This topic will only cover true plug and play solutions and it won't provide answers about creating custom harnesses, patching a DVD, loading new software, modifying faceplates or converting from single DIN to double DIN.
Can I plug and play retrofit the RNS-E in my car?
Yes, if you currently have a Symphony II head unit (with build-in 6 CD changer) which is usually the case in an A3/8P or A4/8E with Premium Sound package (North America only, Europe does not get any radio unless explicit ordered). Maybe, if you have an A6/C5 or Allroad (facelift models only) because this will require getting the speed signal from behind the instrument cluster. If you don't feel comfortable removing the instrument cluster or have someone do it for you it's a No, otherwise Yes. Maybe also if you have an A4 B6 with the older Navigation Plus RNS-D (CD based). In this case the upgrade requires to bridge some wires on the TMC unit which is somehwere well hidden in your car. No, if you have the Concert II head unit or any of the older OEM head units (including Symphony I, any of the single DIN head units or no head unit at all).
Which RNS-E part number do I need?
This question is not easy to answer and I will only list confirmed part numbers. There are more RNS-E part numbers out there but those haven't been confirmed yet.
A4/B6/B7: 8E0 035 192 E or 8E0 035 192 F
A6/C5: 4B0 035 192 R
A3/8P: 8P0 035 192
A4/B6/B7: 8E0 035 192 C or 8E0 035 192 D
A6/C5: 4B0 035 192 P
Note that European units will not work in North America without modifications. The same is true with North American units in Europe, they will not work without modifications. Modifications require patching large files, creating new dual layer DVDs or loading new software on your RNS-E unit which requires certain skills and may render the unit unusable. While possible, I won't list those modifications here under plug and play retrofits but if you think you can do it, browse the Quick Links topic or use search to figure out how.
What else do I need?
You will need an RNS-E adapter which converts the current connector plugged in to your Symphony II head unit to fit in the RNS-E connector. When you order the adapter, specify that you need support for a CD changer and mobile phone hands free kit. This way you get all the wires you need. You will also need to specify whether or not your car has the Bose sound system, an all active sound system or passive front/active rear sound system. In most cases it is sufficient to specify Bose or not. Please clearly state which car and head unit you need the adapter for.
You will also need an antenna adapter from the old style 50 Ohm ISO plug to a Fakra connector. The adapter you order should have a receptacle for the diversity antenna connector already present in your car. Don't worry to much about all the terms here, if you get the adapter from a well known source they will send you the correct stuff if you just specify ISO to dual Fakra adapter.
The easiest way to get a GPS signal is to install a new GPS antenna behind the instrument cluster or above the glove box. GPS antennas are usually available from the same source as the RNS-E adapter, just make sure you get one with a Fakra connector (SMB would be the other type but this doesn't fit the RNS-E well).
Last but not least you will need a set of 4 of the radio removal keys and access to a VAG-COM or similar to do the coding once the RNS-E is installed.
Where do I get the required adapters?
This should not be a list of preferred vendors, browse the forum to determine who is good and who is not so good. It just gives you a point to start when looking for the RNS-E and other adapters. Replace the [at] with the @ sign in all email addresses. Send me a PM if you know another reliable source in North America, Europe or anywhere else.
Ralf Deventer: email@example.com (English OK)
Navi-center: firstname.lastname@example.org (English OK)
The actual install
The install is as easy as removing the Symphony II, plugging in the adapters, getting the GPS antenna behind the instrument cluster, plugging in the RNS-E and getting everything back in that little hole in your dash board. Of course there is a little more which makes it more or less challenging but these are the main steps. Once your car is put back together it's time to make some final configuration changes with VAG-COM or similar equipment. If you don't have access to a VAG-COM, your dealer may be willing to help you to finish this task.
What happens to my SAT radio (XM/Sirius - North America only)?
Well, if you are one of those who happens to have an OEM satelite receiver for XM or Sirius and are really using it, you will need to upgrade that receiver as well. The RNS-E does not talk to the first generation SAT receivers. The actual install is plug and play but to get to the SAT receiver is little tricky, therefore I'm not going into details here. Your Audi dealer will know which part number you need and will most likely do the install for you.