Welcome to a new segment called Feature Focus. In this series, we’ll take a look at one specific part of a car that stands out and we’ll walk you through all the details in a quick two-minute video.
Audi is pushing the envelope of in-car tech with its new digital instrument cluster.
This German automaker has replaced the traditional spread of analog gauges with a gorgeous full-color screen. The display spans a full 12.3 inches for an immersive experience, especially in a smaller vehicle like the brand’s TT sports car.
This so-called virtual cockpit is bright and colorful, but it’s also beautiful and responsive, powered by an NVIDIA quad-core processor that drives that gorgeous display at 60 frames per second.
Audi R8 V10 Digital Cockpit
You control this digital instrument cluster via buttons mounted on the steering-wheel spokes. These give you immediate access to myriad functions, from trip information and fuel economy, to audio settings and even navigation. Traditional MMI controls including a rotary knob and satellite buttons are also included on the center console if you prefer using these.
And that’s the most visually appealing aspect of this system. Audi has partnered with Google to bring the tech giant’s class-leading mapping technology to the cockpit of its vehicles. And when you bring up the map, it’s amazingly immersive, giving you a wide-screen look at where you’re headed and what’s around you.
Of course, you can also minimize the widescreen map view, which brings the speedometer and tachometer forward for enhanced visibility of your speed and engine RPM.
Audi Q7 Virtual Cockpit
Beyond the map, this virtual cockpit also allows you to cycle through radio presets as well as initiate and answer phone calls.
Unquestionably, this is the future of automotive instrumentation and Audi is leading the way. It’s a sure bet that competing companies will soon introduce similar systems in their cars, the only question is, will they be as elegant and easy to use as what the four-ring brand has brought to market? Given its track record of approachable, simple-to-decipher infotainment systems Audi could well hold an advantage here as well.