Audi A8 2.8 Sport Multitronic - Entertainment

By Riyad Emeran

Reviewed:

Summary

When it comes to in-car entertainment, Audi has really pulled out all the stops with this A8. If you're looking to make the most of your digital media, this car will definitely have you covered. There's no obvious infotainment system when you first climb into the car, but firing the engine up will reveal the 7in screen that's hidden within the wood veneer dash.

The 7in LCD screen will stow away at the touch of a button

Audi calls its infotainment system the Multi Media Interface or MMI, and it's basically made up of two components - the 7in LCD screen and the controls mounted in the centre console. The controls are very similar to those seen in the Renault Laguna Coupe that I looked at recently, except that the dial in the Audi is just a dial and not a joystick as well. Audi has configured all its menu systems to make the best use of a dial control though, with all the menus designed around a circular template.

The dial has a button in the centre to make selections, but there are also four soft buttons surrounding it. These soft buttons are contextual and will offer different options depending on what you're doing at the time. When in the Media playback mode the bottom left button brings up a control interface (play, pause, skip, back etc.), the bottom right opens the Sound options, the top right allows you to choose your Source and the top left button lets you Import music to the system.

The Import option kind of gives away the fact that the MMI comes with an integrated hard disk as standard. Unfortunately it's only a 10GB drive, which is somewhat disappointing considering the cost of hard disks these days and the fact that flash memory of similar capacity is pretty cheap too. That said, having an integrated hard disk is better than not having one, and it still allows you to keep a pretty healthy digital music library in the car with you at all times.

The Jukebox, as Audi calls it, also employs basic music management, which makes importing your tracks reasonably easy. Unlike the system in the VW Scirocco which needed you to manually create a logical folder structure for your music, the Jukebox will automatically place tracks in folders sorted by album and artist based on the embedded ID3 tags.

But the Jukebox is only the beginning of your digital media options in the A8. This car also comes with a six disc CD changer and a CD/DVD player. So if you want to listen to your music in all its uncompressed glory, you can load up to seven discs into the car at once. Of course you can also fill all those discs up with MP3, WMA or AAC files, making for a pretty hefty music library on top of the 10GB capacity of the Jukebox.

rav

April 14, 2009, 5:37 am

Of everything I've ready about in TR over the last 5 years this has to come top of my most wanted list. I'd rather have the 4.0 TDI though.

jopey

April 14, 2009, 6:33 am

If anyone reading this is actually going to buy this car... can you just give me the 㿏,000 which you'll lose in 1st year depreciation..? and I'll treat you exactly like an audi driver as you go past in a Mondeo. You won't know the difference, I swear. Tell you what, credit crunch.. I'll do you the same deal for 30K, I can't say fairer than that.

Chocoa

April 14, 2009, 6:42 am

we had to install a high gain antenna on the roof, mounted on a pole just to get Freeview reception. Despite this, the A8 managed to pickup Freeview stations flawlessly while sitting in the car park.





Hmmm, guys, maybe you should look for a better antenna and installer if a car can do it better!

Riyad

April 14, 2009, 7:00 am

@ravmania - I think I'd go for the V10 S8 if had to have an A8. Although in reality it's an RS4 that I'm after.





@Chocoa - As for reception, there is a gargantuan tree directly between the office and the nearest transmitter, so I'm assuming there is better line of sight from the car park. The reception from the Audi's TV tuner was impressive nonetheless.

Robert Elliot

April 14, 2009, 2:16 pm

You don't mention whether it has A2DP? That's my preferred method for playing music in the car - keep it on my phone.

Riyad

April 16, 2009, 7:58 pm

@Robert Elliot - I couldn't find an A2DP option on the A8, but there was so much to wade through that I could have missed it. That said, with so many source options already at your disposal, A2DP may have appeared superfluous.

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