Volkswagen is upgrading its infotainment systems for the 2016 model year, with a new platform that will accommodate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as an expanded version of the carmaker’s own Car-Net telematics services.
VW says its MIB II (“modular infotainment, second generation”) system is all new, and will be available on most 2016 models. The company promises fast processing speeds, higher resolution, and better graphics. It will be teamed with touchscreens ranging from 5.0 to 8.0 inches, depending on the model and trim level.
The Car-Net suite of telematics services will also be expanded. Volkswagen divides them into three categories (“Security & Service,” “Guide & Inform,” and “App-Connect”) and offers a six-month trial for new-car purchasers. Beyond that, subscriptions run $17.99 per month, $199 for one year, $378 for two years, and $540 for three years.
The first category includes features like remote door lock/unlock, a car finder, and a “Family Guardian” feature, which lets parents set speed limits and boundaries before handing the keys over to kids, and sends alerts when those parameters are violated. The service can also generate vehicle health reports, and can automatically notify a call center in the event of a crash.
Some of these features will also be available on the Volkswagen Apple Watch app set to launch later this year. Watch users will be able to lock and unlock doors, check to see if windows were left open, honk the horn or flash the lights remotely, and get directions to their parked cars.
The second part of the Car-Net triad encompasses real-time information for navigation-equipped models. That includes fuel prices, sports scores, movie and weather information from SiriusXM Travel Link, and traffic information from SiriusXM Traffic. Both services come with free trials, but VW owners still have to pay subscription fees when they expire.
The final component of the upgraded Car-Net system is smartphone connectivity. Volkswagen will offer both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for compatible smartphones, as well as the brand-agnostic MirrorLink interface. VW will also include its own suite of in-car apps.
The first MIB II-equipped Volkswagens will hit showrooms in the third quarter of this year. The only models that won’t get the new system are the aged Eos convertible and Touareg SUV.
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