Audi Australia is rolling out its next generation of connectivity services, Audi connect plus. The first vehicles to offer connect plus in Australia will be the new A6, as well as the A7, A8 and Q8.
Acknowledging the popularity of smartphone mirroring programs like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Audi has enhanced the Google Earth-based navigation seen on their first-generation Audi connect system. Owners can access 'connect plus' through the MMI infotainment system and use it to view real-time traffic information, local fuel prices and look for parking spaces.
The system uses an embedded SIM card that’ll connect to the Telstra 4G network and promises a download speed of up to 100MB per second. There’s no extra charge for data for at least the first three years of ownership, as the subscription cost is included in the price of the vehicle.
It’s not just convenience features that are included in Audi connect plus – the system also includes an SOS function that will automatically call emergency services if an airbag is deployed, and report the geolocation and colour of the vehicle. It’ll also tell emergency services how many people are in the car.
If your Audi is broken into or stolen, you’ll be notified via the myAudi smartphone app. You can also use the app to remotely lock or unlock your car and track its location – in case you’re forgetful and can’t remember where you parked your car or if you locked it. Safety and security features in connect plus are free of charge to Audi owners for the first ten years.
Audi has been slow to offer this kind of functionality in the Australian market. Some of the connect plus features, like real-time traffic information, have been available in Audi models overseas since 2016.
Rival luxury brands have also beat Audi to the punch Down Under – Lexus’ Enform suite and BMW’s ConnectedDrive, for example, were first introduced here in 2014 and include smartphone app integration along with weather and petrol price data.
With Lexus’ system, however, you’re liable for data charges while BMW charges you upfront for their package.
Mercedes-Benz is in the process of rolling out Mercedes Me in Australia, which offers largely the same suite of features as connect plus.
Tesla remains the standard bearer of infotainment and connectivity but other luxury brands are trying to catch up. With connect plus, Audi’s narrowed the gap and gotten closer to their future plans to engage in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-everything communication.