talking with someone at Dension (this person did know who I was) and it became obvious that my Ice-Link required serious support by an expert on the product. So I was transferred to the support line. This person had no idea of who I was or that I had just been talking with someone in sales. We went through the issues I had and he quickly decided that I needed a new unit. After a quick exchange of information I was told the new unit would be to me in a few days. probably one of the most painless support calls I’ve ever dealt with. At no time did I ever get the impression that this person knew this unit was for a review or who I was. Maybe I got lucky in who I was talking with but from my experience Dension’s support was 1st rate.

  • ChrisW

    Please allow me to retract, with my apologies to DensionUSA, a dig in my earlier post. After calling Dension and being told by Tom that the Ice-Link was indeed available at Best Buy starting today, I called a couple of local stores again to confirm. (While I had Tom on the line I should have asked the ID3 tag question again…)

    The guys in the car stereo department still had not heard of the product (I had called them last week after seeing the Best Buy news on the DensionUSA website). But they did have the Monster iCruze (note to Dension: many customers may go to the car stereo department as I did; you may want to have Best Buy get the word out to their mobile audio departments).

    I then spoke with someone in the Wireless department (where they carry the iPod accessories), and they do in fact now have the product in stock, including the BMW/MINI model!

    Excellent! Now I can pick one up with confidence, because if I have a problem I can just exchange it at Best Buy rather than getting sucked into the (reported) customer service black hole at Dension that some have encountered per some online reports (Gabe’s excellent experience notwithstanding).

  • I wonder if they sell the one that plugs into the CD-changer thing, or the radio-end plug. Might as well keep everything stuffed up behind the radio…no use running it from the boot.

  • ChrisW

    Hmmm, the part number Best Buy gave me is I20-BMW-T. Is that the trunk-mount version? I didn’t realize there were different adapter models for the same vehicle. 🙁

    I agree, I’d rather not run a cable from the boot.

    Bummer, and I was going to zip over there at lunch and pick one up…

  • Mike

    Jared, both options for connectivity are available. Nice review, Gabe! I think it’s spot-on given my experiences with the product.

  • Gabe, does iTunes see that a track played from the iPod via the ice>Link: Plus (that’s a lotta work typing that…) has been played? I mean, do the last-played date and the play count attributes get updated?

    Yes – just confirmed.

  • Mike, I know Dension sells both…was wondering about Best Buy.

    I would look on the site, but I can’t even find the “shop” link anymore on the Dension page…and the Sox game is going to start, so you are on your own Chris – if you can get to that page it does show model numbers if you add a product to your cart.

  • blalor

    You rock, Gabe! Thanks!

    It’s amazing to me that the best answer I could get out of Dension was “prolly not”. They were kinda-sorta wrong. sigh 🙂

  • mclaugh

    Re: playcounts and last played, someone said in the Mini2 forum thread that those were only updated if you using the icelink plus in “manual” mode. Gabe, when you checked this out, were you playing songs in manual mode or were you just using the headunit? Thanks for the review- I’m waiting for my Mini, and this was one of my last decisions to make, official adapter vs icelink.

  • It was not in manual mode when I confirmed it.

  • ChrisW

    Checked my local Best Buy. They have radio mount kits (which I assume are indicated by the model name ending in R?) for VW, Honda, and Audi, and only the trunk mount kit (T?) for BMW-MINI. Bummer.

    Oh, and all have the cradle mount, so no cable-only kits. It’s a different kit if you don’t want the cradle mount, correct? I didn’t realize there were so many variations. Guess I’ll have to order directly from Dension after all. 🙁

    P.S. Thanks for the playcount update Gabe. That’s great news.

  • I’m sorry but I have to disagree with this review – from the gist of the review Gabe it sounds like you had some problems with firmware – that should’ve knocked it down at least to a three. That on top of the questionable attitude from Dension regarding future product functionality with ID3 info on the Head Unit. Sounds like an expensive product when the BMW product does a lot of the same functionality for a better price.

  • SB

    Having purchased and tried, not one but two ICE-Links (and returned them), I am a bit weary of hearing “these issues will be resolved with the next update”. I know some are pleased with their ICE-Links and I am happy for them.

    I was planning on getting the iCruze by Monster Cable … but they too are having difficulties and delays in getting all the required cables, modules, and the still-impossible to get, display. I have a compromise that works for me at this time. I mounted an Apple iPod case (the kind with the belt clip) inside my glove box. I use the MINI/Apple iPod adaptor which gives me access to 5 “MINI” playlists and the Library. I have also installed a MINI auxiliary input jack … but with a twist. Instead of simply mounting the jack inside the glove box, I found a RETRACTABLE extension cord with stereo mini jacks on each end. This retractable cord is also mounted in the glove box and makes hookup a snap. I usually use the MINI/Apple iPod adaptor and leave the iPod in the glove box, but if I (or a passenger) wish to listen to a specific artist, playlist, genre … or just see the display, I simply unplug the MINI/Apple iPod adaptor and plug in the retractable extension cable, and then swich from “CD” to “AUX”. It takes but a couple of seconds, and the cable is three feet long which gives a passenger the oportunity to “play” with the iPod. While some of the covenience features are lost with the extension cable (like charging, steering wheel control of FF, next track, etc., auto pause) … it does partially solve some of the display and access limitations of the MINI/Apple iPod adaptor. My car is an ’03 MCS without nav or HK. I bought the retractable extension at a computer store called Micro Center. Hope some find this helpful.

  • Gabe,

    I’ve got a non nav ’04 and have held off buying the ICELink because of the tag issue. I think I heard somewhere about BMW coming out with an upgraded iPod connector, but I’m not sure. Any info, and if it’s true, do you know what the upgraded capabilities are?

  • No news yet Dan. We’ll post something when we hear it. Unfortunately it’s pretty much just speculation at this point.

  • KeViN

    just picked up an ice link plus at Best Buy last night. they were in stock, on the shelf and i didn’t need to even bother the non-existent car audio employee.

    gonna try the install in a few hours…hope it goes smoothly…

    more comments later…

  • ChrisW

    KeViN, what is the model number of the kit you picked up? Is it the BMW-T (trunk-mount) model?

    That’s all my local store had – just wondering if Best Buy will be carrying other variations of the kit.

  • KeViN

    Hey Chris…yes, i got the I20-BMW-T…works great, except i can’t get the name of the songs to scroll on my radio display…

    tempted to upload the text to nav file, but i think i read someone earlier it renders the nav useless?

  • KeViN

    well, i got my ice link (trunk mount version) installed problem free, BUT…there’s a ton of “noise” over the system, probably from all the cabling involved…

    it’s so bad that i don’t even want to listen to my ipod because of it…has anyone else run into this? i asked the Best Buy technician for any ideas, he had none…

    guess i’ll have to order the radio mount version from dension…


    (don’t they test these things before they send them out??)

  • Steve Carlin


    When I first installed my ice-link plus, I also got a lot of distortion. I unplugged and plugged it back in the iPod with modest improvement. I then unplugged the ice-link cable and re-plugged it into the ice-link and that helped a bit more. Then I discovered on the Dension web site that noise is sometimes caused by the gain (or output) setting made by the ice-link on the iPod. I reduced the gain setting by a couple of db and the problem went away. You can access it on the ice-link menu. When you plug in the ice-link, select playlist 6 to bring up the setup menu and scroll to (I think) the settings menu. You will find a gain setting somewhere in the ice-link menus.

    Basically, the iPod was putting out too much signal for the HU to handle without causing distortion when it amplified the signal for the stereo.

    Hope this helps.


  • I had the same issue with the first Ice-Link Plus I installed. The issue was the firmware (2.01).

    BTW it’s also worth mentioning that it’s important to disconnect your battery during install. That way you reset the headunit completely. I forgot and had to pull the fuses for a reset.

  • KeViN

    thanks for the advice guys…unplugging the unit a couple times definitely decreased the interference (wierd), but it comes back loudly here and there…it’s still noticeable when the volume is really low also or the ipod is paused, similar to using the iTrip or the like…

    i think i’m gonna go for the radio mount model and get rid of the extra wiring…

  • Kurt

    mine had interferance too… it was solved with a call to tech support at Dension, which revealed that the wiring in some of the harnesses was done wrong… fixed very simply in 1 min with tech support help and a pen (really high tech hehe)…

  • KeViN

    Hey Kurt,

    yup, finally got through to Dension tech support and got that same memo…

    i take back my earlier dig about Dension not testing their product first, BUT they did send it out with the wrong wiring!

    mine works fine now…just gotta hide that big ugly cable!!

  • Steve Carlin

    The attached appeared today on the already hard-to-find firmware update page:

    “Important notice !

    Dear Customers, current ice>Link Plus models implement the full desired feature set already, therefore no generic firmware updates released in the future.

    However we are comitted to continue our product support and to make bug fixes available if necessary.

    Feel free to contact Technical Support if you have any issue.”

    Sure sounds to me like they are telling their customers to take a flying leap when it comes to ID3 tage support. Whatever happend to alleged version 2.1?

  • ChrisW

    Huh??? I agree, it sounds bad to me too.

    “By the way, we can’t figure out tag display, so we’ll just consider that an ‘undesired feature’ and call it a day. Thank you for your purchase.”

  • Kurt

    Dension… WTF?!?!

    No further firmware upgrades?! I want my text display working with tags!


  • Steve Carlin


    Can you help us out here? The Dension folks at least respond to your contacts. And you have more than fair in your treatment of them.


  • Will do.

  • Steve Carlin



    I have the 2nd car on this webpage. This is my friends install Co. I have a Mini 05 S and I took out the cup holder.

  • ChrisW

    Any word on this yet? Or have the Dension reps gone into hiding again?

  • Two comments have been deleted at the request of Tom at Dension. They contained information that was of a confidential nature.

  • I think this matches pretty much everything else Dension has said before. They’re working on the software and ID3 tags will be implemented for the 2005 MINI soon.

  • ChrisW

    I think that legal blurb at the bottom of Tom’s email would make me think twice before posting the message in its entirety to a blog…

  • ChrisW

    And I will assume from Tom’s message (and what Gabe reiterated) that ID3 tags will be supported on the ’05 head unit in some later firmware release, and per that information I will order my Ice-Link. If this fails to materialize, I should be entitled to a full refund regardless of the amount of time between now and when they say “Oops, we can’t do it after all…” and I also reserve the right to blow a cork at that point in time. 🙂

  • I agree. No offense Kurt – but I’m going to contact Tom and make sure he’s fine with that info being online like this.

    And Chris – I agree with that last comment as well. This latest statement shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following this. I can also vouch for Dension’s support. I’ve dealt with them for well over a year now and have had nothing but good experiences.

  • Kurt Gillespie

    I worded my initial email to him to get his responce to be added to a, I do admit, fake story, so all that he said would be able to be printed.

  • Kurt Gillespie

    My main beef with his responce is his claim that it currently works with the 2005 minis… I have one and I KNOW it doesn’t work with the beta files posted online…

  • Bad move, Kurt. Blogs already have somewhat of a bad reputation amongst the mainstream, especially mainstream journalism. It doesn’t help when you lie about who you are to get information.

  • Guys… let’s move-on here. No need to beat a dead horse. These comments should focus on the review, your own experiences with the ICE-Link Plus and questions for those of us with the connector.

  • ChrisW

    OK, here’s a question Gabe: is it possible to install this thing without pulling the head unit? I’ve read (but since can’t find where I read it) that it may be possible to reach around behind the center stack and get the plug in by feel, or perhaps by using a mirror? Anything to avoid taking things apart is a good approach in my book.

  • Unfortunately no. However removing the headunit is fairly easy.

  • Steve Carlin

    Sorry, guys, I just checked back in and cannot see Tom’s comments that have since been removed. I gather that Dension still plans on releasing an update that will allow ’05 Minis without NAV to support ID3 tags sometime “soon” (ha ha!).

    Chris, I am not sure I’d buy if I were you. I bought the ice-link Plus in late November with the sepcific written statement from Tom on this blog stating that ID3 tag support would be available before the end of 2004, in an obvious bid to drum up additional holiday sales.

    I had substantial trouble installing it, and suffered through several firmware versions that didn’t work. When it finally “worked,” it generated serious distortion. To this day, using the ice-link causes the iPod’s backlight switch (holding down the Menu key) to fail. I can only get the function back by resetting the iPod.

    At the end of the day, I think Gabe’s review is a fair score if you did not have the installation and firmware issues and it just worked. It is also fair if you intended to read the menu from the iPod display.

    But if you, like me, experienced the instalation and software hassles, and relied on the overpromising about ID3 tags to achieve your desired result, ahidden install and a legible display, I’d give it a 2.5 – promising but not even close to ready for prime time.

    As a result, I’m seriously thinking of asking for the Alpine adapter and motorized 7″ screen head unit for next Christmas. I am ready to forego steering wheel control for a visible text display and hidden iPod.

  • Matt

    I really have to question the score on this review.

    To me, if nothing else, it seems highly bogus that Dension advertises the ID3 tag display yet it doesn’t work.

    To be fair, I searched high and low on the Dension and Dension USA web sites. I even checked BestBuy’s info. Nowhere does it say that ID3 tags display doesn’t work. Were it not for other reviews on the web, I (as a consumer) would not know this.

    To me, that’s dangerously close to “fraud.” Then again, I work in the technology industry, and as such I understand incremental rollout of firmware. But this is the commercial electronics market, which is famous for -zero- tollerance of such practices.

    Summary: If they can’t support an advertised feature, either (a) don’t advertise it, or (b) make it -very- clear to people that the feature is missing.

    I guess if you’re just reviewing how well the unit does do the things that it can do, then that’s one thing. But part of the product ‘experience’ includes “does it do what it claims to.” Comparison against people’s reasonable expectations is what is required.

  • Noe Valley Jeff

    Gabe’s review seems about right to me – it doesn’t address what might be, only what is. (1) Compared to the alternatives, ice-link plus is best. (I can confirm that it beats any RF solution I’ve tried.)

    (2) Installation is quirky. Tom G. (of Dension) did my install when I was in LA and it wasn’t straightforward. I’m reasonably technical, but I would not have wanted to do it myself. (a) it requires spinning a lot of cable. (b) it took a couple of iterations to get it to sound okay (lots of noise, etc) (c) my iPod didn’t have the right firmware, so there were some issues there, too.

    (3) Once having installed, the general play-back is great…but I can’t tell what’s playing or even confirm which playlist I’m in.

    (4) I keep the iPod in the glove, out of sight. I don’t bother with the interface while driving, but it’s perfectly adequate while stopped.

    [net/net] I’m very pleased that I spent the money on ice-link instead of a CD changer. It’s much better than the 10-cd changer I had in my previous car. (However, it’s not as good as I’d hoped.)

    Recommendations: (a) if you can, find someone else who has ice-link (b) also, if you park in your garage, driveway, or out in-front, consider streaming multimedia devices, which gives you more options for tunes than an ipod and (a few) can be found for about the same cost as ice-link plus installation. (c) but, if you want to use your ipod w/your mini, go for it

  • Steve Carlin

    Could this be the holy grail? I was just wandering around the hopelessly disorganized Dension web site and found the folloiwjg link to a firmware update for ID3 text support for BMWs WITHOUT NAV: I am going to download and try tonight. Keeping fingers crossed.

    Let me know if anyone else has any luck.

  • Steve carlin

    It had to be too good to be true. The links to download the software from the page I referenced are empty. Thus, you can’t download either the zip or exe files. The download history link does show that it is not compatible with NAV systems.

    These people are EVIL! Every time I think they are finally delivering on their 11/04 promise of ID3 support, they get my hopes up and then crush them. I have never dealt with a company so disorganized.

  • Steve Carlin

    Well, the newest files are now there, but don’t work on my unit. I did the update and it now shows that I am running version 2B1 of the firmware. Unfortunately, not only does the access not work, but after I did the update, I lost the ability to access the ice-link set up menu entirely! I then tried to launch the text support file maually by going to genre/_config/menu/BMW text/text to radio and starting the text to radio file and then hooking up to the ice-link. It has no effect and the ice-link immediately starts playing music.

    Let me know if anyone has any luck with this update, but be warned about loss of access to the ice-link menu.

  • Skorpion

    Interesting reading – I’ve got an ’04 MCS and my first ‘plus unit came with firmware 2.04. When eventually connected only worked through one channel, and had interference linked to the revs (an earth problem I think – so maybe not the unit at fault). Got a replacement unit, updated with fw 2.05 which worked well and recently updated to 2.06 which again works OK. Still no ID3 support through my Boost HU and I also have the backlight problem Steve has, but at least I’ve got my 2500+ tunes kinda at my control through the steering wheel controls. Gripes are:- text is too small to be of any use & backlight should come on with the headlights (a difficult one I know but wouldn’t it be great – if you could read the text that is!) Worrying that Dension seem to be abdicating reponsibility with their statement on the firmware update page – looks like I’ve got as much as I can get in terms of functionality from the unit.

  • Melanie


    Check out post # 957 on this page:

    I don’t know if this is the same problem you encountered, but maybe it will help…

    What I am wanting to know, is this: I have a 2005 MCSC with the HK radio (not the stock radio) and my car was built in early November 2004. I have the MFSW controls but no phone/bluetooth button on the steering wheel.

    Has anyone installed the latest firmware in a car compatible with mine (in terms of the date of build and radio) and get the tags to display on the HU?

    I would really like to get the iPod now that this latest firmware update is finally available, but I would like to know ahead of time what to expect, so i don’t get all my hopes dashed!

  • Joe

    anyone can help me? my question is:doues ice-link work with every kind of radiocar?

  • Steve Carlin


    My car is almost exactly the same as yours: an ’05 MCSC with HK and mine was built in September ’04. As to tag display, so far, no luck. It appears as though Dension released a special firmware version just for BMWs because of th trouble they have been having getting ID3 to work on them. That is the version I upgraded to from version 2.06. I think if I can get the ice-link setup menu functionality back, I may have a shot at getting it to work.


  • KeViN

    I am really surprised to hear all the trouble people are having with their ice links…I got my ice link yesterday and had it installed in about 45 minutes. I have a 2004 MCS with HK and Nav, and I am loving the ice link now.

    I originally purchased the one Best Buy carried and had lots of line noise that was eventually remedied by dension when they sent me a diagram to show me how to re-wire something. But I eventually returned that one because i did not feel like burying that long ass cable that comes with the trunk mount version.

    Instead I ordered the radio mount version off the Dension website and recieved my ice link in about a week. Now I want to be in the car all the time so i can hear all the randomness on my iPod. I installed it myself and now have just a tiny little cable hanging out from under the toggles but is barely noticeable when i have my iPod sitting in the cup holder. I have not had to upgrade any firmware or anything (Thank goodness) so I was up an running immediately after install.

    Granted there is still no text display and I would LOVE to see that happen, but I do have to say that all in all I am 95% satisfied with the product.

    Just my $.02!

    Cheers, Kevin

  • ChrisW

    Eureka, text display is working for me! 2.b1 firmware, Feb ’05 build, H/K audio.

    See pics here, post #977.

  • Melanie

    I called Tom at Dension the other day, and he told me that they have even seen some January 2005-build cars whose HU failed to display the text. Now I am really confused…when the crossover from HUs that DO display text, vs. those that DON’T, actually occurred, seems to be a mystery…I have heard others say post-January 2005 are OK, but if what Tom has said is true, even that’s not necessarily the case. I seemed to get the idea from him that if the HU played MP3 discs, then it’s possible it would display text (mine is a November 2004 build with a HK unit, and MP3 discs are indeed playable on it).

    He did tell me that a firmware version where the text is displayed (for earlier cars) is “in production”…but of course, who knows when that will be released.

    I am torn whether to leap now or wait. Do any of you have a HU that plays MP3 discs yet does NOT have text display capability with the ICElink?

  • Steve Carlin


    If you really need id3 support, I would wait. This is exactly the same promise Tom made on this site in November, claiming that it would be done by the end of December. Then they claimed it worked on ’05s, which mine is, built in September 04. Now they say only certain 05s will work. The promises keep getting smaller and smaller … If he gives no date, I would only buy under the assumption that I will never workf or your car.

    After installing version 2.B1, I still can’t get back my setup menu! S I am worse off than under 2.06. I can’t even get anyone to tell me how to do a reset of the ice-link so that I can start over and get back to version 2.06.

  • Melanie


    I know, I think you are right…I am getting so “itchy” to have my iPod playing in my MINI!! But, I know that when I ordered an ICElink back in November and got the little insert showing me how I would have to change the pins in the connector to get it to work, I can recall thinking “geez, this is pretty poor for a 200 dollar unit!” Between that and fears of messing up the electronics in my brand-new car, I returned it. I was skeptical that it wouldn’t work even if I pulled out all my hair in frustration.

    And now, here it is, almost 6 months later, and I still have read so many posts about problems with this and that, that my head is starting to spin.

    As badly as I want to hear my iPod in my car, I think I’ll sit on my hands until more of the kinks get worked out, and until I can get more definitive information re the ability to see the tags on my HU. It isn’t an absolute must, but it sure would be nice!

  • Tom

    I got my ice-link plus last week. Installed in my 330Xi in a snap. The new cable harness plugged into the back of my radio like a charm. Installation was very easy and it worked as advertised. All the functions worked and it sounded great. That was, until last night.

    After using it for less than a week, I started my car and noticed my blinkers didn’t work. My seatbelt light was on, even when my belt as attached and the stereo controls on the steering wheel no longer worked. The head unit (stereo) buttons ( 1 thru 5 ) did not work either. After powering the stereo on and off, it simply dispalyed “DISABLED” and refused to work.

    When I got home, I checked the stereo connections thinking perhaps it was a wiring issue. The wiring was ok. The connections all appeared fine. I removed the ice-link and plugged my stereo back in and everything was back to normal. The radio and cd worked, the blinkers and seatbelt light worked, the controls on the steering wheel worked etc.

    It looks like my poor ice-link died. I’ve called tech-support and they are working with me to resolve the issue.

    I’m bummed since I really like the ice-link , I think I just got a defective unit. I don’t think it was used more than about 4 hours before it died.


  • Jeremy

    Kevin and others have posted saying they got special instructions from Dension on how to easily fix the wiring to remove the line noise/interference. Anyone have details on what is involved in doing this? I just got mine installed at Best Buy, and after a 2 hour installation (!), it sounded perfect until I started the car, and all the way home all I could hear was the whining noise it would make every time I hit the accellerator. Any tips would be greatly appreciated, I’ll also try Dension support but I’m not holding out hope since I wrote them several days ago and never got a respose.

  • I asked Tom about that this week; his response is documented here:

  • … and if that were clickable, this would be it: Dension ice>Link: Plus BMW cable fix

  • Wilson

    OK…I have been reading up on the ICE Link Plus…and I have one rather simple, yet stupid question.

    I have a 05 (April Build) MCS with both the Sat Nav as well as a dealer installed AUX Input. I was wondering if I was able to use the ICE Link? Should I just stick with the AUX Input for the IPOD? All help is greatly appreciated.


  • Joe W.

    Hello Gabe, anyone? Can anyone tell me if the iceLINK plus will work on an ’05 MCS with Navigation, Bluetooth Phone and 6 disc CD changer already installed? Is there anyway it will with the previous mentioned already in there or am I out of luck? Thanks in advance for your time as any help would be great.

  • David L.

    I would like to purchase a Dension ice>Link Plus 2.05 for my Acura TSX. I hate the iPod FM transmitters and found the Dension online. It appears that I will be able to connect the ice>Link Plus via the CD changer-out connection in my factory installed unit (a 6-disc changer is built-in… will the Dension disrupt that?). Has anyone else used the ice>Link Plus on an Acura TSX (Dension says that it will use the standard Accord unit)?

  • Gordon

    Any sign of the new Firmware? I have my 3rd gen ipod connected to a new sony CDX-7750 head unit and it works….except for no tags, which is one of the reasons I bought it :(. The Firmware version on the ipod stats 2.11 so wondering when the next will be out?

    Any ideas?

  • David (and any other lurkers), I have an ice>Link Plus 2.05 for Honda that I’m looking to sell. I can’t use it in my 2005 Accord. Please contact me at paul at robichaux dot net if you’re interested.

  • Robert

    i’ve had an ice>Link Plus for a while in a BMW and it works great. Dension’s website discusses new firmware specifically for BMWs, but no way to get it.

    Anyone have the 2.B2 firmware lying around?



  • Alexey

    My ice>Link recently got blown out and I had it replaced. The replacement came with 2.B2 firmware. I am having a problem with it: when i skip to the next or previous track, it often skips 2 tracks instead. Happens intermittently but nevertheless consistenly. I am planning to downgrade to 2.07 – so don’t be too anxious to upgrade is what I am saying..

  • I really don’t like my dension ice link thing. For starters the guys at Halfords put it on the wrong side of the stereo so everytime I indictaed i kept smacking the holder, and plus i cudnt see the bloody screen! and mine also skips two tracks! and I spend more time trying to get the right song on, than I am on driving! Can anyone help me with the skipping bit? im lost as to what to do. I ws told to update the latest version on my Ipod but thats done nothing!



  • The problem with Halfords is that they normally don’t install the the full kit and prefer to sell you the dension fm kit.

    Also it’s worth buying the kit and getting Unicar to install the system for you.

    Costs range from 40-85 depending on your car

  • Ayrat

    I had same problem as Tom with my Ice link. After some really cold weather my CD option stoped working after disconnecting Ice link couple of times stereo started showing “DISABLED” message, blinkers didn’t work, stereo controls on the steering wheel no longer worked, door open sensor and fog lights signal stopped working. Connected CD changer back and all went back to normal. Anybody knows how to fix that problem with an Ice Link?

  • Percy

    I had a similar problem this week. I started the MINI and the air bag diasbled light came on. My radio (an HK) went dead, the remote lock/unlock function stopped working and the MINI’s brake lights light up and stayed on. Everything went back to normal when I disconnected the icelink. I uninstalled it, I think I’ll just throw it away, I need the MINI more than an iPod.

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  • James

    The only problem i’ve had with my ipod kit for my car (Seat Leon) is that it skips two tracks at once if i use the radio controls to control my ipod. It seems this has also been experienced by many others as well. I would complain to the store that sold me it, but i really can’t be bothered to get a new one fitted. Hopefully there will be an ipod update that will sort this out. But i often don’t need to change tracks when i’m driving, and i’ll be getting a new car soon anyway 😉

  • Alex

    How does the Ice Link Plus compare to the the new Ipod interface for the 2006 BMW 300xi?

  • Gerald


    I think that it’s time for your update on the ICE Link Plus?

    Has the tags issue been addressed?

    Can we buy with confidence now?


  • Mark from Hong Kong


    I am Mark from Hong Kong. I just brought a new ice-link plug and installed yesterday, I found that it is work perferly if the car engine is off, but after I start my car engine, there is a lot of noise from the speak like “wuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu”(Whine). For more information to you that the cable is not tidy up into the car, I can take it far away from some electric affect. but the noise is still there. After that I tried to connect the CD changer back and it worked perferly without noise when the car’s engine is on. And ever I tried to unplug the Active Cradle, there was no music, but the noise is still there. So I think there is something wrong with the Adaptor. Please help.

    My Car is 2005 E46 325ci with Business CD with haman kardor the ice-link is version 2.05 which is shown on my 1st gen nano, ther serical no. is 421311544


  • mark from Hong kong


    I am Mark from Hong Kong. I just brought a new ice-link plug and installed yesterday, I found that it is work perferly if the car engine is off, but after I start my car engine, there is a lot of noise from the speak like “wuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu”. For more information to you that the cable is not tidy up into the car, I can take it far away from some electric affect. but the noise is still there. After that I tried to connect the CD changer back and it worked perferly without noise when the car’s engine is on. And ever I tried to unplug the Active Cradle, there was no music, but the noise is still there. So I think there is something wrong with the Adaptor. Please help.

    My Car is 2005 E46 325ci with Business CD with haman kardor the ice-link is version 2.05 which is shown on my 1st gen nano, ther serical no. is 421311544


  • mark from Hong kong

    I found this myself, it was wrong pin on the extend cable.

  • Shulus

    Now that Dension USA is no longer selling, servicing or supporting Dension Audio Systems products (including the Ice>Link Plus) which alternative product we can use to connect the ipod to our Minis with H/K?