From the Editor
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.