Audi is revealing its refreshed compact sports car from the inside out.
The style-icon Audi TT is due for a redesign, and Audi decided that the first thing consumers and journalists should see is the dashboard.
The German carmaker unveiled a TT interior mockup at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show; presumably there’s a car that goes with it.
Audi is known for having some of the best interiors in the business, and really stepped up its game for CES. Instead of conventional gauges, the next TT will have a 12.3-inch LCD screen sitting in front of the driver.
Called a “virtual cockpit” by Audi, it’s a logical evolution of the gauge cluster considering how dials have been crowded out by secondary information screens in everything from Fords to Ferraris.
The LCD display may also draw comparisons with the setup in the Tesla Model S, something Audi probably won’t discourage.
The new layout also eliminates the traditional center-stack screen for Audi’s Multi-Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system, cleaning up the dashboard and putting all of the information within the driver’s line of site.
But is it too much information? To make sense of a potentially mind-boggling combination of GPS directions and engine rpm, Audi will offer the system with two modes.
A classic mode will put the virtual speedometer and tachometer front-and-center, while infotainment mode will prioritize displays – like maps – that were formerly relegated to the center stack.
The system is controlled through buttons on the sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel, or with an updated version of Audi’s MMI rotary controller.
The infotainment rethink has also allowed Audi to make the TT’s dashboard better to look at. It’s taut, curved surface was meant to resemble and airplane wing, the company says, while large, prominently-placed HVAC vents make nice jewelry.
Overall, the TT dashboard is a nice counterpoint to the bloated, screen-and-buttoned-filled affairs of many other carmakers, which seem ready to engulf their drivers in a morass of leather and plastic.
With the new TT’s interior already unveiled, the rest of the car can’t be far behind. Look for it at an auto show in the coming months.