Looks like the A4 is due a major facelift next year.. thoughts?

Daggerit

Registered User
Mine would never be like that, if it's a demo car then god know how many grubby fingers have been on it and where they were before using the touchscreen.

Agreed. I have screen wipes in my car just in case, and it doesn't even have any touch screens! :tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy:
 

johnnythepie

Registered User
YAY!! Been waiting years for Audi to update the 4 in a massive hope that they dump that stupid halfords bolt on dash screen! Im going to have to put up with the awful touch screen crap (have fingers like cows tits and prefer buttons) as all makers are using this tech.Hopefully they will have utilised some adult input in the design and got rid of the three year olds involved in the B9
 

kmanmx

Registered User
That’s not really a fair comparison. Auto makers, , especially for cluster applications (and many infotainment platforms as often one in the same) will use auto qualified components .. AEC-Q100 grade 2 Typically. Sometimes they also have to build in safety (ISO26262)... That has a significant price and quality (low ppm failure rate) premium. Infotainment is now sometimes run from the same unit as the cluster .. component Costs can be 2-3x what you pay for a low cost consumer version. The other factor in the unit cost is longevity. Your average pc motherboard for example, isn’t built to last. Whereas a car unit has long life inbuilt into the design in something that’s moving and shaking about all the time .. Company I work for supplies semiconductors into the cluster and infotainment manufactures .. modern clusters / IVI aren’t simple, are incredibly powerful, with safety standards, with longevity, with quality. And the volume isn’t anywhere near as high as consumer stuff like on alibaba. Sure Audi makes some additional coin, but not as huge as you would think ...
screens come with additional complexity ...not simple. The backlighting, viewing angles , contrast ratios, wide dynamic lighting scenarios etc.. all much more complex compared to an old fashioned screen... implementation requirements are very different compared to a desktop pc screen....

I get that, but even with component costs that are 5x higher than consumer, there is still a huge markup. But I do understand that in the grand scheme of things, the auto industry runs on pretty tight profit margins, about 8% from what I can tell. I would guess most of that profit comes from options when selling cars, I would not be surprised to see very little profit on base model cars with no extras.

Though, the quality of the screens put into most cars is pretty poor. I am sure they do have to meet certain technical specifications and standards, but they are still generally very low quality. The screens in the B9 are better than many, but they are still relatively mediocre compared to many other displays. The reflectivity of the screen in my Seat Leon is higher than my phone, the contrast ratios are far lower, the resolution is far lower, the colour accuracy is terrible, the contrast ratio is terrible. It is slow, it is unresponsive, and it is buggy. I would be very interested to see what standards they are tested too. I don't doubt car infotainment systems are built to be more reliable than consumer grade equipment, but that should not excuse poor quality displays itself. There is very little in the display panel to actually go wrong, it is nearly always the driving IC's and power circuitry that fail. But these are independent of the display itself, and so again, do not excuse poor display quality. That said, when did you ever see a phone display fail through hardware fault rather than water ingress or physical damage ? I assist in the provisioning of smartphones across an enterprise, i've probably has several thousand phones go through my hands over the past 6 or so years, and I have never ever seen an actual failed display on a phone. I have had countless monitors at work fail, but it has always been the power circuitry and can usually be fixed by swapping out a dodgy capacitor. Display panels just seldom go wrong.

I would argue the largest challenges in reliability for auto infotainment and digital dashes are going to be software related. I do software development, and I sure as heck would not want to be responsible for developing the dashboard backend for the B9, or any other car with a digital dashboard. They must do a crazy amount of software testing, and I would bet it is built on pretty old (but thoroughly tested) frameworks and languages.

It still annoys me though, because the quality is so low, and there is no need for it despite all the ISO and reliability standards they have to meet. The newer Tesla's are case in point. The screens are not amazing, but they are still quite good. But more importantly they are fast and slick, they run at 60hz and are buttery smooth and have lots of features like you would expect from a modern iPhone or Android phone. Tesla have to abide to all the same regulations as other manufacturers, but they have pulled off a far slicker (if not perfect) infotainment system than other manufacturers. It is not entirely surprising, as they are in Silicon Valley, home to many of the best and brightest software minds. But it shows what can be done.

I suspect all of this will be forgotten about in 5 years or so though. Self driving cars are going to need so much compute power and development, that powering a slick infotainment system will be a relative breeze. Also, it is likely you will see 3rd parties like Apple and Google try and build the car software/display systems in their entirety themselves. I would not be surprised to see that you can choose whether you want an Android or iOS powered car soon. Both companies are rumoured to be working on it, and car manufacturers are more than happy to pass the buck over to those companies as their forte lies in building good cars, not building nice tech and software to go in them.
 
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Simonb1975

Guest
To be fair, we've had a touch screen in 3 cars and haven't had any issues or accidents. Although I still say there won't be any in the facelift.
 

DohNut

Registered User
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Simonb1975

Guest
Aren't the S's on the same production line. Pretty much the same car with a few tweeks and bigger engine. Thought the RS's were pulled of at some point to finish.
 

wideboybloke

Registered User
Back on the touchscreen angle for a moment, I’m currently driving a hire car that has them (a Jeep Renegade). I think it’s better than the clunky wheel in the A4. We are using the satnav constantly and you can type the required destination a lot quicker than scrolling through to find every letter. The system in the Jeep is also lightning fast. I’d be delighted if Audi went over to touchscreens. Like others, I’d keep a screen wipe handy - although there wouldn’t be many others in my car fiddling with the touchscreen so I wouldn’t see fingerprints as a particular drawback.
 

ScottishA4B9

Registered User
Yeah I’m not a fan of the dial. Every other VAG brand seems to have touch screen apart from Audi.
 

cuke2u

Registered User
I trust the legislators will be looking at in-car system, touchscreens and the distractions they will obviously cause by having more and more technology within them. I can foresee some elements being disabled whilst on the move and quite rightly so. They are becoming not much different from a mobile phone these days.
 

Daggerit

Registered User
I had a play with the system in a new A8 on Sunday. It was nice and easy to use stationary but I don't know how well that would translate whilst on the move with bumps and things. My Toyota GT86 had a touchscreen system and it was a PITA to use while on the move, a lot of the time I'd have to wait until I stopped at some lights or something.

That said, the A8 version has a significantly larger interface and is way smoother in it's operation so I think that will make it a lot easier to use overall. The buttons are much easier to identify than I initially thought they would be and the haptic feedback is a good feature to let you know that you've activated whatever you're pushing.

Overall I think I'll have to wait to try the system in a real world situation, but I do think if they made the screens any smaller you might struggle a bit on the move.
 

Syed Shah

Cars are a mans best friend, then dogs..
I had a play with the system in a new A8 on Sunday. It was nice and easy to use stationary but I don't know how well that would translate whilst on the move with bumps and things. My Toyota GT86 had a touchscreen system and it was a PITA to use while on the move, a lot of the time I'd have to wait until I stopped at some lights or something.

That said, the A8 version has a significantly larger interface and is way smoother in it's operation so I think that will make it a lot easier to use overall. The buttons are much easier to identify than I initially thought they would be and the haptic feedback is a good feature to let you know that you've activated whatever you're pushing.

Overall I think I'll have to wait to try the system in a real world situation, but I do think if they made the screens any smaller you might struggle a bit on the move.

My only concern is that it can be pretty much as bad as looking at your phone when you need to use the touchscreen... unless you know exactly how to do everything without looking at the screen itself
 

Daggerit

Registered User
My only concern is that it can be pretty much as bad as looking at your phone when you need to use the touchscreen... unless you know exactly how to do everything without looking at the screen itself

I know what you mean, but unless you know exactly how many clicks it is on the wheel to get to whatever you're searching for then you still have to look at the screen at the moment. I don't know if it'll be more or less until I try it to be honest. I think even with the climate controls you'll not really look away for more than you normally would to be honest.
 

cuke2u

Registered User
Well there qualifications are greater than mine, which probably doesn't say much for my 'cleverness'...
 

cuke2u

Registered User
I trust the legislators will be looking at in-car system, touchscreens and the distractions they will obviously cause by having more and more technology within them. I can foresee some elements being disabled whilst on the move and quite rightly so. They are becoming not much different from a mobile phone these days.
Just been watching a video of the new Mazda 3 and they have made it impossible to use the touchscreen whilst the car is moving...
 

cptjay

Registered User
Doesn't look like a major facelift to me... Looks like more tweaking and evolution rather than revolution but....
 

obi1 kenobi nil

Registered User
Just been watching a video of the new Mazda 3 and they have made it impossible to use the touchscreen whilst the car is moving...

I currently have a Mazda 6 Tourer and i haven't used the touchscreen at all. There is a scroll wheel and i find it much easier to use because it is down by the gear stick rather than reaching up on the dash.
 

cuke2u

Registered User
Doesn't look like a major facelift to me... Looks like more tweaking and evolution rather than revolution but....
It's a competely new car and the first to combine a compression ignition petrol engine. There is also a four wheel drive version...
 

cuke2u

Registered User
Probably the ones that are small, closely spaced and force the driver to look down or cause any distractions. Lets face it some drivers struggle with any technology within a car, they don't bother to read the manual before hand and assume that, because it has a steering wheel and a gearlever they can deal with it.
Cars have become a technical challenge for many drivers these days and the impact of this, and the safety aspects, need to be examined.
Look at the number of individuals that pose questions in this forum that could easily be answered by reading the owners manual first.
Imagine then those same drivers fumbling around trying to answer their phone, set their sat nav or even trying to work out how to change the track or radio channel.
Seeing as the top cause of road accidents is distraction then it is only correct these distractions inside a vehicle are properly assessed..
 

Jcbmally

Started with nothing & still have most of it left.
You could control a lot of functions via voice command on my previous S3, the new A6 heater controls can be controlled by voice command. But as you say @cuke2u if people would only read the manual they would be surprised on what the car can do IMHO.
 

Nirmal Ramjee

Registered User
Have you seen the new BMW 3 series? Looks like from a tech POV, they have outshone Audi (baring the Virtual Cockpit - which is still a market leader). Having items like:
  • Gesture control for the touch screen
  • Keeping the iDrive controller
  • Wake up Mode
  • Calm down Mode
  • Auto Reverse Mode (which is really cool)
  • Smart voice command (“Hey BMW”)
With the ability to control the MMI by 3 different methods is what puts them above the rest. I think that Audi will need to pull up their socks to compete against this new 3 series.

 

cuke2u

Registered User
Yes, but then it was designed to beat the A4, which is why in 2020 the revamped A4 will be out to beat the Series 3. From what I have heard the interior and every panel below the roof line will be new. Audi have invested 500 million euros in this...
 
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Nirmal Ramjee

Registered User
Yes, but then it was designed to beat the A4, which is why in 2020 the revamped A4 will be out to beat the Series 3. From what I have heard the interior and every panel below the roof line will be new. Audi have invested 500 million euros in this...

Do you think the 2020 model is going to be able to compete with the new version if they are moving towards a fully touch screen solution? Touch screens feel like they belong in the VW, with the more luxury brand sticking with gestures/MMI controller. I may be wrong or a little old school, but always liked the swivel wheel.

One thing that may sway me is if they have a different layout on the MMI for RHD cars. Example, if you look at the VW screen, the buttons are on the LHS of the screen, closest to the driver if your driving a LHD car. For us in the UK, you have to stretch(mind you not that much) to hit the buttons.
Now having shortcuts in the middle means that it’s easily accessible to both LHD and RHD cars. I know it’s a small thing to pick on, but of all the things in the car, you use the MMI the most. Just my 2 pence worth.
 

cuke2u

Registered User
If they are going to copy the screens in the A6/7 & 8 they will be the same. But then there is legislation hovering over the distractions these systems create. So wait and see I guess...
 
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