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.
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
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
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.
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.