Earlier this year, GM announced a plan to integrate 4G connectivity hardware into a majority of its four-brand line, starting in the 2015 model year. It appears Audi will beat it to the punch, though the German automaker's plan isn't quite as ambitious. Audi has started integrating 4G connectivity into the A3 line.
Audi calls the move the very first by an automaker to "fully integrate the superfast 4G/Long Term Evolution data transfer standard into a production car." It plans to make the technology available in the entire A3 range, starting with the S3 Sportback.
As GM explained when it made its own announcement, integrated 4G connections promise to expand the scope of what car infotainment systems can do. Audi mentions that the hardware will allow passengers to take advantage of the car's WLAN hotspot for bandwidth-heavy activities, such as streaming HD videos and video calling. Audi also suggests the move to LTE will help empower the future of car-to-X communications.
The S3 Sportback can be ordered with the LTE option now, and the rest of the A3 line-up will have the option come November. To use the system, drivers can insert an appropriate flat-rate SIM card into the slot in the glove box and enjoy a rolling 4G hotspot.
The A3 has been the beneficiary of some of Audi's latest technology. In addition to the 4G announcement, Audi and Mataio recently made an augmented reality owner's app.