• Jun 5th 2008 at 9:31AM
  • 9

Click on image above for a high-res photo gallery of the Audi Q5

Audi's next-gen Multi-Media Interface (MMI) technology will debut in the new Audi Q5 compact crossover arriving later this year. Built by Harmon/Becker Automotive Systems, it is reportedly going to set benchmarks for automotive navigation, communication, and wide-screen entertainment. (We'll just pretend we've never heard that before.)

In any case, the system utilizes a high-performance NVIDIA® graphics processor for smooth map transitions, even while underway. Vehicle orientation is enhanced by a three-dimensional view with true-to-scale terrain, and photorealistic depictions of key landmarks. They've even gone so far (too far?) as to include commercial points of interest complete with brand logos for easier driver identification. The new MMI will include support for external USB storage media (iPod or MP3), satellite radio, and it contains an integral four-band GSM cell phone (SIM card ready) with Bluetooth connectivity. While we welcome a faster processor, let's hope the additional complexity comes with a simplified interface. Having spent hours futzing with the current-gen MMI, and the competition's COMAND and iDrive infotainment systems... we are crossing our fingers, but still reserving judgment until we actually use it.

Hit the jump for the press release.

Harman International Unveils New Infotainment Platform with Audi

KARLSBAD, Germany- Harman/Becker Automotive Systems, a unit of Harman International, (NYSE:HAR) announced today that its latest generation MMI 3G infotainment system will debut in the new Audi Q5 compact crossover vehicle during the fall of 2008. The launch continues a close relationship between Harman and the German luxury automaker that began in 1989.

"The exceptional performance spectrum of this new platform is a tribute to the cooperation and team spirit between our two companies' specialists," said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Harman Chief Executive Officer. "We are delighted to apply our leading-edge technology with Audi to create an exciting new experience for drivers."

The Harman/Audi platform sets new benchmarks for automotive navigation, communication and wide-screen entertainment. A high-performance NVIDIA® graphics processor ensures that navigation map images transition smoothly, even when the vehicle quickly changes direction. Driver orientation is enhanced by a three-dimensional landscape view that reproduces true-to-scale terrain. Photorealistic depiction of points of interest allows visual matching of key landmarks to the in-car display, and identification of commercial points of interest is enhanced with well-known brand logos. The display offers a bird's-eye view of more-distant destinations and features automatic close-up zoom at intersections.

Available map media cover 43 European countries, the United States and Canada. Precise audio route instructions and voice commands for audio, telephone, address book and navigation functions are supported in eight languages. The system supports connection of external devices such as USB storage media or an Apple iPod; a jukebox function allows for creation of personal music playlists. The digital radio accepts both European Digital Audio Broadcast signals and U.S. satellite services. An integral four-band GSM cell phone supports Bluetooth® connection and accepts a SIM card from a driver's personal phone.

More than 250 Harman International personnel from Germany, the U.S. and Canada contributed to development and systems integration of the platform.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Because the sun only tells you what direction you are pointing, and the time of day.

      It doesn't tell you where other things are... a map does.

      Given the choice, however, I would rather spend the money on real information systems. HUD, adaptive LCD display Gauges, FLIR night vision assist... Than a singing, dancing, and coffee-brewing entertainment system. Those can be third party devices, if needed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have to respond to this author's comment about "...Having spent hours futzing with the current-gen MMI...". Having owned a 2004 A8 with MMI system, the author clearly has NEVER used Audi's system. It is SO easy to use unlike M-B's & BMW's. I have taught several people to use the MMI in less than 60 seconds. It was amazingly easy to use even while driving. Hey, Mr. Author, why don't you actually TRY one of these before slamming it?
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'll take the bait.

        I have driven countless Audis, Benzes, and BMWs. As a journalist, you are tossed the keys to an unfamiliar car and you zoom away. During those first few minutes behind the wheel, you want to adjust the seat, mirrors, and climate control. Then, you mess with the radio.

        If I have to pull out the owner's manual to figure out how to tweak basics on the infotainment system... in my opinion the manufacturer has failed to deliver a user-friendly interface.

        (My personal car is a 335i with iDrive. It took me weeks to master it to the level of hands-free intuitiveness. It is not a good execution.)

        - Mike
      • 7 Years Ago
      Unrelated, but the Q5 looks neat.
      • 7 Years Ago
      they already are watching movies as they drive. The movie refelcts in the rear window and the driver can watch the movie in the rear-view mirror. Brain dead drivers--on the fone and on tv and on-star.
      If I bought a GM the first thing I 'd do is disconnect that nanny,OnStar, too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Interesting showing commercial sites of interest on the nav. That might be a new revenue source for car companies.

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