There’s plenty of competition among automakers for a full-sized luxury sedan that’s sporty, fresh, and loaded with cutting-edge technology while still appearing timeless, elegant, and opulent. Many companies struggle to achieve the kind of harmony that warrants a $70K price-tag, but there are few that strike a nearly perfect pitch each year.
One of these is Audi. This firm has always made well-balanced luxury sport sedans, only occasionally missing the mark and winding up second or third to BMW or Toyota. Second place is nothing to scoff at, though, and this year Audi’s latest A series installment, the 2013 A8, has landed the distinction of best overall tech-friendly auto.
Here are four reasons this year’s Audi is a technophile’s dream car.
1. The connection
Let’s start off with the biggest, most impressive feature first.
How many cars have you driven that offer onboard Wi-Fi capable of hosting up to eight devices simultaneously? Your answer would have to be none (not even Back to the Future’s visionary DeLorean). The Audi A8 uses a high-speed LTE connection to do just that.
Imagine the convenience of having your very own mobile hot spot. If privacy is a concern, fear not: the system is fully password-protected. While many autos vied to be best tech car, critics agree that Audi’s A3 was a step ahead because of this advanced onboard system.
2. Improved navigation
If the power of the Internet doesn’t make you feel like you’re David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider, then the A8’s swanky Google-powered navigation system certainly will. Referring to your car as “KITT” may help.
Making vast improvements to standard-issue in-dash navigation systems, Google enables drivers of the A8 to communicate hands-free via a program called Google Voice Local Search. Instead of entering an address, drivers can ask the system to determine where certain local resources are located and direct them to those resources.
Additionally, the media interface uses Google Earth, and provides more than just maps. Instead, real-world images are employed to guide you to your destination.
3. Stowaway screen
For added class, and a little bit of tech-geekery each time you start the car, the A8’s eight-inch, truly in-dash screen doesn’t appear until the car is turned on. What’s more, the driver can choose to display or hide the screen with the push of a button.
The screen itself is LCD and houses Audi’s so-called infotainment technology. It features: navigation, sound and media, vehicle controls, phone settings, and Audi Connect. Enough onboard tech to make your head swim, but that’s not all.
Below the screen, a multimedia compartment provides accessibility via 2 SD card slots, a SIM card slot, and single slot that houses a DVD player (don’t worry, the glove box hides a six-disc CD/DVD changer).
4. The MMI system
Every tech addict knows that touchscreen technology is so last year. In its place Audi has designed the MMI system, which is located just above the gearshift and directly below the multimedia compartment.
MMI is a system of buttons and controls that allow the user to navigate the car’s infotainment system easily and ergonomically. No unnecessary, distracting, and potentially dangerous arm-lifting or eye-shifting once the user learns the highly-intuitive MMI controls.
Using the onboard technology becomes a fluid part of the driving experience, as natural as depressing the brake or glancing in the rear-view. Now that’s smart engineering.
If you’re in SA and looking to test drive an A8 or any other Audi model, check out this site before you go anywhere else. With an Audi, the techno-geek in you is guaranteed to have a thrilling ride.