The automaker has been falling behind in this area for years.
With a price tag of $360,300, you'd expect the Aston Martin DBS Volante to come equipped with just about every bell and whistle out there. That's true for the most part but, despite the eye-watering price tag, the V12 droptop has a rather outdated infotainment system. Aside from a woefully small eight-inch display, the brutish Brit doesn't even have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
According to Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman, the old-fashioned infotainment system will soon be a thing of the past. "What you have to remember is, we are an independent brand," said Reichman to TechCrunch. "That has huge benefits and sometimes disadvantages as well, and we have to cut our cloth accordingly."
But now that the Gaydon-based automaker's finances are looking rosier, it can look at developing its own modern, touchscreen-based infotainment system.
As the automotive industry prepares for the advent of electric vehicles and high-tech software, Aston Martin will require cutting-edge displays that meet the standards of its customers. Reichman describes the next-gen system as "more state-of-the-art." He added, "with electrification, UX and UI is our price of entry."
Aston Martin has lagged behind the rest of the industry for years, relying on Mercedes-Benz's old Comand system. While easy to use, its lack of features and outdated graphics leave a lot to be desired. "Mercedes gave us the reliability, but the user interface the consumer expects in the luxury market now has to go way beyond that," said Aston Martin's Alex Long.
"I think it's always difficult for small manufacturers to develop market competitive solutions," he added. Does that mean the automaker will borrow yet again from Mercedes-Benz? Certainly not.
At the global introduction of the DBX 707, Aston Martin engineers told CarBuzz that the new infotainment setup would be developed in-house and work has already begun. The new system will provide a true Aston Martin experience, right down to the infotainment and interface.
Thankfully, the luxury brand is not looking to ruin the cabin ambiance of its vehicles by shoehorning complicated screens into every crevice. Physical climate controls will remain, as high-quality buttons are critical to a tactile, luxurious experience. "I think other companies have learned that if you put everything on the screen, it's really difficult," said Long.
"You don't just turn the wipers on; instead, you've got to press three times into a screen that's ... not that big." Don't expect a large screen a la Mercedes EQS, either. "We're not focused on acres of screen," added Long.
Long believes that a luxury car interior shouldn't be dominated by myriad touchscreens and, frankly, we agree. You don't measure luxury in a home by how many televisions there are, so why do we do the same in vehicles? "Because your eye-line is only in a certain area, you just want the navigation and primary controls."
He added, "You don't want to be disrupted with something else from the other side of the car. So we're not going to give up all the dashboard real estate to [the] screen." Rival brand Bentley, for example, gives Continental and Flying Spur owners the option to completely conceal the screen.
We're not sure whether Aston will follow a similar path, but we're thankful that future interiors will maintain the traditional milled switches and leatherwork. "People expect the jewelry of the car," said Long. "[They] love the smell of the leather, the touch of the cold switches in the morning."