RNS-E vs. aftermarket double din - pros and cons


Registered User
Hello all.

My new A3 is due imminently, and aside from the Bose speakers that are specced with the Black Edition pack, it has the standard Symphony (?) head unit.

I've been running an Alpine iPod head unit (iDA-X001) for a year or so now and enjoy the interface. It's mated to the JBL speaker pack that came with my 206. I'm no audiophile but it sounds good to me!

Having seen a double din touchscreen Alpine/Kenwood (can't remember which) in my brothers old Golf GTi 25th Anniversary, I always said I'd treat myself to one when I got a double din car!

I do love the factory look that the RNS-E offers, but it doesn't do much multimedia-wise. I also already have a new TomTom 530 so don't need the sat-nav abilities (particularly as I hear the RNS-E doesn't do 7 digit postcodes .....

I have a 120gb iPod that holds all the music I listen to regularly, so really want to keep the use of it, and I do prefer to see the album art, and full track info.

Current favourite is the Alpine IVA-W505R: http://www.alpine-electronics.co.uk/home/products/mobile-media-stations/iva-w505r/

I am a complete numpty when it comes to electronics and technical stuff so will be getting anything done when I bring the car to the UK.

Sounds like my mind is pretty much made up, but am I overlooking something that would make the RNS-E worth considering?




Active Member
Only in that the RNS-E will be a far easier install. The Bose system does not like aftermarket HU's and apart from needing a few wiring adapters and fascia trim you may also get "popping" when you change tracks or switch from radio to CD etc.
There's no sound quality benefit as you will still be using the Bose amps & speakers.


Registered User
Hmmm ... thanks Andy.

If the aftermarket head unit isn't gonna play nicely with the Bose, I may have to reconsider.

That's ****** annoying!!

RNS-E pros:

Resale value on the car: RNS-E implies high spec car, Kenwood implies "negatives".


RNS-E will also integrate into the DIS (so you get to see road names, directions, etc between the dials)

The steering wheel controls will be able to control tracks, radio stations, satnav prompts to say / repeat voice instructions...

You can also set the satnav voice instructions separately from music volume and the two fade in and out when voice commands come through - all done, one the fly via steering wheel controls.

You can also link bluetooth phones, etc into the same unit and use the voice controls - I know some aftermarket ones also do this, but the mic will fit perfectly behind all the Audi grills and the controls for voice activation link into the steering wheel seamlessly.

RNS-E cons:

Less multimedia functionality - only really supports 2 x 4Gb MP3 cards and an iPod (with optional cable) - not sure abotu any video playback, but serious multimedia playback will have to be driven via an external device that feeds into the RNS screen (this can then be controlled via remote or integrated into the RNS-E screen controls) - I think it supports two as standard as some people have Freeview TV AND PSP's hooked up.

No 7 digit post-codes.... it is a niggle, but far from the end of the world. It does the first chunk and after that, the road name, so it's better than the non-post code versions.

No camera locations - a nuisance. I had to get a Snooper Neo S4 and RLD-100 to cover that stuff.