Yesterday I got behind the wheel of Audi’s brand new, not even in showrooms, A3 sedan. I drove both the 1.8 and 2.0L models. Suffice to say, it’s a very capable cars that can hug the road, traverse the inclines with ease and all the while look pretty classy. But this post isn’t about how the A3 drives (expect that sometime next week). Nope, I’m going to tell you about the A3’s revolutionary new feature.
No, it can’t fly, float in water, or work with Apple’s iOS car system, though the latter maybe something we see down the road. What it can do, or more what can be done to it, is have it’s infotainment processor for the MMI system physically removed and upgraded. A small box sits inside of the glove box, and provided your a trained service technician, or have a serious penchant for tinkering, you’ll be able to swap out what is now a Tegra 2 processor (3 generation’s behind the most recently announced K1) for a more recent generation version of the chip.
Audi isn’t ready to comment on when and if the chip will be upgraded – logical since the car isn’t even on the road yet – or if it will be something that they’ll officially sanction for the aftermarket space. However, on Tuesday night they readily said they weren’t ready to announce this, so one can only assume they will eventually do both, if not on this car, on a future model with a similar infotainment architecture.
On another note, I’m elated to report that Audi can now include a USB charging port built into the car. Previous generations, even on the top end models, only come with the cigarette lighter port. Great if you’ve got an adapter. Image below. Sorry, you’ll still have to use their iPhone 4s connector and purchase a convertor for your iPhone 5 or later if you want their MMI system to communicate with your handset.