From the Edi­tor

NZ Autocar - - Contents - KYLE CAS­SIDY

Much ex­cess was on show at the Geneva auto ex­trav­a­ganza last month, the new Bu­gatti Ch­i­ron top­ping the billing with its 1100kW and 1600Nm out­puts. And its OTT price tag of 2.4 mil­lion Euros. Ev­i­dently some bloke has al­ready or­dered four of them. Of note, it has a con­ven­tional set of di­als in the in­stru­ment clus­ter, well one at least, a speedome­ter with mark­ings all the way up to 500km/h. It’s flanked by a pair of screens; one a sat-nav dis­play to show where you’re go­ing in one hel­luva hurry, the other re­lat­ing to en­gine rev­o­lu­tions, and a power dis­play. There’s no eco me­ter, of course. For the self-pro­claimed ul­ti­mate su­per sports car, it seems a tad old fash­ioned to have a dial, though we get that it’s a point of dif­fer­ence to have one with such an im­pres­sive to­tal on its face. But that it also has a per­ma­nent dig­i­tal speedo makes it ef­fec­tively re­dun­dant. The days of these ana­logue speedos are surely num­bered yet even when cars have full TFT screen in­stru­ment pan­els, de­sign­ers feel com­pelled to in­cor­po­rate the tra­di­tional cir­cu­lar speedo and tacho. The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class, for ex­am­ple, has an ex­panse of screens span­ning two-thirds of the dash­board, with one-half of that space oc­cu­pied by a set of vir­tual di­als. They look clas­si­cal but make lit­tle sense.

I won­dered about this while driv­ing the Volvo XC90 this month too. It has a dig­i­tal dial and a nu­mer­i­cal read­out for the speed as well. And if fit­ted with the op­tional head-up dis­play, there would have been another read­out and some­thing else to take in. I guess the point is that there are now so many vary­ing dis­plays in cars com­pet­ing for your at­ten­tion that the ones that work best are the sim­plest. And two come to mind; the read­out in the BMW i3, and that in the C4 Cac­tus. These both have small screens yet re­lay all the in­for­ma­tion needed in a form that’s quick and easy to recog­nise, with­out any di­als. We don’t re­ally need in­creas­ingly large and com­plex dis­plays as­sault­ing our eyes, like the Audi vir­tual cock­pit, for in­stance. Let’s keep it sim­ple so we can re­main fo­cused on the road and spend less time be­ing dis­tracted by end­less data that we don’t re­ally want or need.

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