Although it was discussed at last week's CES 2014, Audi really has done some killer work with its next-generation instrument panel as seen at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show (NAIAS).
You may ask, how do we know?
Well, not only did we take a look at last week's press release and see the various photos but we walked through the entire system in Detroit. And if you follow along Agent 001's shots below, you'll see the unbelievable capability this yields for drives not wanting to take their eyes from the vehicle's center stack.
Note the systems graphical user interface (GUI) and how clean it is? How about the social media integration and how it works like an Apple operating system (OS) equipped with notifications.
It's all very, very sexy stuff that we'd be very happy to see in the next-gen Audi products.
What say you, though? What are YOUR impressions of Audi's instrument panel solution?
2014 Detroit Auto Show
An excerpt from the Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Concept's press release follows:
Joy of use: interior and user interfaces
The versatility and functionality of the Audi allroad shooting brake is ideal for young, sporty and active people. In the winter in California, for example, they could drive the car from Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Mountains for snowboarding in the morning, and then head out to at Venice Beach for some kite surfing in the afternoon.
There is plenty of room for four passengers inside. In front, the narrow sport seats give the driver and front passenger optimal body support; they feature highly contoured lateral panels and integrated head restraints, while cushioned pads support the thighs in quick driving through curves. An easy entry function makes it easier to enter the rear seating area. When the rear seatback is folded down, a cargo area with a level cargo floor is created, in which there is space for rather large sports equipment.
Designed with clean and taut lines, the interior of the show car utilizes the colors anthracite and rock grey. The materials reflect the skillful handiwork of Audi designers – this is evident in the alcantara rooflining and in the various qualities of leather and the bright and dark aluminum materials that are used for controls and trim, e.g. on the air nozzles and the spokes of the multifunction steering wheel.
The interior design of the Audi allroad shooting brake also follows the Audi philosophy of lightweight design, sporty elegance and easy to use controls. When viewed from the top, the instrument panel resembles the wing surface of an airplane, and the round air nozzles elicit associations to jet engines. The controls for the climate control system are located here. Their center spindles contain the controls for seat heating, temperature and the direction and intensity of the air streams. They automatically extend out from the instrument panel when they sense a hand approaching. The lights are activated by a button, and a plate-type handle opens the door.
The center console travels together with seat adjustments so that the controls remain at an optimal distance to the driver. Individual fine adjustment is also possible. The controls – the electronic selector lever of the e-S tronic (shift-by-wire) and the terminal of the MMI user interface – are always ideally within reach and can be optimally adjusted to the height and preferences of the driver.
The new design of the MMI terminal and sporty design of the multifunction steering wheel lets the driver control nearly all functions of the Audi allroad shooting brake intuitively. The operating strategy imparts a new type of "joy of use" – the menu structure is based on that of a smart phone, which includes a free text search function. It is easy to access all major functions, and multitouch gestures on the touchpad of the MMI terminal enable quick scrolling and zooming in lists and maps.
The cockpit is very focused on the driver. The steering wheel and digital instrument cluster lie in a single direct line of sight. The TFT display with its 12.3 inch screen presents all key information in top quality 3D graphics and offers a variety of modes. In the classic view, the powermeter for the plug-in hybrid drive system and the speedometer are in the foreground, while in Infotainment mode elements such as the large navigation map dominate, and in Sport mode the tachometer is prominently displayed.
Another forward-looking feature in the show car is the Audi phone box, which links the driver's cell phone to the vehicle electrical system and can inductively charge it as necessary.
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2014 Detroit Auto Show