At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, Audi announced that it will offer 4G LTE to U.S. customers in the 2015 A3 sedan. It launched a similar option in Europe on the S3 Sportback hatch in 2013, and American techists must have felt left out.
Automakers often compare cars to mobile devices, and this new service will essentially make the A3 one of the latter. AT&T customers will have to add their cars to a data plan, alongside smartphones or tablets.
Audi says 4G LTE will allow faster download speeds and high-definition video streaming for up to eight devices used by passenger's over the A3's built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as more responsiveness when using Google Earth and Street View as part of the car's navigation system. Finally, an app that works with the MMI infotainment system is supposed to allow hands-free smartphone use.
The 2015 Audi A3 goes on sale in a few months with a starting price of $30,795, including destination. Audi didn't say whether 4G LTE would be available at launch, but it also plans to roll out 4G LTE on all of its models was they are refreshed or redesigned.
Also at CES, Audi announced its involvement in the Open Automotive Alliance, a coalition of the German carmaker, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Google, and Nvidia that plans to offer Android-based infotainment systems in cars later this year.