Infiniti finally warms up to CarPlay as it builds a new infotainment system

Infiniti Q50

Nissan’s Infiniti division currently lags behind its rivals in the infotainment and in-car tech sectors. Brand officials know this, and they’re taking steps to leap ahead of the competition in the coming years. Infiniti announced plans to introduce a brand-new, state-of-the-art infotainment system in the next-generation cars it will launch shortly after the turn of the decade.

Many of the company’s current models use a dual-screen setup that groups navigation and audio functions in the top screen while bundling phone and vehicle settings in the bottom screen. Francois Bancon, the brand’s vice president of product strategy, hinted the next-generation system will consist of a single, tablet-style screen that will continue to place a virtual boundary between the two groups of functions. The unit will replace most of the buttons, switches, and knobs currently on the center console, a packaging solution that reflects an ongoing trend in the automotive industry.

The executive’s comments point at an infotainment system similar to the one found in current Volvo and Tesla products, though it won’t arrive until 2021. “It’s not a small change,” Bancon told Australian magazine GoAuto. The Nissan-owned luxury company has other plans to boost its cars’ tech quotient until then.

Infiniti will finally begin rolling out Android Auto and Apple CarPlay across its lineup next year. The current infotainment system will receive a bigger screen, while engineers will make the software more user-friendly and intuitive to use. In-car internet connectivity and smartphone mirroring technology will also become available, as will a digital instrument cluster — at least on some models. The twin-screen setup will remain until it’s replaced by the next-gen system, however.

“The quality of the screen is going to change. We are going to improve this, of course. But we keep the twin displays … because the feedback from the customer is quite good, it’s intuitive, and it works well. To be honest, only the media complain about the twin display,” Bancon said.

The next-generation Q70 will most likely be the first model to benefit from the tech upgrades. It might not be sold in America, Bancon revealed in a separate interview, and it most likely won’t ride on a rear-wheel drive architecture. Infiniti will replace the Q50 sedan (pictured) and the Q60 coupe shortly after.

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