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Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 Audi A8Audi's flagship has two particularly notable technologies nobody else is offering.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:05 >> Vorsprung durch Technik. I don't know. I don't speak German, as if you can't tell. I'm told it means advancement through technology, but what I like about the new Audi A8 is two key advancements in its technology. Let me show them to you. I love it when car interfaces that need a redo get a redo, and it's a good redo. Audi's is one that was getting long in the tooth. Here's a completely new look at their MMI, their multimedia interface. As you roll around the somewhat familiar control knob here, it's a whole different deal. You've got this sort of -- what is this -- galaxy of functions. And those are relatively familiar, but the way you work when you get in them is very different. Let's try navigation here. When I drill down to that, and I want to enter an address -- let's say I'm going up here to the town -- yes, you can still go around the alphabet here and punch down the letters you want, but there's another way. Look at this touch pad right here next to the controller. Notice how I can actually draw letters, not like graffiti on an old Palm device, just draw the letter. There's "I." "I." And it tells me what I wrote. Here's "N." "N." See how that works? "N." "S." The idea is drivers can do this while keeping their eyes on the road because their hand knows how to write letters in, you know, space, and you get that audio confirmation that it got what you were trying to do. We'll see. It's a very different way of controlling a car's interface. And when you're not in the scribbling mode, you get six radio station presets. These numbers come up instead of those four corners around the thing. We call that a black-panel technology. Beyond that, Audi retains the four zone corner thing, though, so when you go into a menu, you do have functions around all four corners of the screen, and they correspond to these four buttons around the controller. That's never been my favorite by any stretch, but clearly they're getting good feedback about it, or it would have been redesigned as well. This car's also got an interesting, new way of handling adaptive cruise and proximity sensing. Most adaptive cruise control systems will just detect a car in front of you and say ok, that car is getting too close. I'm going to break and pull back the gap and keep it where the driver wants it. But this vehicle goes beyond that. It's always looking ahead through the navigation system, and it will detect if the car ahead of you is slowing down with a signal on and an off ramp coming up. It can put all that together and say you know what? I don't need to slow down that much because this guy is signaling to get off the road, not just slowing down, which is what a simpler adaptive cruise system would think. Very complex sorting and parsing of all the data the car has available to it. ^M00:02:35 [ Music ]