Audi’s 2015 S3 Sportback will be the world’s first production car to sport in-vehicle 4G LTE

2015 Audi S3 Sportback front three quarter

Audi is officially the first carmaker to put a 4G LTE-equipped vehicle on sale. That vehicle is the redesigned S3 Sportback, which began rolling off production lines on Thursday, GigaOM reports.

4G connectivity will also be coming to the United States, but American buyers will have to wait until next spring when the compact Audi makes its way across the pond.

Instead of the Sportback hatch, Americans will get an S3 sedan, along with a base A3 model. Audi will also bring a plug-in hybrid A3 Sportback to the U.S. after the two sedans launch.

The S3 Sportback will be offered in Europe with an embedded Sierra Wireless LTE module as part of an optional tech package. European drivers will access their network of choice by inserting a SIM card into the dashboard.

In the U.S., drivers probably won’t get a choice of carrier; Audi will most likely partner with a single carrier owing to the fact that U.S. carriers operate on different LTE frequencies. Consequently, Audi and Sierra would have to make different versions of the LTE hardware, just as phone manufacturers sell phones tailored to each carrier’s network.

2015 Audi S3 Sportback dashboardThe LTE connection will be used for infotainment features like the navigation system, which includes Google Earth and Streetview and social media apps accessed through the Audi Connect system. As with other Audis, the A3 and S3 will be equipped with Wi-Fi, so the LTE connection can be distributed to other devices in the car such as other phones, tablets and laptops.

While Audi is the first carmaker to offer a 4G vehicle, it will be in a race to be the first in the U.S. as General Motors is partnering with AT&T to offer 4G on most of its 2015 models, which go on sale next year. The A3’s spring 2014 on sale date may beat GM’s, but not by much.

A bigger mystery is how much all of this will cost. Audi’s carrier of choice may tack on a fee for the in-car device onto a customer’s existing data plan to avoid service sticker shock, but pricing for the LTE module and the car itself will be announced closer to the on sale date.

Updated: The S3’s LTE module will be supplied by Gemalto M2M, not Sierra.


What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.

Bloodhound’s plan to build a 1,000-mph car has run out of gas

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has officially shut down. The upside is you can now buy a 135,000-horsepower car powered by a jet engine and a cluster of rockets for $319,000.

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.