In a move that both presumably infuriates Jeremy Clarkson and certainly reinforces my decision to drive a car that still uses carburetors, Audi announces that the new A8 is the first car to offer an optional wireless internet hotspot for handy- dandy, on the road web surfing. And with that it’s only a matter of time before I see some slick haired corporate flunky dividing his gaze between the road and an inappropriate e-mail to the new secretary at the office. Audi is keen to point out in their press release that passengers can simultaneously use up to eight wireless internet devices in A8s equipped with this option.
The A8’s WLAN hotspot operates through the car’s built in Bluetooth online car phone. To activate the mobile hotspot the driver, err, I mean passenger inserts a data-capable SIM card into the car phone module. Audi says an internet connection can also be established by Bluetooth equipped cell phones with a SIM access profile and that no extra additions must be made to the phone contract as long as it has an existing data plan. The car’s hotspot provides WPA2 encrypted web access at up to 7.2 Megabits per second. Audi claims the car’s internet reception quality is “outstanding,” but I wouldn’t trust it enough to promise my boss I’d be available by e-mail during a trip through backwoods Arkansas.
The Orwellian side of me wonders if Audi employees are going to be logging internet usage statistics in order to better market their flagship sedan. My fears will be confirmed if Inglostadt releases the “A8 XXX.” a porn themed special edition model equipped with Teflon coated interior surfaces, limo black window tint and a “happy ending” setting on the car’s built in seat massagers. Yuck.