Audi Driver Horrified After Basic Functionality Hidden Behind Paywall

Technology / 15 Comments

He didn't pay for the feature, so it's simply not accessible to him.

Optional extras have always been something to consider when configuring a car. Sometimes there may be a feature that doesn't necessarily appeal to every car owner, so why not exclude it from the base car to lower the starting price? Usually, this applies to all sorts of cars relating to everything from comfort features to safety equipment. In special cases, some companies will exclude optional costs for extra features altogether.

When a feature is not opted for, it is expected that any piece of equipment relating to the technology is completely omitted from the car. This is a logical design decision, but as one owner of an Audi Q4 e-tron based in Denmark discovered, this isn't always the case. Upon pressing the Sync button for the climate control, he was greeted with a message on his infotainment screen that said "the function has not been purchased".

2022 Audi Q4 e-tron Front View Driving Audi

Fair enough, the owner who posted his experience to the r/mildlyinfuriating subreddit revealed that he did not opt to pay for the car's tri-zone climate control feature. Unlike the American-spec model, it is not fitted as standard to the range in his region. In the comments section, he notes that he would not mind if the button were to be blanked out instead, rather than left behind as a reminder that he may be cheap.

Leaving a button behind in the car when an option is not selected is not a new. Some might recall the infamous navigation button on older Mazda models that will inform you on how the feature is lacking with a very similar message. What's worse, in this case, is that the TomTom-based software sits on an SD card that you can only purchase from the manufacturer for just over $400.


The big question is whether the tri-zone climate system is merely a feature that has been deactivated due to the price not being paid or whether fundamental pieces of hardware have been removed altogether. If so, we wonder whether Audi will offer the option to purchase the feature via the infotainment system.

Digital once-off payments and subscriptions for functions are not a new concept as everyone from Tesla to GM is incorporating this strategy into its current and future models. Audi also has this in place with its Function on Demand service which gives owners access to functions such as navigation and more for a monthly, annual, or one-time fee.

2022 Audi Q4 e-tron Dashboard AUDI AG
2022 Audi Q4 e-tron Interior Overview AUDI AG
2022 Audi Q4 e-tron Driving Back View Audi

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