If you’ve followed me this far on this website, then you’ll know I love car interiors with buttons, dials and switches. That’s not exactly a brave stance, as literally every breathing person in this world feels this way, but I hate touchscreens and will argue against them until my last dying breath. It seems, however, as though we are fighting a losing battle when it comes to Audi’s future interior design.
Audi MMI Touch Response infotainment system is already quite screen-heavy; there’s a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster to start. Then there’s an 8.6-inch touchscreen for the climate and another 10.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment. These screens infect the current Audi A8, A7, A6 and Q8.
Though at least there’s still a volume knob.
The screens won’t stop there, though, according to Motor Authority. Audi design boss Marc Lichte told the outlet that “augmented reality head-up [displays]” are next. Once this new technology is implemented, the digital gauge cluster could shrink in size because it won’t need to contain as much information. And the two massive touchscreens in the middle of the dash might merge and become one, like some gross cell fusion situation. Or to mimic the Tesla Model 3. Take your pick.
Depressingly, Motor Authority presses on:
While today’s setup has a real volume knob, Lichte said in the future there will be no more buttons. The traditional volume knob will disappear, but some sort of alternative will remain, likely a volume rocker on the steering wheel for those who don’t want to use the touchscreen or voice controls.
An excellent bone to throw at folks who like volume knobs. Put it on the steering wheel! Don’t let anyone but the driver access it! Now shut the fuck up about knobs already!
My beef with screens comes primarily because they are distracting to use while driving. My car is from 2002, which means it still has plenty of buttons, dials and switches that control everything. My muscle memory tells me where the buttons are, so I rarely have to look down.
Even if you generally know where you need to press on a touchscreen, you’ll still need to look down more often than not to confirm. You can’t just feel around for the right button. What happens if the touchscreen glitches or gets stuck? Will you be trapped and unable to turn off the air conditioning? You’ll freeze! We’ve all experienced menus we can’t back out of before. Does that mean we’ll all have to get used to the hard-resetting (turning off then turning back on) of our cars, too?
And finally, fingerprints. Sure, a touchscreen looks all futuristic, colourful and pretty when it’s on. But when it’s off? A smattering of greasy paw prints because you went to In-N-Out and didn’t wash off the Animal Style before you got back into your car.
The screens are getting out of control. Fewer screens, please. The people (and also me) demand it.