Audi dashboards traditionally excel in ease of operation but their styling was mostly very cool and clinical, to be frank all too boring. Although there also are examples of a contrasting kind in history. Especially the cockpits of the late 1980's Audi 100, the V8 and the first A6 (C4) are worth to be mentioned at this place. Later, in the 1990's, the design became less exciting. That way it goes well with the modest Audi style but in fact it was boring nevertheless. Now, with the new A8, the focus seems to have turned to an interesting, more emotional design again.

Audi A8 dahboard overview

About one year ago Audi presented the Avantissimo concept car including this new dashboard style that bears resemblance to those of motor boats. Because of its conception as a luxury station wagon the car was well observed unlike its cockpit and, at the new A8 it was noticed as less as at the concept car once before. Why? No idea. In any case the all new A8's interior is noteworthy, by far more than the exterior styling which looks great but not so surprising, so stunning, so fresh and new.

Audi flagships were always cars to have fun. No other luxury car was as driver oriented and so sporty in driving manners. The new sports boat cockpit points this believably up. It makes clear that the driver's seat is captain's place and not one of a computer operator like the place behind the wheel of the new Seven with the iDrive control system.

New is, at both cars, the optimal position of the multifunctional monitor. Ergonomics experts say that it is positioned at best, to be in the field of vision, as high as possible. Whereas the BMW provides an integrated solution of placing the display, the Audi's separate fold-out monitor looks more like a makeshift. In view of the A8 cockpit's unconventional styling theme it is anyhow acceptable.

In retracted state, the A8 monitor is masked by a wooden cover that perfectly blends in the architecture of the cockpit but the blank field between the vents seems like something is missing in this car. Certainly not acceptable for people who pay over 60,000 € for a car but Audi fans love the make especially because of its technically focused solutions which is to say they will appreciate a gimmick like an automatically folding monitor and will certainly enjoy this before starting the engine. All the others possibly will find fault with this thing.

Audi A8 dahboard - 5 detail views

That's the way it is. Each brand has special attributes and properties. Some people love them, some tolerate them and some hate cars just because of them. The A8 monitor design will polarise in any case. In terms of cultivating image it is well done, from a short-term economical perspective it's questionable. All those who would buy it at any rate will be enthusiastic about it. Prospects who consider to take one will be possibly deterred by its provisional looking display which means that the sales of the Audi flagship won't be as high as they could.

Don't think the heads in Ingolstadt are stupid and ignore this. Finally it's just a question of long-term strategy. Emphasising on characteristic attributes will strong up Audi's image, will enable to distinguish them from their international competitors, makes them being something special and this allows those typical German extra charge which makes it more profitable in the long run than focusing on sales only.

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