Print 32 comment(s) - last by Spuke.. on Jan 9 at 4:36 PM

Audi's new virtual cockpit is full of win

Audi has yet to show off the exterior of its next generation TT sports car, but the German auto manufacturers is taking the opportunity to showcase the vehicle’s interior at CES.
When it comes to the interior design, Audi has done away with what has become a growing trend — for better or worse — in automotive interior design: huge, central display screens. Many cars today come with large central displays that present infotainment options and vehicle navigation. In the case of the Tesla Model S, its center stack is dominated by a huge, 17” display.

Audi, on the other hand, has completely removed the central display unit and replaced it with a 12.3” display screen directly in front of the driver. Not only does it provide basic information like speed, RPM, and fuel levels like you would typically expect in “Classic” mode, but it can also present all entertainment options to the driver as well as an overlay for navigation in “Infotainment” mode.

Another ingenious touch are the air vents, which Audi says are shaped like jet engines. The actual controls for air conditioning are contained within the vents, while a small LCD on the center of each vent displays the current temperature.

Taken in total, Audi’s design decisions with the interior makes for an uncluttered look and allows the driver to focus more on driving. The company has definitely impressed us with the next generation TT’s interior, so we can’t wait to see how they deliver with the exterior.

Source: Audi

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Basic Mode?
By cashkennedy on 1/7/2014 4:21:01 PM , Rating: 2
I just hope there is a easy to switch to basic mode for the display that removes the map / clutter and takes you to just a big simple speedometer. Way to much clutter on that screen for the quick glance I like to make at my gauges.

The vent controls look retarded... I have so much spare time in my life im just dieing to have to open every door / walk around the car reseting all the vents to the temperature I want because the last person who rode in my car wanted some crazy temperature / didn't know how to work the vents... Its bad enough I have to open vents people closed in my current car.

RE: Basic Mode?
By superflex on 1/7/2014 4:45:54 PM , Rating: 2
It's a freaking TT, not a Hummer H1. Two whole doors and two whole seats. You could easily reach across the car from the driver seat and adjust the passenger controls.

I guess you've never been in an Audi. My 2004 A4 had passenger settings as well (albeit on the center console). Even if the passenger set the ambient temp to 78, it had no effect on the drivers side conditions set to 72.

Me think thou doth protest too much.

Lemme guess. BWM owner. Do all your vents have to be aligned properly and your car USB dongle oriented parallel to the direction of travel?

You know they make medications for that.

RE: Basic Mode?
By Samus on 1/8/2014 2:34:26 AM , Rating: 2
Meh, Audi's are about as exciting as a bowl of grapes. They all look the same. The only difference is the more you spend (or organs you sell) the bigger and more powerful they get. But in the end, I can't tell the difference between any of them from a distance.

And to add insult to injury, AWD maintenance is ridiculous, few offer a diesel (unlike BMW) and the dual-clutch 100k maintenance is $7500 bucks, which is why Audi's depreciate in value faster than any other German brand. Last I looked, only Jaguar and Land Rover lose value faster.

BMW gets you reliability and the best diesel in the industry. Mercedes gets you the most dependable automatic slushbox with the highest fuel economy and the lowest cost of ownership. Audi is just a cock brand for people who VW wasn't good enough for, but in reality, they're just getting the same thing for twice the price and half the reliability.

But realistically, I'd recommend avoid German cars in general for basic transportation. Unless you're a corporate buyer and plan on using the "Hummer Tax Loophole" it's just pissing money away compared to luxury domestic or Japanese brands which are either less expensive, support American jobs, and/or hold their value better.

RE: Basic Mode?
By Brandon Hill on 1/8/2014 2:41:12 AM , Rating: 2
Few offer diesel?


Is that not enough for you? That's a hell of a lot more than BMW offers in the U.S.

RE: Basic Mode?
By Samus on 1/8/2014 6:06:31 PM , Rating: 2
Try getting anything other than an A3 diesel. They are special order, 3 month waits and you pay MSRP + destination + SO costs.

The only TDI's I ever see on lots are A3's.

RE: Basic Mode?
By Brandon Hill on 1/8/2014 8:50:25 PM , Rating: 2
That's not what you said. You made it seem like they have hardly any diesels.

If someone wants a diesel Audi (other than the A3), you can find them on the lot -- but you probably won't find the EXACT one that you want because diesels are lower volume for them. But you can always special order it, do Euro delivery, and save a decent amount on the cost of the vehicle.

Unlike most Americans that are GOTTA HAVE IT NOW GIMME, I wouldn't mind waiting 3 months to get the car that I want. Especially if I have the money to lay out for a $50k+ luxury car.

RE: Basic Mode?
By Brandon Hill on 1/8/2014 8:58:58 PM , Rating: 2
And compared to BMW, Audi offers 6 TDI models here in the U.S.

BMW offers just three. The 328d, the 535d and X5 xDrive35d.

Also, look at this sales mix for the Audi TDIs for December 2013:

Sales mix for Audi A6 TDI finished the month at 12.5%, for the Audi A7 TDI at 11%, for the A8 TDI to 12.8%, the Audi Q5 TDI at 16%, and for the Audi Q7 TDI at 28.7%.

So people are definitely buying them.

RE: Basic Mode?
By Spuke on 1/9/2014 4:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just not getting the Audi has no diesels. LOL! Seriously? Granted I'm in CA but I've seen all of those Audi diesels on the roads. I RARELY see a Bimmer diesel and if I do it's the 335d.

RE: Basic Mode?
By FITCamaro on 1/8/2014 8:21:53 AM , Rating: 2
They all look the same. The only difference is the more you spend (or organs you sell) the bigger and more powerful they get. But in the end, I can't tell the difference between any of them from a distance.

BMW is any different?

I personally love the Audi styling. I'd just never buy either because I don't like spending a fortune on maintenance.

RE: Basic Mode?
By syslog2000 on 1/8/2014 8:58:50 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, all the BMWs look identical (and boring) to me.
Audis also look identical, but they look *so* much better.
I actually prefer Mercedes - they have really stepped up their looks, outside and in, and do retain at least some visual differences between the innumerable models.

You shouldn't need to spend too much on maintenance on any new German any more - they all offer some type of built-in or much-cheaper-up-front all inclusive maintenance.

RE: Basic Mode?
By Rukkian on 1/8/2014 10:05:46 AM , Rating: 2
You shouldn't need to spend too much on maintenance on any new German any more - they all offer some type of built-in or much-cheaper-up-front all inclusive maintenance.

That is fine for the first 2-3 years, but after that, you are on your own on most of these. Usually at most it is 5/50 from what I have seen.

RE: Basic Mode?
By Spuke on 1/9/2014 4:30:40 PM , Rating: 2
BMW is the only (German) one with "free" maintenance, the others don't have that. Now dealers might offer something but as far as I know BMW is alone on that.

RE: Basic Mode?
By Spuke on 1/9/2014 4:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
I'd just never buy either because I don't like spending a fortune on maintenance.
BMW maintenance is a lot cheaper than Audi or Mercedes but still on the expensive side. There are some good Mom and Pop Bimmer shops that are a hell of a lot cheaper though. We bought a X1 last year and one of the top 5 reasons was maintenance costs. Mercedes is just ridiculous. And I refuse to pay $50k for a VW engine and transmission.

RE: Basic Mode?
By WLee40 on 1/8/2014 9:46:00 AM , Rating: 2
Where do you get the data that BMW is more reliable than Audi? I thought that BMW reliability had gone down hill and is now worse than Audi. I don't have any data to back that up, that was just my impression a few years ago when I did the research and went from a BMW 330i to the Audi S4.

RE: Basic Mode?
By wolrah on 1/8/2014 11:43:33 AM , Rating: 2
Naturally aspirated BMWs are some of the most reliable cars on the road, particularly when paired with manual transmissions. VAG products aren't even in the same realm.

Anything up to the E46 will run practically forever as long as you actually keep up with scheduled maintenance. If you get in to maintenance debt, it snowballs fast.

Now they're not Honda-grade reliable where you can literally do nothing but put fuel in for 200,000 miles without trouble, but if you can't be bothered to at least follow the basic maintenance schedule you don't get to complain about a car failing.

The new turbo models on the other hand, I think VAG may be more reliable at this point simply by experience. VAG's been selling turbo direct injected cars for a lot longer than anyone else, and across a large part of their line. The high-pressure fuel pumps and carbon buildup seem to have been issues for all the first-gen DI systems, these days some are better than others still so they're not a solved problem.

RE: Basic Mode?
By Spuke on 1/9/2014 4:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
BMW reliability is FAR better than bottom of the barrel VW/Audi reliability. Granted, BMW isn't the best but nearly everyone (maybe not Range Rover) is better than VW.

RE: Basic Mode?
By superflex on 1/8/2014 12:00:05 PM , Rating: 2

We all know you are a BWM owner and Audi hater. Big surprise.
Personally, I considered the 330 over the S4, but the Quattro system prevailed. Not everybody lives in a snow-free climate. I sure as hell wouldn't take out a RWD 330 on the roads with 6" of packed snow. My S4 (even with summer rubber) laughs at snow.

Do tell, what are the extreme AWD maintenance costs associated with an Audi Quattro?

I own a 2004 A4 and a 2007 S4 and there's never been any issues with the Quattro system or maintenance costs. None.

Your thorough lack of knowledge of Audi diesels is laughable.

Audi has the most models with an available TDI.
BWM has what, 4?


Should be illegal
By Flunk on 1/7/2014 3:14:20 PM , Rating: 1
It shouldn't be legal to have non-driving related screens right in the way of the driver like that. I'm not against heads-up displays or screens but entertainment stuff shouldn't be mixed in with automotive controls. It's a serious distraction issue. There shouldn't be anything that takes the drivers attention away from driving.

The vent-based temperature control is cute but a bit gimmicky.

RE: Should be illegal
By hughlle on 1/7/2014 3:26:15 PM , Rating: 5
While i agree in sentiment, the reality is different.

It seems to me it's safer to have it so that the driver just drops his eyes to change radio station etc, than to have to swivel and drop his head to change the typical center mounted head unit. By you're argument all radio controls should be on the passenger door so there is no way the driver can change thing or be distracted by them, or maybe just do away with it entirely.

You could also argue that you would ask that there is not a single thing anywhere near the driver other than a steering wheel and pedals. changing your AC temp or flow, or using an ash tray, or a drinks holder, or etc etc etc. You are being utterly unrealistic.

RE: Should be illegal
By niva on 1/7/2014 3:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely agreed with hughlle, this is reality and I like what Audi has done here.

RE: Should be illegal
By Talion83 on 1/7/2014 4:18:23 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that the driver will always and should always have access to these systems quickly and easily - but by putting them there they also eliminate the possibility of the passenger being able to assist in controlling those functions as well.

Just like the good ol' days with a physical map, the passenger should be doing primary navigation.

When I go on a road trip with my wife, despite having access to everything at my finger tips (steering wheel) and by voice (ford SYNC) - whoever is sitting in the passenger seat is primarily responsible for the radio and navigation.

RE: Should be illegal
By bigboxes on 1/8/2014 12:01:53 AM , Rating: 2
Well, you aren't always guaranteed that you will have a passenger. If your wife wants to assist then she can whip out her smart phone and turn on the gps. Having it easier for me to see and use while driving is more important than keeping your sweetie involved.

As for radio control, the wife... are you kidding? She can listen to what I want to. :)

RE: Should be illegal
By WLee40 on 1/8/2014 9:38:02 AM , Rating: 2
As for radio control, the wife... are you kidding? She can listen to what I want to.

You have great points!
In fact, I like that my wife won't be able to turn off/down Iron Maiden when it gets too loud or switch it to NPR!

RE: Should be illegal
By Solandri on 1/8/2014 1:09:29 AM , Rating: 2
but by putting them there they also eliminate the possibility of the passenger being able to assist in controlling those functions as well.

They are probably space-constrained by this being a sports car. In their larger vehicles, Audi/VW have both a center navigation/control display, and a smaller display between the speedometer and tachometer. The main controls are on the center display, but a limited number of controls are available in the driver's side display via steering wheel buttons.

It's actually a pretty good system. Best of both worlds. The passenger can browse for what music to play without the driver losing the GPS navigation display.

RE: Should be illegal
By WLee40 on 1/8/2014 9:41:14 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. I have the Audi S4 and it has all the essentials at your fingertips. It is nice having the Navi in the center but I would prefer it in the direct line of view, especially in a smaller sports car like the TT. The larger cars such as the 8 series or SUV should have a larger center display and also the behind the wheel display.

RE: Should be illegal
By inperfectdarkness on 1/8/2014 12:48:43 PM , Rating: 2
Completely agree. I've been waiting a decade for cars to be outfitted with large LCD/LED displays in place of the instrument cluster. Displays that can be configured for a variety of layouts, readouts, etc. It has nothing to do with entertainment. Sometimes I want a GPS display most prominent. Other times, I want the tach most visible. Other times, I really just need a large speedo readout. It's also nice to be able to have more than just 1 color of background lighting for my readouts.

In the future, it might be nice to have a curved/flexible LED display on the a-pillar that can, optionally, display additional readouts to the driver on peripheral readouts (such as EGT, oil pressure, etc).

I have to wonder what MB has up its sleeve though. While it seems that most bench comparisons are between Audi and BMW, I'm still an MB fan.

RE: Should be illegal
By TheDoc9 on 1/7/2014 4:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
It looks like a huge distraction to me, with the readouts that matter - rpm and speed - set in as after thoughts. I generally like Audi's designs but not this.

RE: Should be illegal
By hughlle on 1/7/2014 5:58:18 PM , Rating: 2
Like most things, i'm pretty sure that they would take over the majority of the display upon navigation begin disabled, or do you think that the display would just be a black screen with speed as a small item in a corner?

Alternatively i could say my RPM meter takes up roughly half of my driver dash, yet somehow as big a distraction as it is, i understand that it's important to look at the road, and it suddenly isn't a distraction. distractions are only what people make of them. Otherwise i'd crash every time i pass a billboard.

RE: Should be illegal
By mobutu on 1/8/2014 2:51:35 AM , Rating: 2
Quoted from

" In the classic view, the speedometer and rev counter are in the foreground , while in "infotainment" mode, the virtual instruments are smaller."

RE: Should be illegal
By Reclaimer77 on 1/7/14, Rating: 0
By Murloc on 1/7/2014 4:50:35 PM , Rating: 2
the driver often starts driving and asks the passenger to insert the destination, because maybe he's not even good at using the navigator or his fingers are too thick or the vision is bad.
Maybe the driver is driving and the passenger would like to change radio channel when the adverts come on, or look at traffic information on TMC and read it to the driver.

All this stuff is made impossible by this.

RE: problem
By aharris02 on 1/7/2014 5:42:10 PM , Rating: 2
That's easy: make an iOS/Android Audi app. Passenger connects to your car via Bluetooth & controls everything from there.

It needs two things: the ability to incorporate passenger interaction (perhaps via the app solution above), and the ability for the driver to turn off the map to reduce clutter on the HUD. Otherwise, it's both brilliant and about effing time.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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