New Audio-Visual Breakthrough for Audi in Europe Share Comments Responsible yet again for pushing back the technological boundaries in the premium sector, Audi has just launched a unique new in-car audio-visual system combining MP3 digital music and DVD-based satellite navigation capability. The breakthrough system will be available to order from February 2004 for A3 and A4 Saloon, Avant and Cabriolet models at an extra cost of £2,175. The basis for this unique new driver aid is the MMI Multi Media Interface system launched to critical acclaim in the A8 luxury saloon. Its user friendly, logical function keys and screen layouts have been further simplified for this second-generation version, which features a 6.5-inch colour screen that slides smoothly downwards at the touch of a button to reveal the navigation DVD drive and two MP3 memory card readers. The MP3 readers enable digital music downloaded from a PC and stored within space efficient MP3 memory cards (MMC and SD formation) to be played through the Audi audio system. As each memory card is capable of holding hundreds of tracks, an entire easily accessible music collection can be transferred from home to car and back in a jacket pocket. The DVD-based satellite navigation system has a memory ten times larger than conventional CD ROM systems, enabling greater data storage for more comprehensive, more detailed mapping and faster route calculation times. Exceptionally clear road maps covering virtually the whole of Western Europe are now contained within one DVD for maximum convenience, and these are combined with pictograms giving precise direction, distance and arrival time information. Another claimed world first for Audi is the split screen facility, which enables step-by-step route instructions to be displayed directly alongside the main navigation map, and lists future turns and motorway exits well before they are required. For maximum exploitation of this exceptional system, a bespoke acoustic upgrade by audio expert BOSE is available at extra cost. Tailor made to suit the specific characteristics of each Audi model using a series of additional speakers and amplifiers, it further emphasises the richness and clarity of sound offered by MP3 digital technology. The more familiar benefits of a separate 6 CD auto-changer can also be added to the system at extra cost, as can an analogue television (built into the 6.5-inch monitor) that even offers the option of Teletext. Famed for its Vorsprung durch Technik philosophy, Audi is no stranger to innovation. It was the first volume manufacturer to galvanise steel body shells, to offer the low weight advantages of aluminium Audi Space Frame body construction in series production and to incorporate a collapsible passenger safety cell. The brand has also pioneered four-wheel-drive and TDI engine technology in series production, and more recently has also brought race-developed FSI direct petrol injection and the much praised twin-clutch Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) from circuit to road. For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums at the left.