BMW ICOM A1 vs. ICOM A2 vs. ICOM A3 diagnostic scanner

BMW ICOM diagnostic and programming scanner for BMW, MINI Cooper and Rolls Royce has upgraded to third generation-ICOM A3. Then what’s the difference among ICOM A, ICOM A1, ICOM A2 and ICOM A3?

6 major differences are listed below:

  • Appearance:


ICOM and ICOM A share the same appearance.

ICOM A3 designed with light weight and smaller size

All BWM ICOM system comes with three modules ICOM A, ICOM B and ICOM C

ICOM A – main adapter with OBD II connector for MOST, KCAN, DCAN

ICOM B – additional adapter for optic line, use USB connection with ICOM A

ICOM C – adapter for old vehicles with round 20-pin connector.

  • ICOM Firmware/Hardware

ICOM A and ICOM A2 share the same firmware. Four firmware version optional: V1.1.8, V1.33 and V1.36, and new V1.38. Each version firmware update tool can be downloaded free here:

1.18 firmware update tool

1.33 firmware update tool

1.36 firmware update tool

1.38 firmware update tool

Best quality BMW ICOM A2 PCB display


ICOM A3 comes with firmware version: V1.37

The new ICOM A3 has a better built firmware which supports better heat dissipation feature and able to receive a significantly more powerful processor and more storage capacity. A3 comes with robust aluminum box will help to avoid damage in harsh environments when using.

3) ICOM Software:

ICOM A and ICOM A1 software: ISIS (ISTA-P) and ISID (ISTA-D), the latest version is: 2013.01.

ICOM A2 and ICOM A3 software: ISTA-D ISTA-P (or Rheingold version).

ICOM A2 current version: 2015.6V ISTA-D 3.49.30 ISTA-P 55.4.000

ICOM A3 current version: 2015.2V ISTA-D 3.48.10 ISTA-P

There will be newer software version released continually in the future.

ISIS/ISTA-D=diagnostic software

ISIS/ISTA-P= programming software

  • Function:

ICOM A and ICOM A2 perform same function. But due to the old ICOM A module have problem in the cooling and protection design, ICOM A2 adopts the whole aluminum shell body, using aerial explosion-proof connector; and it use the joint connection line which similar to the Mercedes-Benz SDCONNECT COMPACT 4.

BWM ICOM A2 comes with Network cable, can do Fiber optical programming, but ICOM A3 does not contain Network cable, can not do Fiber optical programming.

  • Operating system

ICOM A: support Win XP O/S only.

ICOM A1: Win XP and Win 7 64 bit O/S

ICOM A2: Win XP and Win 7 O/S

ICOM A3: Professional Win7 64 bit (NO Win XP)

6) Vehicle support

ICOM A2 and ICOM A3 cover the same BMW, MINI and Rolls Royce models.

In conclusion:

  1. The newest version ICOM A2 works better in cooling, runs faster and works more stable, not easier broken than older ICOM.
  2. ICOM A3 can program all units for all BMW series expect media system.
  3. ICOM A3 work more stable and has stronger compatibility than ICOM A2, A1.