THE FUTURE OF AUTOMOBILES IS DIGITAL
One of the most important new features of the new TT has got to be its revolutionary dashboard and improved cockpit. Dubbed as the Virtual Cockpit by Audi, the dashboard instrument cluster eschews traditional analog dials in favor for a full digital display. To be specific, the new TT has a 12.3-inch TFT display with a display resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels. The display is used to render the tachometer, speedometer, navigation, the various entertainment modes, and the various settings menus.
To be sure, digital displays are not new in motoring, Jaguar and Range Rover have had such displays for the past three or so years now, but none have been done quite in the same way as the Audi TT. The reason for this is because the TT’s display is powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 chip. Though Tegra 3 is a little old by today’s standards, considering it was released in late 2011 and NVIDIA has subsequently released Tegra 4, Tegra K1 and Tegra X1 after the Tegra 3, one must also remember however that cars need to undergo long testing processes for successful homologation. Nevertheless, the Tegra 3 is still a powerful processor by automotive standards and is more than capable of rendering high-quality in-car graphics for the TT’s settings menus, entertainment modes and 3D maps.
To match the Virtual Cockpit, Audi has also redesigned the MMI terminal (Multimedia interface) for the TT. The controls are more intuitive now since it mimic the user interfaces of smartphones and tablets that we are now so accustomed to, allowing for a short learning curve. There are two toggle switches that can activate the various modes - navigation, telephone, radio and media. Then there is the rotary push button that is used to scroll through options and can also be pushed in four directions much like a joystick. On top of this rotary push button is a touchpad which drivers can use to scribble their destinations and even pinch to zoom in on maps. Flanking the rotary push button are two context buttons which operate depending on the menu it is in. And finally there are two other buttons, for calling up the main menu and going back.
One of the most common complaints leveled against personal navigation devices is that for a device that has a specific function to fulfill, it feels sluggish to operate. And although the 3D maps found in personal navigation devices these days are pretty pleasant to look at, the fact is that the device often feels underpowered to use, especially for users who are used to the fluidity and response of a modern day smartphone and tablet. The Audi TT, however, does away with all this sluggish and feels bang up to date and thoroughly modern and responsive. Together with the newly developed MMI terminal,
The display is sharp, but more importantly, the interface is responsive and does not suffer from the same kind of sluggishness that plagues personal navigation devices.