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Can I listen to Bluetooth audio sources in an Audi? (by LoCal)

14.12.2009 (updated 27.12.2009) - LoCal sent in an answer to this frequently asked question.

This article discussed listening to e.g. music over Bluetooth in an Audi. This article does not cover using Bluetooth connection for phone calls, for more on phone-prep retrofits etc. see the index page of this site.

With Bluetooth capable music players like mobile phones spreading, the question can one listen to music over Bluetooth in an Audi seems to pop up quite frequently. Basically this means, do Audi multimedia systems support the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile, A2DP that allows e.g. mobile phones to uni-directionally stream stereo audio (usually music) from the player to some device (wireless headphones, or in this case, a car).

At the time of writing, the answer is that only support Audi currently offers for A2DP is through an extension for the Audi Music Interface (AMI) called Bluetooth Adapter for Audi Music Interface. This can be purchased from your dealers part desk. Audi Music Interface is, in itself, an optional extension to various Audi multimedia systems (originally for the MMI but nowadays for others as well) that allows connecting different kinds of adapter cables for different types of audio input (iPod, USB, aux). The Bluetooth Adapter for Audi Music Interface is, in fact, a Bluetooth transmitter box that sits at the end of an AMI USB cable and is wholly separate from (and does not need) any Bluetooth phone-prep in the car.

For pictures, see:

http://www.iamaudi.com/audi-music-interface-bluetooth-adapter/

According to reports the device works quite well. However, the biggest problem is that not all versions of the Audi Music Interface support it. There are in fact three different major categories of AMI, not just one. 1) A MOST fiber-optics connected original version for MMI High (2G) housed in a single DIN, car radio sized unit with a pull-out drawer for a media player (usually located in the glovebox), 2) a CAN connected AMI versions for RNS-E DVD navigation in smaller Audis and the A4/A5/Q5 colour-screen radio Concert/Symphony (these AMIs look the same as the original but connect to the car differently via the non-fiber CAN bus and run different software), and 3) AMI for the latest MMI 3G which is built into the MMI 3G main unit and externally only has the AMI adapter connector in the glovebox and a pocket for a media player.

Out of these different variations of AMI, only the original (1) is known to support the Bluetooth Adapter for Audi Music Interface. A software update for the AMI may be required, but the update comes with the adapter on an USB stick (assuming your AMI is not too old to be updated by the user in which case a dealer update is required). The third kind (3) is known not to work with the Bluetooth Adapter for Audi Music Interface, but Audi representative has said that the MMI 3G is capable of supporting A2DP internally (assuming the car is equipped with Bluetooth capable MMI 3G). The interview suggested Audi will add this feature in a software update to MMI 3G down the road (http://www.fourtitude.com/news/publish/Features/printer_4301.shtml).

What about the CAN version (2) then? Does it work in an AMI for RNS-E 2009 edition, or radio Concert/Symphony in an A4 B8/A5/Q5? I don't know. Please report if you have tried it. Technically it certainly fits, but Audi at audi.de/mp3 (which is a good source for AMI related documentation) is very clear that the Bluetooth Adapter for Audi Music Interface is only compatible with MMI 2G cars, so the answer for CAN AMI cars seems to be negative at this time. If you are unsure which radio or MMI your car runs, read this article.

This was the situation at the time of writing, do check Audi.de and knowledgeable forums for the latest info as this is likely to change for MMI 3G/CAN AMI as A2DP grows in popularity. For AMI part numbers and retrofitting notes, see this article and links, Finnish reading audience may also want to read this Finnish article.

By LoCal

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