In-Car Tech

Everything you need to know about Audi's third-gen MIB infotainment system

Audi has introduced the next-generation of its infotainment system.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi has announced that the third generation of its infotainment system (MIB 3) will arrive in most 2021 vehicles starting this autumn. The biggest upgrades are to the hardware, which includes a chipset that is 10 times faster than the MIB 2 technology, but there's a significant number of new features users will want to know about.

Verizon has become Audi's wireless internet provider.

If you want to use your car's Wi-Fi hot spot to surf the web, you'll need to have a data plan through Verizon. No other provider is available. If you already have a plan through Verizon, you may be able to amend your plan to include the addition of the vehicle hot spot rather than setting up a separate account.

The new LTE Advanced Pro modem is rated for up to 1 Gbps download speed. 

The new modem allows for gigabit internet. That means that the hardware is capable of transmitting and receiving up to 1 gigabyte (GB) of data every second. Consider that the average portable Verizon Wi-Fi hot spot is capable of speeds of just 600 mbps, that's 60-percent of the capability of the new modem.

MIB 3 runs on a new Linux-based operating system.

Audi MIB 3 infotainment system

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Linux is the foundation for many operating systems. Subaru adopted automotive grade Linux for its 2020 Outback and Legacy, the first models in the company's lineup to feature tablet-style infotainment screens.

Up to eight devices can be connected.

While some early mobile hot spots could connect one, two, three, or four devices, the newest models can link to eight or more. The newest offering from Audi allows for up to eight devices to connect at once. It's important to remember that, like your home modem, that the more devices that are connected at the same time, the more divided up the bandwidth, slowing the connection speed for each device.

A variety of bandwidth options are available.

In-vehicle Wi-Fi hot spots are available to be activated in a variety of bandwidth options. There’s the Care base level, and a mid grade Prime package. The Prime package is optimized for audio streaming and remote working applications, meaning its bandwidth is a percentage of the modem's full capability. Upping to the Plus package allows customers to take advantage of the full bandwidth capability.

It has high-definition voice communication technology.

With the new high-high-definiition voice communication technology, the system is able to understand more nuanced, conversational, and natural speech.

SiriusXM with 360L has been added.

Audi MIB 3 infotainment system

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Ram was the first to debut SiriusXM with 360L but its time as the only automaker with the technology is up. For the 2021 model year, most models will have the tech as available or standard. The new SiriusXM offering expands the listening experience of the SiriusXM satellite radio system, adding more than 10,000 hours of on-demand content including exclusive interviews, live and in-studio concerts and smart "For You" content recommendations.

According to Audi, "'For You' allows listeners to easily discover more content based on their listening habits. For college and professional sports events, SiriusXM with 360L allows the listener to easily find the game he or she may want and, in most cases, choose between home and away broadcasts. Individual vehicle profiles allow multiple drivers and passengers to customize and maintain their own vehicle favorites."

The new MyAudi app has a digital storefront.

Audi has improved the MyAudi app to offer several key improvements. The marketplace now gives owners the ability to purchase in-car features and new, more flexible subscription plans.

The app also allows for a more simplified registration and payment process for Audi connect Care, Prime, and Plus subscriptions.

Function on Demand gives navigation now with plans to add more functionality in the future.

Function on Demand gives Audi owners the ability to purchase vehicle functions through the MyAudi marketplace. Navigation can be purchased for 2020 and 2021 A4 and A5 Premium or Premium Plus models not factory-equipped. Additional features are expected to be announced at a later date.

Maps are updated monthly.

In the previous generation of Audi infotainment systems, the navigation system maps would be updated quarterly. In the MIB3 system, the maps will be updated monthly in Audi models equipped with navigation.

Amazon Alexa is more widely available.

Audi introduced Amazon Alexa in the 2019 Audi E-Tron and has expanded it throughout their SUV and car lineup. The new system will include Amazon Alexa and further expand the technology into the Audi model line.

There's new hybrid digital radio.

Audi MIB 3 infotainment system

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Hybrid digital radio allows listeners to enjoy their favorite terrestrial radio station once they drive out of the signal's

For terrestrial FM or HD FM radio listeners on the go, hybrid digital radio allows them to continue listening to the same channel even after driving outside of the channel's range. Either automatically or by request, once the hybrid radio senses a weak radio signal, it will switch to the online, digital version of the same channel. Conversely, the channel will switch back from a digital to a radio signal when it senses better reception.

Upon cycling a vehicle off and on again, the digital radio station will continue to play.

Availability of the Integrated Toll Module has been expanded.

The mirror-based toll payment solution provides accents to select toll road services across the country, eliminating the need for one of the traditional, large toll responder tags to be mounted to the car's license plate holder or windscreen. The technology was first introduced in the 2019 Audi E-Tron and Q7 and is being added to the Q5, Q8, A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8 in 2021.

The list of models expected to receive MIB 3 features includes: Audi A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q3 (late arrival), Q5, Q7 and Q8, with other models to be announced at a later date. Pricing and a complete features list will be available at a later date.

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Chevrolet completely redesigned the Suburban for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

At over 18-feet long, the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban is massive in stature. The redesigned-for-2021 Suburban is also one of the most technologically advanced SUVs to roll off any General Motors assembly line. The question is, is it any good?

Yes. There is no point in burying the lede on this. The Suburban is the Chevrolet to have if you consistently need to carry six or more people and all of the gear associated with it. Need to take the kids to soccer practice? No problem. Need to bring grandma and grandpa on the family road trip? No problem. Need to carry an entire high school marching band and their instruments? Easy peasy. A colleague even suggested that the rear seats are in a different ZIP code than the front seats.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Premier The Suburban has grown for the 2021 model year.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

But unlike Doctor Who's Tardis, the Suburban is just as big on the outside as it is on the inside. The Suburban's boxy shape highlights how functional the design is – maximizing interior space is key. A new front grille and headlight setup comes straight from the Chevy Silverado pickup truck. Massive wheels are needed just to fill out the wheel arches.

Around back, a power liftgate (standard as hands-free in LT and up trim levels) is flanked by new taillights and there's a real dual exhaust for the 5.3-liter V8 that comes standard on Suburban. A 6.2-liter V8 and a 3.0-liter Duramax diesel are also available. All the engine options are paired with GM's 10-speed automatic transmission.

While the Suburban never feels smaller than it is, it is nice to drive. The automatic's shifts are flawless in execution, and the 5.3-liter V8 sounds great on throttle. At nearly three tons, the Suburban isn't light, and the upgraded 6.2-liter V8 is worth the extra money if you're planning on towing or filling the Suburban with people consistently. There just doesn't feel like enough oomph with the lower-spec engine to really get the Suburban moving. The sweet spot might end up being the diesel, like it is with the Silverado, but that's not available for a few months.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Premier The Suburban is appropriately appointed for its price point.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Magnetic Ride Control is standard on the Premier trim, and while it doesn't also include the air suspension of higher-spec models, it does a good job at smoothing out the bumps and imperfections of the road. Though the Suburban does feature a sport driving mode, at no point did I feel compelled to use it to get a leg up on the traffic around me during testing. Leave it to its natural devices the Suburban drives pretty well.

The Expedition drives a bit smaller than it actually is, and the available Pro Trailer Backup Assist is a godsend for someone inexperienced with towing. Depending on spec, you can tow up to 8,300 pounds with the Suburban. That's enough for a small boat or camper, making the SUV a solid rig for weekend getaways.

There's plenty of room in the second row for passengers or pups during a weekend getaway, or longer. The Suburban Premier test unit had captain's chairs in the middle row, so gaining access to the third row is easy. There is also a lever on the side of the second-row chairs that, if you press it down twice, fold ups the seats up and away. While most three-row SUVs skimp in the back, this thing is big enough to seat adults and still have room for lots of cargo (up 19 percent over the 2020 model). In the front, the tester had leather seats that were heated and ventilated that sufficiently performed their functions.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Premier The Suburban Premier comes standard with a 10.2-inch infotainment touch screen.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

In front of the driver, an 8.0-inch digital instrument display is flanked by two analog gauges. A 15-inch wide head-up display (the largest in its class) has full-color, high-res graphics that are easy to read. General Motors makes their digital rearview mirror available on the Suburban, which makes it easy to see what's behind you because without it, you see just your passengers or the rows of empty seats directly behind you.

Chevrolet's latest infotainment system runs the Premier model's 10.2-inch touch screen and is updated to include wireless connectivity for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. That means you can just toss your phone on the wireless phone charger and you're off. A surround view camera does help in parking, though you're still going to want to avoid tight spots in city centers due to the overall size of the Suburban.

The test vehicle was black, making it look like a Secret Service transport for the President of the United States. And after a week in the new Suburban, it's easy to see why they prefer this SUV. The way that the Suburban uses its space is impressive. It maximizes interior cargo and passenger capacity. It's more practical in every row than a comparable Ford Expedition Max, and the V8 delivers better power than the Ford's twin-turbo V6.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Premier The 2021 Suburban has 19 percent more cargo room than the previous edition.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

You know if you need a vehicle this size, and if you do, the Suburban is the way to go. Just opt for the larger V-8 engine and you'll have yourself a beast of a vehicle. The Premier trim is a nice sweet spot, too, with luxury features but without the opulence and price tag that comes with the High Country trim. The test model wasn't cheap at $74,080, but for big SUVs this is the one to get.

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