Audi has also set the bar significantly higher with regard to multimedia technology with the new A8. The optional MMI navigation plus system provides its data to other technology modules. Its new operating concept with the touchpad – known as MMI touch – is another pioneering idea. The phone, audio and infotainment features are equally state of the art.
The core of the new technologies is the new MMI navigation plus, integrating a large-sized hard disk for navigation, phone and audio data. A graphics processor generates the high-quality, three-dimensional images, which appear in the form of a 3D terrain model. Besides the classic arrows, a new and animated display serves the route guidance.
The database of the new MMI navigation plus describes the European road network with countless details. The system analyzes these data predictively, reading the current course of the sedan but always thinking a bit ahead. The data are relayed to the control units managing the ACC Stop & Go, adaptive light and the 8-speed tiptronic so that these systems can precisely adapt their function to conditions well in advance.
On the highway the ACC Stop & Go can exactly compute the lanes even on curves; it also avoids minor errors like inadvertently accelerating in front of a junction where the driver wishes to exit. On curving country roads the tiptronic does not unnecessarily upshift on short straight stretches. And in urban areas the intersection lamp already goes on as the car approaches the intersection, even if the driver does not signal.
MMI touch: a revolution in operation
Audi has entered a revolutionary new path in the operation of MMI navigation plus: it uses a touchpad. To enter the destination or phone number you simply draw the letters or numbers on the control panel with the index finger of your right hand. The system even recognizes Cyrillic, Chinese, Cantonese, Japanese and Korean characters. MMI touch can also be used to navigate on the map. An intelligent auxiliary feature is the Black Panel technology: Here the pad becomes a control panel containing six programmed radio stations.
The new input technology functions intuitively and spontaneously. The driver’s right hand is ideally guided by the selector lever of the 8-speed tiptronic. His or her finger draws the lines as if automatically – and the driver's attention remains focused on the road. The system acknowledges the input after each character with an acoustic feedback signal . In contrast to voice control, touchpad input is possible even while conversing or listening to an audio source.
Along with MMI touch, the new A8 also offers conventional operation with the MMI rotary pushbutton. Further improved voice control is also available on request: Places and roads can now be spoken as commands.
A long line of hi-fi elements ensures perfect musical listening pleasure. The Audi Sound System is standard, integrating a six-channel amplifier, 10 speakers, a DVD drive, two card readers and a dual radio tuner. A dual tuner for digital radio is optional, as are a digital TV tuner and a DVD changer. The Audi music interface is equipped with a USB and an Aux-in connection to form a convenient interface for the customer’s iPod or an external video source. The next hi-fi level is the Bose surround sound system, with a digital amplifier operating 14 speakers through 12 channels with an output of over 600 watts.
The pinnacle of hi-fi listening pleasure: the Advanced Sound System
At the top of the line is the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System. It is impressive for its sparkling brilliance, detailed resolution and broad, finely differentiated frequency range. With their digital output stages, two amplifiers with an output of over 1,400 watts operate 19 aluminum-encased speakers through 19 channels. The two acoustic lenses in the cockpit are recessed and extend when the system is started.
The new Audi A8 also offers rear seat entertainment. The backrests of the driver and front passenger seats contain two flat displays with 10.2-inch diagonals. Their inclination is adjustable, and they can separately display different content. The sound passes through headphones. The rear seat entertainment system has its own DVD drive, a 20 GB hard disk, two memory card slots and an AMI interface; it has also has full access to all other infotainment systems on board. A control panel in the rear center armrest serves the operation of the system – another instance of first-class convenience.
A further state-of-the-art option is the GPRS module for data transmission, employing the services of the internet service provider Google. It retrieves current news and weather information from the Web and aids travel planning. A8 drivers can determine their routes with all special destinations on their computers at home and from there download them to the navigation system on starting the trip.
During 2010 Audi plans to add a UMTS module to the service. Through the fast connection the navigation system downloads three-dimensional satellite images from Google Earth and displays them in a bird’s eye view on the monitor; the computer fills in the streets. Another expansion level provides full connection to the internet via UMTS, making the sedan a WLAN hotspot on wheels for a laptop in the vehicle. Furthermore, the WLAN can be used to transfer music from a mobile player to the vehicle’s audio system. The customer can utilize all services with a cell phone; no separate contracts or fees are necessary.
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.