2005 BMW X5 Ultimate Listening Machine

(from Alpine Press Release)  Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. today unveiled its 2005 showcase vehicle, a BMW X5 titled The Ultimate Listening Machine (ULM). A complete AlpineF#1Status™ DVD-Audio system is installed in this elaborate vehicle.

AlpineF#1Status products are designed to deliver the absolute best sound quality by overcoming the unique problems of in-car sound reproduction with unparalleled digital sound field adjustment, precise acoustical correction, real-time DSP equalization and meticulous product manufacturing. AlpineF#1Status products have been recognized worldwide with accolades for their outstanding musicality, unrivaled engineering and superior design.

This X5 ULM is unlike any other in existence. Extensive external and internal modifications were done to showcase both the DVD-Audio system and the craftsmanship of the vehicle’s builders. Crafted by Alpine’s Advanced Application Research and Development team of Steve Brown and Mike Vu, the X5 ULM took six months to design, engineer and build.

The X5 ULM has been turned into a 2-door vehicle, from a 4-door one. The factory doors were molded together, then re-made into two custom doors. These doors do not swing out. Rather, each door assembly is motorized and slides out horizontally from each side of the vehicle. The interior was completely gutted to accommodate for the extensive remake. The X5 ULM was converted to center drive by moving the steering column and the seats to the center of the vehicle. This center drive setup creates the optimal setting for listening to a multichannel sound system.

A remote-controlled motor slides the left door out to the left of the X5 ULM, and the right door out to the right, both at a distance of around 27-inches from the vehicle. The open doors reveal one seat each on the bed of the motorized door assembly. When the doors are closed, the seats are positioned in the center of the X5 ULM, with the seat on the right door lined up directly behind the seat of the left door, similar to the cockpit on a two-seater fighter plane. To create the environment for a true multichannel experience, the second seat is positioned several inches higher than the first seat, resulting in theater-seating in the X5 ULM. Both seats are Versus seats which have custom suede and leather upholstery by Motostyle.

This seating arrangement creates a sonically accurate DVD-Audio experience by placing the seats in the center of the vehicle and surrounding them with specifically placed speakers. The heart of the system is the flagship DVI-9990 DVD-Audio/CD tuner, which is installed in the custom made steering wheel. The DVI-9990 is the industry’s first DVD-Audio player to transmit full resolution DVD-Audio through Alpine’s own DVD-Audio Link (IEEE 1394-Audio) optical connection, allowing for full resolution DVD-Audio without loss or degradation of sound quality. The woofer from the SPX-Z18T 3-way component speaker set is installed in the dash and acts as the system’s mid bass. The tweeter and mid bass from the SPX-Z18T set are installed in custom-made enclosure which are molded onto the outside of each door. Also on the dash is one half of the SPX-Z15M 2-way single channel component speaker set (creating the center channel) and two SWX-1042D 10-inch subwoofers.

The overhead console holds two TME-M770 6.5-inch touch screen monitors. Two Defi gauges, provided by EDO, supply the vital statistics for the X5 ULM. A Defi Link Display gauge is also mounted in the overhead console, to provide readouts for temperature, oil pressure, the tachometer and speedometer. A second Defi gauge, called the “Heads Up Display” is installed in the dashboard facing the windshield. This gauge uses a reflector to display speedometer data directly onto the windshield.

The rear component was stripped to hold the other system components. Most unique about the hatch is the removal of the rear door. The rear door was replaced with a clear acrylic panel and sealed shut. This acrylic window lets people see the system components through the rear of the vehicle, while keeping the interior sealed for maximum sonic impact.

The rear houses two PXI-H990 Multimedia Manager™ digital processors, which provide 16-channels of discrete output to the system. Six MRV-F900 4-channel amplifiers flank the processors. The processors and the DVI-9990 are the first to use Alpine's new IONBUS™ all-digital multimedia bus. The PXI-H990 processor also has the industry’s first Road EQ™, which utilizes real-time acoustic sampling and equalizer processing for truly natural noise compensation, to preserve the beauty of the music. Another pair of SPX-Z15M speakers is installed in the rear left/right pillars. A unique rear center channel is made with one-half of a SPX-Z15M speaker set.

This speaker is attached to a curved arm which is attached to the acrylic window and extends over the amplifiers and processors. Rounding out the Alpine F#1Status system is the KCI-500B IONBUS to Ai-NET bus connector which allows for the connection of the SIR-ALP1 Sirius Satellite Radio tuner box.

The X5 ULM was given an aggressive external silhouette with a custom fabricated wide body kit. A laser cut Alpine logo, back-lit in white, is molded into the front bumper. Laser cut AlpineF#1Status logos are molded into the two side sills and are backlit by LCD monitors which play graphical screen saver designs. The exhaust system was rerouted to hand-made exhaust tips which are also built into the side sills.

Several aftermarket products complete the X5 ULM. Monster Cable wiring is used throughout the vehicle. The X5 ULM is equipped with 26-inch KMC custom-machined wheels, while a Brembo Gran Turismo brake kit supplies the stopping power for the vehicle. To prepare the X5 ULM for its custom artwork, Virtus brand clear coat and primer were supplied by Coast Airbrush. Noah created a custom airbrush design which depicts musical icons of the last century, as a nod to the X5 ULM’s multichannel focus. Meguiar’s provided color sanding, buffing and polishing for the paint job. Oakley provided protective eyewear and clothing for the vehicle build-up.

“AlpineF#1Status represents our flagship products which push technologies like DVD-Audio to their limits,” said Stephen Witt, Alpine’s vice president of Brand Marketing. “The X5 ULM is a concert hall on wheels that exemplifies the extreme high end of our products and our custom fabrication expertise.”

The X5 ULM will be on display at trade and consumer events throughout 2005.

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