Navigation systems, Bluetooth, up-to-date weather and traffic information are no longer oddities in upscale vehicles.
However, Audi, the German automotive manufacturer that doesn’t receive the same media exposure as Mercedes-Benz or BMW, has taken the technology to a higher level, with many of the features voice-activated.
Under its Audi Connect™ umbrella, a high-resolution three-dimensional terrain and aerial image from Google Earth™ shows on the dashboard information screen.
An arrow shows the street you are traveling on, trees, buildings and sidewalks (not traffic) and your programmed route.
It is very cool and actually less distracting than a bunch of rectangular spider web lines seen on most navigation screens.
However, it gets better.
Audi Connect™ includes a factory integrated mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for passengers who can hook up to it with a laptop, iPad®, netbook or other mobile device and retrieve web-based information.
Voice activation is excellent and beside requesting a destination, you can get real-time weather, nearby gasoline prices, the latest news, traffic and travel information, like making hotel and restaurant reservations vocally.
Audi has been around, in one fashion or another, since before 1900. It was 1932 when four companies merged to create Audi, thus the four rings that serve as the iconic logo.
Other technological touches – Audi may be the automotive tech leader today – include a head-ups display, a Multi-Media Interactive (MMI®) touch pad that can recognize handwriting in multiple languages, a thermal imaging camera with night vision assistance and an Audi pre-sense system that can electronically assist with braking when a crash appears imminent.
Having test-driven Audi vehicles for years, the technological aids are a pleasing addition to vehicles that are quick, quiet, comfortable and handle with precision.
The 2012 Audi A6 recently was named the Most Appealing Midsize Premium Car designation from J.D. Power and Associates in it is latest APEAL study.