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FAQ about the mysterious "vent" in the A4 B8/A5 center console (by LoCal)

22.1.2009 - A fellow Audi enthusiast LoCal sent in this (light hearted) contribution.
This FAQ concerns the mysterious "vent" next to the gear lever (opposite to the parking brake) in the center console of Audi A4 B8, A5, S4 and S5 cars, perhaps the most interesting and hotly debated feature of the vehicle. All secrets will be revealed here!

Is it an A/C vent?
No. There are no holes in the bottom of the "vent", so it would be kind of a bad vent... But more importantly, it does not connect to anything (no tubes or wires) in the schematics.

Does it house the telephone preparation microphone?
No, the telephone/voice control microphone (and the B&O microphone), if installed, are housed in the overhead console behind the small grilles there. And again, see the first question - without holes or connecting wires, the center console "vent" would be kind of a bad microphone cover.

Is it just a blanking plate so that the same center console can be used in left and right hand drive vehicles that have the parking brake on opposite sides?
Yes and no. No to being just a blanking plate (it has another purpose, read on), but yes - it does serve as a blanking plate as well, allowing the same center console to be used in both LHD and RHD vehicles.

See this image (link also to a thread at the end of this article) how it acts as a blanking plate (thanks to Highrisedrifter):

I heard it houses an ejector seat lever and front machine guns switch underneath?
Only with the Agent Pack (and the ejector seat is disabled in the U.S. for liability reasons, VAG COM mods not withstanding). Contact Universal Exports.

Does it have a purpose when taking apart the center console?
No. According to the repair manual that area of the center console is accessed by removing the gear lever hood first, so the "vent" does not seem to have any maintenance purpose.

I can't take the suspense, WHAT IS IT?
It is a coin holder, as confirmed by both Audi's ETKA part catalogue as well as the official Audi repair manuals. They call it "coin holder" in English, "Münzablage" in German. The links below and other Internet forums have pictures of the diagrams confirming this if anyone still doubts it. (Interestingly user manuals seem to have no mention of it, although it does show in pictures there.) And the bottom of the coin holder is actually contoured so that round coins stand in it relatively firmly.

See this image (link also to a thread at the end of this article) how it acts as a coin holder (thanks to jeff_sc):

Well that is one crappy coin holder! It makes no sense?
You're right, it doesn't make any sense. The likeliest use for it would seem to be temporary coin holding when counting coins before parking or preparing for a toll booth, but leaving coins in the open while parked or while driving/braking at higher speeds when the car shakes and moves around a lot seems risky. Audi has made far better coin holders for past vehicle models, this seems more of an after-thought, maybe for the blanking plate purpose.

I don't own the car, but I've got to get my hands on one of these babies! Where can I get my own eject... coin holder?
Fear not, your friendly Audi spare-parts desk will gladly help you to one for an über-nominal fee. The part numbers are 8K1 858 323 for left-hand drive vehicles and 8K2 858 323 for right-hand drive. Go ahead and join in on the excitement!

Links to the ever-informative A5OC.com:

Center Console Mystery

Did you know....

By LoCal

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