Volkswagen is joining the wave of 2016 models that will support some combination of Android Auto, Apple Carplay, or MirrorLink in new infotainment systems.
The company announced Wednesday that its MIB II second-generation modular infotainment platform will support all three smartphone-car interfaces, in nearly all 2016 models and trim packages. (The 2016 Touareg and Eos models are the only ones left out.) Floor models of 2016 vehicles with the systems installed should arrive shortly in dealership showrooms.
Along with the smartphone integration, Volkswagen says its MIB II platform has higher-resolution screens, faster processing speeds, and better graphics than MIB I, which debuted in 2015 Volkswagen Golf models. The lower end system has a 5-inch, 400x240-pixel resistive touch display, while the higher-end option includes an 800x480-pixel capacitive touch screen, which can range in size from 6.3 to 8 inches.
Resistive touchscreens are inexpensive, but less responsive, compared to capacitive touchscreens. A Volkswagen spokesperson says the company expects most drivers will choose MIB II units with capacitive screens. With the latter you’ll be able to pinch-to-zoom and use other multi-finger gestures, just as you would on a smartphone or tablet.
Why this matters: Volkswagen's letting you have it your way when it comes to connecting your phone to your car, covering all the major platforms. It was the first automaker to announce support for MirrorLink, let alone the better-known Android Auto and Apple CarPlay platforms. The lists of cars supporting Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and MirrorLink keeps growing. Our tests with Android Auto and CarPlay had mixed results, but 2016 is clearly the model year when these safer driving options will gain momentum.