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Audi won’t use TT ‘virtual cockpit’ infotainment design for larger models

The 2016 Audi TT’s “virtual cockpit” design is almost more popular than the car itself. Moving all displays off the center console and into a do-it-all gauge cluster, it’s a radical rethink of the car cabin.

However, Audi itself feels the design has limitations.

During a recent conversation with Digital Trends, an Audi engineer said the carmaker’s larger models won’t get the virtual cockpit setup, because the more spread out seating of, say, a sedan or crossover might prevent passengers from seeing the screen.

Instead, Audi is developing a larger, tablet-like center console display for future models. The screen will be designed to prevent fingerprint smudges from repeated scrolling and pinching, which is a major concern to German automakers who find skin oil smudges wholly unsightly and unacceptable.

Related: 2016 Audi TT and TT S first drive

Tesla Motors has received praise from techists for the 17-inch display in the Model S, which handles all of that car’s secondary functions. Audi may not go quite that far, though, likely going with a smaller screen to save space and retaining buttons and some version of its Multi Media Interface (MMI) controller.

A┬átablet-like interface could work well with a center-console layout similar to the one in the current A8, which features a flat-topped shifter that’s meant to serve as an armrest for touchscreen-manipulating drivers.

This would also take Audi in the opposite direction of rival Mercedes-Benz, which uses a horizontal display in its flagship S-Class models, controlled primarily from a mouse-like device on the center console.

We’ll see how Audi’s new approach compares to what’s already out there as various models cycle through redesigns over the next few years.