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.
”’(centre)The 7in LCD screen will stow away at the touch of a button(/centre)”’
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.