My 2013 Audi S4 is almost perfect, it’s a great drive, practical, but there’s one thing that makes it feel aged, the infotainment system. This is I believe Audi’s MMI 3G, without any navigation built in, and it’s not great. You do have digital radio, and can play music from SD cards, but that’s about it. No android auto or apple carplay support, and as far as I can find, Audi won’t upgrade that for you. At a push they might, but it’ll cost an arm and a leg. So, I did the next best thing, and bought an add in interface and installed it.
The one I bought cost around £500, which while that’s a lot of money, is pretty reasonable for the car world and the functionality it offers. It was branded “IDCORE”, although sold through Unique Auto Developments. While you can get similar looking kits from Aliexpress, this kit came with excellent instructions, spare trim tools and a literal plug and play setup which I really like. Installation was relatively easy – took about a day to get all sorted and a lot of that was just fighting with trim clips trying to not break my otherwise very good condition panels. Let me walk you through that.
First, you’ll need the display out. To get at it, at least on this S4 – some A4 models have a slightly different trim, as do Q3 and Q5’s with the same setup – you need to take the facia off that covers both the display and the instrument cluster. This was my biggest struggle, getting it off without breaking it. There are three clips on the right side of the cluster – plus it’s clipped to the vent so be careful as the vents are very fiddly and can fall apart easily. There are two the other side of the cluster, then another two on the left side of the screen, top and bottom.
Once that’s out, you can unscrew the display, disconnect the connectors and go fit the touch screen digitizer, the bit that registers your touch inputs – really nice to have. You bend some tabs back to remove it from the bracket, clean the display with an alcohol wipe, then stick the digitizer down, the correct way round, then slide the bracket back on and hook the tabs back on.
Once that’s done you will need to drop the glove box. Start by taking the end cap off the side and removing the 8mm bolt there, then the two 8mm’s underneath. Inside the glovebox, right at the top is 3 more 8mm bolts, then use the radio keys included in the kit to remove the Audi AMI interface – the bit that lets you connect your phone via 3.5mm jack – and unclip the electrical connector. Behind that, up at a diagonal, is the last bolt. Undo that, then pull to unclip the glovebox.
You can then fish the wires from the display, including the new touchscreen wire, down to where the top of the glovebox should be, then start connecting things up. You will need to unplug the red canbus connection from the module just behind the radio head unit, plugging in the patch harness passthrough, and plugging the other end back into the module you just removed the original connector from. You can plug the new end into the interface, along with the video feed in, and the new video feed out back to the display, the touchscreen, the usb connector so you can plug your phone in for android auto or apple carplay, and the audio connector too.
Once it’s all hooked up, you can screw the display in place and test it out. If it’s all working, start putting it all back together. The facia piece just clips in, and the glovebox, now with the interface resting on top, can go back up. Make sure to route the AMI cable to the audio out jack on the box before tucking it away! I routed the USB cable out the bottom of the glovebox and around to the center console, but you can route it how you like.
Then, that’s it! To access it, all you need to do is hold the “Mode” button on the steering wheel down for a few seconds, and it’ll appear. Completely stealthed – you don’t know it’s there until you “unlock” it.
Once it’s on, and your phone is connected, you can do everything you’d expect from android auto, use maps, play songs on Spotify, read your messages and reply. You can control it both with the touchscreen, but also with the wheel below the mode button too – although bare in mind the wheel still controls the car’s system so you need to be careful. Using the touchscreen is easy enough though so I mostly use that.
I am a little underwhelmed with the resolution – i think you can see why – although I don’t think this is their fault, moreso Audi’s. Although, I have encountered a few bugs. Mostly if you’ve already got a route running on your phone with Google Maps, then plug the phone in, the interface will refuse connection and you need to restart the car to get it to work again. If you don’t have a route running, it can also just turn off and you have to hold mode again, but on the whole it’s been good. Definitely a useful addition, and one that I’d happily do again.