The interior of the new Audi A3 has been previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, ahead of the car’s debut at the Geneva motor show in March.
The dashboard, which closely resembles that of the Audi A1 supermini, features a range of new technology which will be available in the 2013 A3.
Audi’s MMI terminal has been completely redeveloped, and is now narrower to fit the slim transmission tunnel of the forthcoming A3. The system centres around the touchwheel, which combines the wheel function of the current MMI with the touchpad functionality fitted to the A6 and A8. It enables the operator to ‘write’ characters by finger movement.
Two rocker switches are ahead of the touchwheel; one operating the telephone and navigation and the other controlling the media and radio systems. Four softkeys to the side of the wheel navigate through the menus and two behind the wheel directly access the main menus. A separate volume control with skip function completes the interface.
The structure of the menu system has been revised. The player and media centre are clearly separated and song titles, albums and artists can be located via a free text search.
Information is displayed on a new monitor, which slides out of the dashboard. The iPhone-influenced screen features LED backlighting and in an industry first, delivers 3D graphics.
The new MMI has been designed to remove risk of obsolescence by incorporating a new Multi Media eXtension (MMX) board, which uses flash memory to make updating easy. The board itself can also be replaced.
Optionally available will be Audi Phone Box, which utilises contactless technology to improve phone connectivity. In the future, Audi hopes to introduce contactless charging.
A head-up display will be offered, projecting key information to appear 2.3 metres ahead of the driver. Future displays will project navigation data in the correct position in the real world environment. As a driver approaches a junction, the HUD will display a transparent route arrow precisely at the real junction. At a distance of 10 metres, the arrow will appear the same size as a physical arrow on the pavement.
Other developments will enable the car to show the direction the road will take after a hillcrest, the distance to the car ahead and the direction pedestrians in the road are heading.
An electromagnetic parking brake replaces the manual handbrake on the current car.