If you were at Audi’s 2012 Consumer Electronics Show display, you might think you were in Frankfurt instead of Las Vegas, as the predominant language spoken at the display was German. You might also wonder how Audi shifted its priorities into making CES its January venue of choice instead of that little gig in Detroit.
Nevertheless, the automaker from Ingolstadt used Sin City to not only show its updated MMI infotainment software and its new safety systems in an A8, but it also used it to show several concepts including what is said to be the next interior for the second generation of Audi’s A3 compact to reach North American shores.
The interior itself is nothing dramatic. It still looks and feels like an Audi should. But its technology is more a chip off its bigger, more expensive siblings than it ever has been before. In the latest iteration, it will feature a pop-up LED screen to display MMI and navigation features. It will also have Audi’s remarkable touchpad that will let drivers spell out letters and numbers for addresses instead of having to sift through a scroll wheel’s length of characters. Pretty nifty stuff, we figure, as it’s been a unique feature for the MMI unit featured in the Audi A7 and the full-size A8 up until now.
Also cool on the A3 are the jet engine-inspired vents and contrasting orange seat bolsters on the leather thrones. It all comes together to make for a solid, upscale offering despite its compact dimensions and more plebeian Volkswagen Golf-based origins.
Depending on when Audi can get everything squared away with the rest of the design, we’re likely to see the rest of the car reach showrooms for the 2013 or 2014 model year at the latest.