By way of an update: so far no joy. I'm not giving up on these issues yet (not my nature) but I've gone up all the way to the BMW AG board with a bunch of issues including RTTI, the radio, BMW Assist and more. Got a disappointing and unhelpful response back from the head of BMW sales. Even before that, though BMW came back with an offer to to me replace my US-spec car with a European one (on account of the fact that they explicitly and in writing indicated that all of these items would work here). When I said we would be interested in doing that (even though its more expensive, I would be able to option it out differently), BMW then took back that offer when they realized they would have to pay the French VAT, since it would be effectively a re-purchase from us (we are tax exempt, BMW isn't). So instead they offered to reimburse me for the cost of BMW assist only, which is fine. But as I told them, they could keep the money if they would just "connect" me (pun intended) with someone with actual knowledge of their systems who could explain why they don't work (and I could in turn explain my ideas about how it could be made to work). That conversation is all I'm asking for, but I can't get them to see that. I have more than enough background in comms to have figured out that there are possibilities here that BMW is not looking into.
Solutions to the FM radio and RTTI may still be possible because as has been conclusively established, others have had RTTI and the full FM radio working fine in Europe before.
Even BMW dealers in Europe who should be interested in solving these issues because of their large(r) US-spec clientele don't seem to give a ----. I had an email exchange with one of the sales guys at Pentagon Car Sales who first told me that they had an M3 owner who had RTTI working, and then they did a software update and it stopped. When I asked him for more info, he came back with a lame reply that look, these cars are not designed to work here and just live with it! Well, heck, if it worked on one, and they changed the software and it stopped working, then its clearly something that can be fixed. And you would think their operation should be motivated to find a solution, since they sell almost exclusively US-spec in Europe to military and diplomats.
I've also tried explaining to BMW that this is going to be a bigger issue for BMW because they keep making more of these systems US vs rest of the world...and there are more and more US-spec owners because of the military folks buying these cars (military sales were up something like 50 percent over the last 1-2 years). At some point, BMW is going to make some part of their electronics package so integrated with the car (maybe the servicing?) that if you can't "connect" to the BMW system in your country, you won't be able to register the car to make it work in that market.
Anyway, I am staying on this and welcome any and all input on these issues, esp from others who have success with their cars (regardless of what model/year/it may be).
Stepping down now...