Could this Audi change the way we drive?

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New Audi TT coupe debuts completely ‘hands on’ infotainment

Malaga, Spain –

Audi has just launched the third-generation of its sporty 2+2 coupe, the TT. Like its predecessors, it’s one of the smallest cars to use an aluminium in its construction, with large parts of the frame, and the entire outer bodyshell all made of the lightweight metal.

While the first TT has become a celebrated example of car design, the new model is also quite a leap forward, but in a very different way: the inside. 

The driver-centred cockpit (literally, since the whole dash curves towards you behind the wheel) has a radical new operating concept, what Audi terms its ‘virtual cockpit’. 

You’ll notice there is no longer a central display screen for infotainment functions – instead, everything has been condensed into the 12.3-inch, 1,440 x 540 pixel active display that replaces the driver’s instruments. 

The graphics are ultra-slick thanks to the tablet-like resolution of the screen, and they should be: the system is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor which renders the key animations (eg tachometer) at 60 fps. 

Audi has reduced the number of contextual buttons down to two (from four) and while there’s still a central rotary controller which supports touch and text input, the biggest change is that you can control all the functions of the system directly from the steering-wheel jog dial.

Other features include contextual search, expanded voice commands and app-connected capability so you can eventually stream media from your smartphone’s storage or app-based music services. 

It’s a huge shift in man-machine interface, arguably one of the biggest made since BMW introduced iDrive 13 years ago. 

If all that sounds confusing, it’s simpler in real life, being quite intuitive and easy to use when driving, and you could get by without reading a manual. We more or less did – watch this short video to get a better idea.

Check out our overall verdict on the new Audi TT here , driven at its international debut in Spain, on CarBuyer.com.sg. 

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