With its innovative display and control concept, the new A3 model series sets standards in the premium compact segment. The central building blocks are the Audi virtual cockpit and MMI touch, both sold separately.
Standard on the new Audi A3 are large, easy-to-read round dials for engine speed, and vehicle speed.
Audi virtual cockpit
With the Audi virtual cockpit, a high-end extra has entered the premium compact segment. On a 12.3-inch diagonal TFT screen with a resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels, the most important driving-relevant information is displayed with flexible, animated 3D graphics.
The tachometer is recalculated 60 times per second, so that the virtual needle runs smoothly and with high precision. Scrolling operations, such as scrolling through lists, are based on a physical model that considers such theoretical factors as inertia, elasticity and damping. Working in background for the Audi virtual cockpit is a high-performance Tegra 30 processor supplied by Audi joint venture partner NVIDIA.
The driver can switch between two views by pressing a button on the steering wheel. In Infotainment mode, a central window dominates the view – it affords space for the navigation map or lists from the phone, radio and media sectors. The tachometer and speedometer are displayed as small dial instruments on the right and left. In the classic view, the instruments are approximately as large as previous analog instruments, and the center display window is therefore smaller.
The Audi virtual cockpit, available in the new Audi A3 along with MMI navigation plus with MMI touch, presents information comprehensively and in versatile form. The spectrum ranges from the clear map display through the dynamic animated graphics and infotainment items, including connect services, to the graphics of some assistance systems. At the lower edge of the Audi virtual cockpit, displays for outside temperature, time and mileage are permanently visible, as are warning and information symbols. The display changes its context-related color scheme according to the main menu selected. In the Media menu, for example, it is illuminated orange, while green is used for the Phone menu.
New MMI operating concept
Another technical highlight of the A3 model series is the new MMI system. Its menu structure has been redesigned from the ground up; operation with its flat hierarchies is based on contemporary smartphones. An intelligent, easy-to-use logic replaces static menu trees, and frequently used functions can be reached with just a few clicks.
The centerpiece of the terminal is the round rotary push-button control, whose ring is illuminated with the optional MMI touch. Its user interface includes a touch-sensitive touchpad for entering letters, numbers and operation with single or multi-finger gestures, allowing the driver to zoom within the map.
Toggle switches for the most important basic menus Navigation/Map, Phone, Radio and Media are located above the rotary push-button control. The generic Menu button and the Back function are centrally located below, with only one button each located to the left and right of the rotary push-button control.
The left button retrieves the redesigned function menus assigned to the basic menus. In the Radio menu, for example, this is where the band selection function is found; in the Map menu, traffic information. Similar to the right mouse button with a PC, the right button in turn reveals context-specific options and preferences. The driver can get directions to an entered destination in the navigation system, for example, display nearby parking lots or save the destination to the Favorites list.
A particular highlight of the new system is MMI search, which is available for all basic menus and like a search engine uses plain text input. It generally answers queries after just a few letters, taking into consideration the car’s current location. When searching for a place to eat, for instance, only the name of the restaurant and the first letters of the city need be entered, and a list of hits throughout Europe appears together with the addresses will appear. Searching for songs, albums and radio stations also proceeds in this way.
Voice control in the new Audi A3 has also been intensively developed further. The voice control system understands a large number of everyday expressions. To call a contact, the driver can just say “I want to call Peter Miller.” The navigation system also responds to natural language inputs (“Where can I find a fueling station?”, “Where is the nearest Italian restaurant?”). This control system, which also allows dictation of text messages, is also available in the Radio and Media menus.
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.