We knew Audi's 4G-enabled rides were coming, but not exactly when. That changes now, as the company has announced that the S3 Sportback is hitting dealer lots in Europe starting today. Us Yanks will have to wait until next spring to use long term evolution speeds with the Audi Connect infotainment system, and even then it'll be in the A3 sedan, not its sportier cousin. According to GigaOM, Europeans can access LTE from any carrier they choose, whereas domestic options remain ambiguous. The German automaker said that stateside, 4G connectivity will most likely be tied to a specific operator, similar to how smartphones are optimized for each carrier. Negotiations as to which "carrier or carriers" will supply mobile broadband are still up in the air too, with an announcement promised for a later date. We'd like to have pricing info then, too.

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Superfast 4G mobile internet – a first for the Audi A3

Aug 15, 2013

4G data connection extends to the Audi A3 range for swift and seamless web surfing

Functionality debuts in the new Audi S3 Sportback
Full A3 family integration from November
WLAN hotspot enables independent connections capable of video conferencing and high-speed streaming

Audi connect in-car internet access has just received a turbo boost as the Vorsprung durch Technik brand becomes the first carmaker to fully integrate the superfast 4G/Long Term Evolution data transfer standard into a production car.

The new fourth generation or '4G' technology has just become available in the Audi S3 Sportback, and will reach all other variants in the premium compact range in November. The integration of 4G/LTE marks a very important step in the evolution of the Audi connect system, which networks the car with the driver and the Internet, and in the future could also provide an interface with the infrastructure and with other vehicles.

4G/LTE considerably broadens the scope of what is possible with in-car 'infotainment'. This most advanced of mobile communication standards is currently available on a relatively small scale in the UK, but is scheduled for a wider roll-out during 2013. It enables the transfer of large amounts of data, such as music and films in HD quality, via the Internet.

In the Audi S3 Sportback, the MMI navigation plus uses 4G/LTE to deliver the many services of Audi connect to the driver – from navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View to Audi music stream web radio and online traffic information. Facebook and Twitter social media platforms have also been made vehicle-friendly with a text-to-speech function and a status function with prepared text modules. The ever expanding list of features also includes a fuel station locator which incorporates distance and pricing information, and a local parking availability and pricing function.

To use LTE, MMI Navigation Plus with Audi connect is required – available as part of the Technology package - and a suitable SIM card with a data flat rate simply needs to be inserted into the appropriate slot in the glovebox of the Audi S3 Sportback. When the passengers connect their mobile end devices to the WLAN hotspot integrated into the car, they can surf the web independently of one another. For example, one passenger can participate in a video conference while another watches a video.

LTE technology can be ordered for the Audi S3 Sportback now, and for all other variants of the A3 family from November. Audi connect is the keyword for the brand's intensive efforts to continuously develop new networking solutions. New technologies are increasingly making cars with the four rings more of an experiential space. The LTE standard is expected to provide a strong boost to the seamless use of media stored on a server on the Internet (data in the cloud). Audi is also a major driving force behind the networking with other automobiles and the transport infrastructure (car-to-X-communication).

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Audi's LTE S3 Sportback at European dealers now, 4G A3 hits US next spring