Modern audio with classic looks for your ‘80s Euro ride

Blaupunkt Bremen SQR 46 DAB Car Radio

If you love your 1980s-vintage European car but would like to upgrade its infotainment tech to current-year specs, Blaupunkt has you in mind. The German electronics firm has introduced the Bremen SQR 46 DAB, a new take on the 1986 Bremen SQR 46 that was fitted to many BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Saab, and Porsche models in the mid-'80s. It faithfully reproduces the look of the vintage '86 Bremen while offering modern features like Digital Audio Broadcasting, Bluetooth capability, and the ability to play music from USB thumb drives and SD memory cards. You can even set the display and button illumination colors to match your car's interior.

Though the new model appears to have a mechanism for playing audio cassettes, like the original could do, the hinged flap opens to reveal the slots to connect those memory devices. If you do want to play cassettes, you'll have to plug your vintage Sony Walkman into the new Bremen SQR 46 DAB's front mounted Aux input. It also has a rear USB port, CODEM IV World-Tuner, RDS FM, AM, and a built in DAB+ tuner. It can handle up to 32GB on the external memory devices and play both WMA and MP3 encoded digital audio. Bluetooth features Twin-Connect, phonebook access, and the new head unit can pull navigation information from your phone. It has a built in microphone for hands-free operation and a programmable unit to control the audio system from the steering wheel. An infrared remote control is also part of the package.

For you audio buffs, a three-band semi-parametric equalizer is on board with presets for rock, pop, and classical music. The four-channel power amp is rated at a maximum 50 watts per each of the four channels, which our in-house audiophiles say should work out to about 15 watts RMS, more than enough to drive period loudspeakers, but don't expect to be able to go to 11. The new Bremen also has four-channel preamp outs, whose 4-volt output should be enough to drive any line-level audio gear. A separate subwoofer output will help with heavy music.

Besides bringing modern technology to a vintage car-radio format, the $500 (449 €) unit also gives owners of '80s vintage Euro cars an economical alternative if the OEM Bremen in their vehicle needs repair or replacement.  An original, pre-owned 1986 Bremen SQR 46 could cost you up to about $1,000 on eBay.