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Audi R8 E-Tron's All-Digital Cluster And Console: Looks Like Tesla To Us...


The digital instrument display from the Audi R8 e-tron

The digital instrument display from the Audi R8 e-tron

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Audi’s R8 e-tron is set to impress attendees of the upcoming Paris Auto Show with its electronics, such as the previously heralded digital rear view mirror.

From what we can see in a newly-released video, recently filmed at a German technology event, the R8 e-tron will debut with a cutting-edge, all-electronic LCD dash display, as well as a large touchscreen infotainment display on the center console.

We’d say we’ve never seen seen such innovation before, except that we have - in the Tesla Model S sedan. In fact, before the Tesla, the range-topping Jaguar XJ sedan debuted with an LCD instrument display in 2009.

As Plug In Cars points out, the R8 e-tron’s dash gives the driver a power meter instead of a relatively unneeded tachometer. We’re sure the display can be reconfigured by the user as well, as this is an oft-cited advantage of LCD instrumentation.

As for the center-stack screen, let’s just say it’s quite a bit smaller (and thus, in our eyes, less functional) than the touch screen display in the Tesla Model S.

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

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Maybe we’re techo-dinosaurs, but we still prefer looking at a three-dimensional analog gauge over an incredibly-lifelike visual representation of one.

Perhaps we’re still suffering flashbacks from the failure-prone digital dashboards of the 1980s, but adding complexity to a system invites risk if you ask us. What happens if (or when) the R8's instrument display doesn’t illuminate? Can the car even be driven?

We’re not fans of touch screen controls for HVAC or audio systems, either. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but turning a dial or pushing a button is easier than accessing a menu and making the appropriate gesture, if you ask us.

The touchscreen center console from the Audi R8 e-tron

The touchscreen center console from the Audi R8 e-tron

Enlarge Photo


We seriously doubt our complaints will influence Audi’s R8 e-tron design, especially with sales slated to begin at year end. If you liked the Tesla Model S’ controls, however, we’re fairly certain you’ll love the ones in the Audi R-8 e-tron.

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Comments (3)
  1. Analog dials can fail too, but I think they are better simply because they are physical. When you look at a LCD digital gauge, you are just looking at a screen that's just simulating a gauge. And I do think that constantly staring a screens does have a negative effect on our eyes. With analog gauges you are looking at a real gauge that is lit during the day by natural light. I've never been a fan of updating simple things that don't need updating. I remember in the 1990's automakers were showing concepts with joysticks in place of steering wheels and I thought the same thing then. If it isn't broken don't fix it, why replace something simple that didn't need replacing in the fist place.
     
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  2. @CDspeed,it's my opinion that the LCD dash in the Jaguar XJ negatively impacts what is otherwise a superb (if not exactly fuel-efficient) automobile. A car as steeped in tradition as the Jaguar XJ should never use technology for technology's sake.

    I'm willing to give the cutting-edge R8 e-tron (and Tesla Model S) a bit more latitude, but I'd still prefer a set of analog gauges over LCD readouts.
     
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  3. @Kurt, Jaguar did do a great job with their LCD gauges the fist time I saw them it took me a second to realize that it was a screen. I can over look the LCD gauges the current XJ is still a superb car. To be honest it really doesn't matter very much to me either way, I'm just starting to get sick of everything being on LCD screens. I had only seen the Model S on my iPad until Tesla brought one to my city's Plug-in day celebration, it was fantastic to see it in reality rather then in a video or pictures on the Internet.
     
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