The 2014 Audi A8 L TDI is a joy to drive, as one would expect in a vehicle offering just about everything one could want in a car. Audi’s flagship A8 L TDI clean diesel sedan provides superb style, a great driving experience, creature comforts galore, and did we mention great fuel economy?
This aluminum-bodied executive sedan is powered by a 3.0 liter turbocharged V-6 clean diesel engine that offers 240 hp and 406 lb-ft torque that launches from 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds, while delivering an EPA estimated 36 highway mpg. Once you get beyond the superb driving experience – which admittedly can be pretty captivating – there’s always the incredible world of advanced electronics afforded A8 drivers.
As Audi’s sophisticated Audi connect system shows, the evolution of vehicles is seeing them morphing from just modes of transportation into mobile electronic devices. Drivers and passengers stay connected to the Internet and to friends and family while on the road, plus increasingly to highway infrastructure. Audi is one of the leaders in this communications evolution and the first auto manufacturer to offer Wi-Fi connectivity, beginning with the European debut of Audi connect in 2009 and then introduction in the U.S. two years later.
Audi connect provides broadband connectivity for up to eight onboard devices so passengers can surf the web and send e-mails. Google Earth makes it easier to navigate to a destination. The myAudi Destination feature allows users to log on to Google Earth from virtually any location in the U.S. and download up to 50 destinations. Google Voice Local Search provides detailed information about destinations. Real-time Sirius XM Traffic information available via enhancements to the Audi MMI Navigation Plus system could save time and fuel. Owners with Audi connect-capable vehicles can obtain real-time localized news, weather, and fuel prices.
How much does it cost to stay connected? Audi of America and T-Mobile will provide connectivity for the Audi connect infotainment and navigation system for as little as $15 per month, much less than competitors’ plans. New and existing owners of vehicles equipped with Audi connect can pay $450 to receive full data services over 30 months, or $15 per month. A month-to-month plan costs $30 per month. Audi’s goal is one million connected Audi vehicles globally by 2015.
Audi is the first to offer INRIX Park worldwide. This could save fuel and time since it provides continuously updated pricing, hours, and availability for participating off-street parking locations. Available to all Audi connect subscribers at no additional cost, it provides turn-by-turn directions to entrances of over 18,000 participating parking locations in the U.S. and 42,000 in Europe, with these numbers continuing to grow. Users can find available parking closest to a destination as well as compare by distance or price.
The need for speed is always important. Audi connect’s 3G mobile communications standard currently provides transfer rates of up to 28.8 megabits per second (Mbit/s). However, Audi is moving to the fourth generation 4G LTE mobile standard that supports data rates of up to 150 MBit/s downstream and considerably faster response times. LTE technology enables the exchange of large quantities of data such as music and movies in HD quality. The onboard WLAN hotspot allows passengers to do different things on different mobile terminal devices at the same time. For example, one passenger can participate in a video conference while another watches a video.
In the future, Audi connect will provide a platform for Car-to-X communication that will make driving safer, more relaxed, and more economical. Networked vehicles can alert one another to hazards such as icy roads or traffic at intersections. Communication with traffic lights enables vehicles to anticipate green lights for uninterrupted driving. Car-to-X communication offers great potential for disseminating up-to-the-minute information on traffic conditions with great accuracy that will take Audi connect to the next level.