2011 Audi A8 Review
CNET's Brian Cooley says that Audi's flagship has two particularly notable technologies nobody else is offering.
2011 Audi A8 Review
Vorsprung durch Technik, I don’t know I don’t speak German, as if you can't tell. I'm
told it means advancement through technology. But what I like about the new Audi A8 is
two-key advancements in its technology. Let me show them to you.
I love it when car interfaces that need a redo, get a redo and it's a good redo. Audi’s is
just one that was getting long in the tooth. Here’s a completely new look at their MMI,
their multimedia interface. As you roll around the somewhat familiar control knob here,
it's a whole different deal. You’ve got this sort of--what is this--some galaxy of functions.
And those are relatively familiar, but the way you work when you get in them is very
Let's try the navigation here. When I’d drilled on to that and I want to enter an address.
Let's say I'm going up here to the town. As you can still go around the alphabet here then
punch down the letters you want, there’s another way. Look at this touch pad right here
next to the controller. Notice how I can actually draw letters, not like graffiti on an old
Palm device, just draw the letter. There’s I and it tells you what I wrote. Here’s N, see
how that works?
The idea is drivers can do this while keeping their eyes on the road because their hand
knows how to write letters in, you know, space, and you get that audio confirmation that
it got what you were trying to do. We’ll see. It's a very different way of controlling your
car’s interface. And when you’re not in the scribbling mode, you get six radio station
presets. These numbers come up into of those four corners around the thing. We call that
a Black Panel Technology
Beyond that, Audi retains the four zone corner thing though. So when you’ve go into a
menu, you do have functions around all four corners of the screen, and they correspond to
these four buttons around the controller. That’s never been my favorite by any stretch, but
clearly they’re getting good feedback about it, or it would have been redesigned as well.
This car’s also got an interesting, new way of handling adaptive cruise and proximity
Most adaptive cruise control systems will just detect a car in front of you and say okay,
that car is getting too close. I'm going to break and pull back the gap and keep it where
the driver wants it. But this vehicle goes beyond that. It's always looking ahead through
the navigation system and it will detect if the car ahead of you is slowing down with a
signal on and an off ramp coming up. It can put all that together and say you know what?
I don’t need to slow down that much because this guy is signaling to get off the road not
just slowing down, which is what a simpler adaptive cruise system would think. Very
complex sorting and parsing of all the data the car has available to it.
2011 Audi A8 Review
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