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2017 Infotainment System of the Year

Audi Virtual Cockpit 2017 Infotainment System of the Year winner

The repeat winner for 2017 is Audi’s Virtual


  • Audi’s MMI-Virtual Cockpit is a repeat winner BI’s
    Infotainment System of the Year. 
  • Audi narrowly beat again greater pageant from 4
    different finalists.
  • Volvo’s risk-taking Sensus machine used to be the

How excellent is Audi’s MMI-Virtual Cockpit infotainment machine? So
excellent that it is our first repeat winner for Infotainment System of
the Year in 2017.

Audi took the prize in 2016
, and, if the rest, the
pageant has stiffened since then. Consumers are difficult
greater than ever of the generation and connectivity options in
their cars. If you are not aiming for state of the artwork,
specifically in the luxurious realm, you are falling in the back of.

This 12 months’s finalist had been:

  • Audi MMI-Virtual Cockpit
  • Ford SYNC Three-SYNC and MyFord Touch
  • General Motors MyLink/IntelliLink/Cue plus
  • Jaguar Land Rover InKeep watch over
  • Volvo Sensus

Connectivity, apps, smartphone integration (for voice calls and
texting in addition to electronic mail), GPS navigation, and autonomous-driving
options are starting to outline the auto revel in in ways in which
mechanical options did in earlier many years.

As our automobiles turn into extra deeply built-in with sensible,
internet-based tech, we predict you want to supply our take
on the carmakers which are doing the highest process of pulling in combination
these kinds of parts — and do not put out of your mind to throw in Apple CarPlay
and Android Auto — underneath the rubric of infotainment.

As we defined closing 12 months after we first passed out the award, a
nice infotainment machine makes automotive possession a excitement; a deficient
machine makes it a chore. A 12 months later, the tempo of exchange has
sped up. A chore has turn into a possible deal breaker, and all
the automakers with subpar techniques are seeking to repair or beef up
this weak point.

Safety first

But speeding towards the transformation of the automotive right into a
rolling smartphone is not essentially a good suggestion. Car corporations
must tread moderately with how they regulate the use of
connectivity in cars. Consumer Reports has in the previous
recounted common proprietor lawsuits about balky infotainment
techniques. And distracted using is solely as giant an issue in 2017
because it used to be in 2016.

Our technique for opting for an Infotainment System of the Year
hasn’t modified from 2016. We imagine a perfect machine to be one
that plays all its purposes rather seamlessly and with as
a lot of an intuitive interface as conceivable. Right now,
voice-recognition applied sciences are nonetheless at an early level, however
we for sure admire when a producer’s setup works as
marketed and is not clunkier than the extra unhealthy
manual-entry-of-info modes. We additionally admire it if an
infotainment machine is a component of a carmaker’s industry case for its
cars and its generation.

For what it is price, an outstanding infotainment machine is not
at all times like what chances are you’ll get with a smartphone or a pill. If
it had been, Tesla’s large touchscreen — which controls maximum
automobile purposes and used to be a finalist closing 12 months — would win each
12 months.

Reliability, ease of use, precision (particularly in terms of
navigation), and the skill of a machine to be operated whilst
using with out endangering someone had been key standards for our
selection — which concerned debate and dialogue throughout the year amongst
senior correspondent Matt DeBord, transportation newshounds Ben
Zhang and Danielle Muoio, and deputy editor Cadie Thompson.

The giant winner — once more!

Audi SQ5 19
The dashboard display screen in an


Audi’s MMI infotainment machine is the reward that assists in keeping on giving.
It does the whole lot neatly, from managing audio to offering very good
and correct navigation powered by means of Google Maps. It additionally has
Bluetooth integration in conjunction with Audi Connect 4G LTE connectivity
and a cluster of apps.

It is not a touchscreen machine. A central infotainment display screen
emerges from the dashboard, however you utilize a knob, buttons, and a
touchpad to get admission to the menus and contours. In follow, it really works
simply flawlessly because it did in 2016, from Bluetooth integration to
the easy indisputable fact that due to the approach it is arranged, you will not
be taking your eyes off the street as frequently as with
touchscreen-style techniques.

To ensure that, the pageant is catching up with Audi and in lots of
circumstances ditching guide interfaces up to conceivable and opting
for as a lot touchscreen capability as conceivable. But as we
wrote closing 12 months, Virtual Cockpit continues to present the carmaker
an edge.

Virtual Cockpit is a terrific generation that transforms the primary
device cluster right into a customizable virtual display screen. It can,
as an example, show the navigation map and ship the conventional
gauges to the corners of the display screen. This signifies that a motive force’s
eyes are entrance and heart a lot of the time, relatively than darting
between the street forward, the infotainment display screen, and the
tools (in addition to the rearview and side-view mirrors).

There are 3 modes, in step with Audi: Classic, Infotainment,
and Sport. The first keeps the conventional instrument-cluster
format, with more information concentrated in between the
tachometer and speedometer. The 2nd valorizes data. The
3rd — to be had in Audi’s recreation trims — is going old-fashioned and
gifts a elementary device show.

Audi SQ5 16
The device cluster and
infotainment display screen are built-in.

Hollis Johnson

Virtual Cockpit is controlled the use of steering-wheel controls, so it is
much more safety-oriented. In 2016, it used to be to be had simplest on the
A4 sedan, the Q7 SUV, and R8 supercar. In 2017, it comes on
Audi’s A3 and A5 sedans and on its Q5 SUV.

In phrases of the voice machine, Audi’s MMI is state-of-the-art. It
can not fit Apple CarPlay and Siri, however Apple’s machine wasn’t
moderately able to take over regulate of the automotive in 2016, and that
stays true this 12 months.

The general Audi machine is valuable, complicated, simple to make use of,
dependable, and dramatic. It used to be a worthy winner for our first-ever
Infotainment System of the Year, and even if it had extra of a
combat in 2017, it is an similarly worthy repeat victor.

Audi R8 V10+ 18
The device cluster in Infotainment mode on a R8


The runner-up

In 2016, we argued that 2017 finalist General Motors’
MyLink/IntelliLink/Cue plus OnStar had come on very robust as the
greatest challenger to Audi’s MMI in the conventional automaking

We nonetheless suppose that GM’s machine — which has other names
throughout manufacturers, however has necessarily the similar capability — is
set aside by means of the mixture of 4G-LTE connectivity, to be had on
each automobile the corporate makes, and OnStar, GM’s longstanding
suite of communications, security, and navigation generation,
activated by means of buttons on the rearview replicate.

But Volvo’s Senus machine is getting more difficult to disregard. And in
2017, we could not. It’s our runner-up.

Volvo XC60 26
The Sensus display screen in a Volvo XC60.
Hollis Johnson

The cool factor about Senus is that it’s not keeping again. Volvo —
now owned by means of China’s Geely and in the midst to staging an all-out
attack in the luxurious section — needs to face aside and reinvent
its stodgy recognition for making insanely sturdy automobiles that had been
beloved by means of school professors and the safety-minded however lacked
top class sizzle.

Sensus does not move moderately so far as Tesla in consolidating just about
all automobile serve as in one, huge, central touchscreen. But
the huge, nine.Three-inch touchscreen is the closest factor some other
automaker has to a pill in the dashboard, proper all the way down to a
“home” button that may go back the consumer to the base interface.
We’ll be the first to confess that the swiping via displays
required to navigate Sensus take slightly of being used to. But
after experiencing it in different cars, we’ve got began to experience
its quirks.

It handles Apple CarPlay and Android Auto neatly, and for the maximum
section, the display screen is responsive. As with all huge
touchscreen-style techniques, there’s a distraction issue — or,
extra as it should be, an issue of having to interact the machine and the
display screen to, as an example, lift or decrease the warmth, whilst older
machine supply bodily knobs and switches. Still, giant displays
are prone to outline in-vehicle interfaces in the long run, with
shoppers difficult them. And excluding Tesla, Volvo with Sensus
is the automaker that taken the plunge — and brought on each the
industry alternative and threat.

All the different infotainment techniques that had been in the working had
the compelling deserves. JLR’s InKeep watch over introduced a trojan horse or two in
our trying out, however it is a new machine and we discovered its design to be
very good. Ford SYNC Three has adopted GM’s machine in combining a
responsive touchscreen comfortably of use.

Congratulations to Audi, even though, for keeping up its daunting
stage of infotainment excellence in the face of fierce
pageant, proceeding to innovate, and for making Virtual
Cockpit to be had on further cars in 2017.


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