What matters most in a car’s interior? Is it the leather? The infotainment system? The sound system? Or the other ancillaries like massage seats or extra cup holders (heated or cooled)?
From an objective point of view, I’d agree that you’d have to have a little bit of everything. In the right doses. But for me personally, I like looking at numbers. How fast I’m going, where I’m going, how much fuel I’ve got left, my turbo boost pressures, my fuel economy. I like facts and figures displayed right front and centre. What better way to do that than with a good gauge cluster.
Now I know some would bemoan the absence of more traditional needles and gauges. I miss it too. But a screen can give you so much more information than a bunch of needles and round dials can. Technophobes beware, the following pictures may trigger you.
When Audi first revealed their new Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster, it was a big step toward the digitalisation of the entire MMI infotainment system. Where TFT displays replaced needles. The screen you see pictured above -is from the latest RS 6 Avant. While I might not be a fan of this particular tachometer configuration, I have to say I’m a big fan of the acceleration measurement feature. If you’d like, you can even shrink your speedo and tachometer to show your navigation information.
(Click HERE to read about the 2020 Audi RS 6 Avant TFSI Drive)
The engineers at BMW have been dabbling in digital cockpits for quite some time now. For instance, the F10 generation BMW 5-Series had analogue gauges before the facelift model came with a fully digital cluster. The gauge cluster in the G80 M3 you see above is an evolution of the digital gauges in the older cars. I think it could use some improvement, but that’s from a purely aesthetic perspective. And I’m no artist. But functionally, it works wonders.
(Click HERE to read about the 2021 BMW G80 M3 Competition Sedan)
The fabled LFA. That’s what the gauges in the Lexus LC remind me of. And why shouldn’t it? It looks almost identical, save for some visual differences to tidy it up a little. The moving circular rev counter may be a tad gimmicky, but who doesn’t love a good gimmick? Certainly not me.
(Click HERE to read about the 2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible)
The introduction of the MBUX system saw a massive shift in Mercedes’s infotainment system. Older generation models had dated gauges that provided little in the way of performance statistics. But the new breed of screens are intuitive, interactive, and incredibly responsive, especially so when you utter something that sounds even remotely like “Hey, Mercedes”. Highly customisable with various colour schemes and display settings, you could spec your displays to show your lateral Gs or skip the performance numbers entirely and dedicate the entire screen to monitor your fuel economy levels.