Audi is establishing a regular presence at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Having shown the Swarm OLED Concept lighting system at last year’s show, the company is now following on with a new version of the Sport quattro concept as well as the introduction of the new TT interior.
Why is Audi showing an interior at CES? It’s not so much the new TT’s interior aesthetic that Audi’s showcasing, but the technology behind the interior. Shown as a ‘virtual cockpit’, with a slimline instrument panel, the interior’s highlight is the driver focus display and a new MMI, which focusses on intuitive use.
The fully digital instrument cluster displays all the information directly in front of the driver, meaning that there’s no need for a central monitor. The solution gave designers the freedom to slim down the instrument panel architecture so that it visually conveys the Audi lightweight construction principles, following the trend towards simplifying interiors by removing excess switchgear.
What’s this ‘virtual cockpit’? The heart of the interior is a 12.3-inch TFT monitor positioned directly in front of the driver replacing a conventional gauge pack. Drivers can switch between two display modes: a classic view, with the speedometer and rev counter in the foreground, and an infotainment mode, where the virtual instruments are minimized to feature functions such as the navigation maps in full glory.
When seen from above, the instrument panel resembles an airplane wing. The TT’s characteristic round air vents are set low and have a turbine look about them, reminiscent of jet engines. The controls for the air-conditioner are housed within the vents themselves, with the adjustment functions for the temperature direction and strength of airflow located on their axes. Small digital displays indicate the chosen setting. The overall air of the Audi TT cabin is one of simplification.
What else is there? The MMI terminal on the center tunnel console, the second control unit alongside the steering wheel, has also been exhaustively redeveloped. Thanks to the MMI touch, the driver can scroll and zoom in lists and on maps. And accessing other options has been simplified; in the future, this will be possible using just two rather than four buttons in the area surrounding the rotary pushbutton.
Besides the technological achievements, the new TT interior also features new ‘S’ sports seats with integrated headrests and a seating position typical of a sports car. The slender character of the seats is emphasized by the bezels in the flanks of the backrest and on the cover, while the back backrest is adjusted using the loop. The side bolsters of the S seats can be adjusted pneumatically.
Visually, it would appear the new TT interior possesses many of the characteristics of a sports car, with a simplified interior enabling a more intuitive driving experience. We’ll just need to wait until it’s in an actual car to see if it delivers on its functional promise.
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