So what's happening next?
Audi's reputation for building outstanding interiors is well known in the auto industry. It's not only the designs but the outstanding build quality and choice of materials the German brand has gone to great lengths to achieve. Even BMW and Mercedes-Benz have, at times, struggled to keep up. But now Audi apparently believes its two chief domestic rivals are producing interiors that too closely match its own. What does that mean? Time for an upgrade.
Autocar recently chatted with Audi design boss Marc Lichte and he was quite clear something will soon be happening. "Virtual cockpit will become much smaller and we will have an augmented head-up display. Maybe in 10 years we'll have less displays because HUD will control everything by voice."
Virtual Cockpit is defined by Audi as a fully digital instrument cluster featuring a 12.3-inch TFT screen with a resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels or a full HD resolution of 1,980 x 720 pixels. The displays themselves offer a wide variety of information, such as navigation, media and driver assistance systems. There are even fixed indicators along the lower edge showing outside temperature, time, odometer readings and various warning and information symbols.
Amazingly, these images are refreshed 60 times per second to enable the virtual needle of the rev counter to track everything with utmost accuracy. But as Lichte stated, Virtual Cockpit will soon downsize. How soon? Very.
Although it's not yet official, chances are highly likely the smaller Virtual Cockpit displays will premiere in the 2021 Q4 e-tron, which was recently revealed as a near-production-ready concept. The reason for downsizing the screens is clearly due to advancements made in voice recognition tech and the head-up display. The goal is to free up cockpit space in order to simplify the overall design. Large touchscreen displays just won't be necessary within a decade or so, at least according to Lichte, if voice command takes over.