The latest batch of Audis have undergone a major infotainment system change, shifting from primarily using a control wheel to touchscreens with haptic feedback. Later this year, 2021 Audi models will be getting yet another infotainment upgrade, one that's more under-the-skin and adds extra features.
The new infotainment is simply called MIB 3, which is an abbreviation of the German words for "modular infotainment toolkit" and it's the third iteration. It will look basically the same on the screen, but it will come with a new set of hardware that Audi says is ten times faster than the previous system. That's great, though we didn't have any issues with loading speed on current Audi hardware. The infotainment's operating system is now based on Linux, and the wireless service provider is now Verizon, which in full disclosure, is Autoblog's parent company.
But what really matters are the features that come with the infotainment system, and there are some interesting new ones. Of particular note is the Function on Demand feature. Apparently Audi will start offering features available for purchase through the infotainment system, even if you didn't buy them originally. The prime example is with the Audi A4 and A5, which are available without navigation. But if you bought one of those and decide you do want Audi's navigation system, you can buy it later through your infotainment.
Another feature is the ability to keep listening to your local radio station even after you're out of range. The new Audi system can seamlessly switch from playing the station via radio waves to streaming the station from the internet. This feature will require either an Audi Connect Prime or Plus subscription, which provide data streaming to the car.
In addition to the infotainment upgrades, Audi will roll out a couple other existing features to more models this year. Amazon Alexa will available for use in the Q5, A4 and A5 for the first time this year, joining the A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q7, Q8 and E-tron. The Audi Integrated Toll Module, which lets you pass through automated toll booths without needing an extra transponder on your windshield, will be available on the Q5, Q8, A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8. Only the E-tron and Q7 had the feature previously.
Pricing for various features and data services will be available closer to the on-sale date. Audi plans to have the new infotainment system in 2021 Audi models starting in the second-half of this year.