2021 Audi MMI Multimedia System Promises Superior Speed, Connectivity, Content

Medium 2020 Audi A4 6815 scaled jpg 2020 Audi A4 MMI | Manufacturer image

Audi has announced that it will be equipping most of its U.S. models with a new multimedia system in the second half of 2020 as 2021 models start arriving in dealerships across the country. The new MIB 3 hardware (German for Modular Infotainment Toolkit) will bring a significantly faster experience, the company said in a statement, with a chipset that is up to 10 times faster than the current MIB 2 architecture. The system upgrades should first appear in the 2021 Audi A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q3 (late arrival), Q5, Q7 and Q8 this year, with other models following at a later date yet to be announced. 

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Some highlights of the system — if you speak the jargon — include a new LTE Advanced Pro modem that can accommodate download speeds of up to 1 Gbps (gigabits per second), 11ac Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands), HD voice communication and a new Linux-based operating system. All that is great, but what does it actually mean for people buying one of the new Audis who don’t know Gbps from GHz? It means more features for the Audi Multi Media Interface system, new options for data subscriptions and some new ways of using the system as well.

Faster Wi-Fi, More Content

Large New Audi MMI infotainment technologies to offer richer entertainment experience faster processing power and greater functionality 7328 jpg Audi MMI for 2021 | Manufacturer image

The first big benefit is the more powerful Wi-Fi hot-spot, which includes new basic unlimited Wi-Fi with Audi Connect Prime that can accommodate up to eight devices. How fast the Wi-Fi works depends on which data subscription package you choose, however. The basic system works well for audio streaming and remote work applications, but Audi Connect Plus subscribers get the full-bore 1 Gbps Advanced Pro modem access. That faster Wi-Fi might be of benefit with the new hybrid radio function, which automatically switches between terrestrial HD radio and online streaming of the same station when the vehicle travels outside of the range of the station’s HD broadcast.

The satellite radio gets an upgrade as well, with models now featuring SiriusXM with 360L function as standard. The 360L feature, according to Audi, brings more than 10,000 hours of on-demand content, from interviews to concerts, and the ability to customize the interface and content, and even set profiles for multiple users.

Large New Audi MMI infotainment technologies to offer richer entertainment experience faster processing power and greater functionality 7329 jpg Audi MMI for 2021 | Manufacturer image

Upgrade Your Audi Via App

A new MyAudi app comes with an upgraded digital storefront experience that offers something new: Function on Demand, the ability to purchase and activate features in the car that the car did not have turned on when it was purchased. The first such option will be navigation for the 2020 and 2021 Audi A4 and A5 Premium and Premium Plus models that did not have factory navigation activated when purchased — now you can turn that function on through the MyAudi app.

Audi said it will add more activatable features as the system rolls out. For everyone with in-car navigation, the new MIB 3 system will see monthly map updates instead of the quarterly frequency of the MIB 2 system. Amazon Alexa Auto also expands availability for 2021 to include the 2021 A4, A5, and Q5.

Never Miss a Toll Again

Large Audi launches first vehicle integrated toll technology for the US 3822 scaled jpg 2020 Audi A8L Integrated Toll Mirror | Manufacturer image

One of the cooler new features may be the expanded availability of the Integrated Toll Module — a special rearview mirror that can be programmed to act as an electronic toll tag for a number of regional toll systems across the country. Audi says it’s the first automaker to implement the system in the U.S. It is accessed through the MMI system, can manage multiple toll accounts, and can be turned off and on as needed or adjusted to read occupant settings for high-occupancy vehicle lanes. It first appeared in the 2019 Audi E-Tron and 2020 Q7, and will now appear in the 2021 Audi Q5, Q8, A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8. 

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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