The "Virtual Cockpit" display introduced with the current-generation Audi TT represents a major attempt to literally reshape car dashboards. It moves all of the functions normally performed by a central infotainment screen into the gauge clusters, allowing designers to create a more simplified dash.
Audi plans to offer the Virtual Cockpit on redesigned versions of the A4 and Q7 that will go on sale soon, but it may be considering a third model as well. The A3 is due for a mid-cycle refresh, and the fancy display could be a part of it, reports Australia's Motoring.
Despite its size, the A3 has always been pitched as a premium model in terms of price and available equipment, and adding the Virtual Cockpit fits that strategy. While fewer A3 customers are expected to choose the system compared to buyers of more expensive models, Audi expects there to be enough takers to justify offering it.
The Virtual Cockpit is supposed to offer numerous advantages compared to traditional infotainment systems. It moves displays closer to the driver's line of sight, avoiding the need to glance sideways to read them. Removing the center-stack screen also gives interior designers more leeway.
However, the new display hasn't won everyone over. By concentrating all of the information in the gauge cluster, it doesn't leave the passenger with anything to look at and leaves out the possible of delegating tasks to the right-seat occupant.
That's less of an issue in a driver-focused car like the TT, but may prove problematic in the other models in which Audi plans to offer the system.
Audi has, for example, already confirmed the Virtual Cockpit as an option on the 2016 Q7 SUV, and the 2017 A4 sedan and wagon, which will be unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Beyond that, Audi will reportedly add Virtual Cockpit to the options lists of the next Q5 crossover and A5 coupe. Infotainment plans for Audi's bigger sedans remain unclear.