In July, reports emerged suggesting that Audi could be fitting its smallest sedan, the Audi A3, with its Virtual Cockpit technology. Now, the German automaker has finally confirmed that the streamlined infotainment system will indeed come to the mid-cycle version of the Audi A3 next year.
The company earlier confirmed that it will be furnishing its signature Virtual Cockpit for the updated versions of its A4 sedan and Q7 SUV. Its current Audi A3 model is slated for a 2016 refresh and the said high-tech display is now confirmed to arrive along with it.
In an interview with the Car and Driver blog, Audi's electronics department head Ricky Hudi mentioned, "In the future, there are not so many [of our] cars that will not have it integrated, even into the smaller cars. Next year in the A3, we will also integrate the Virtual Cockpit."
In spite of its size, the Audi A3 sedan has always been marketed as a premium model with regard to price and available equipment. The move to add the Virtual Cockpit option fits that strategy well.
Audi's Virtual Cockpit is designed to deliver more advantages compared to conventional infotainment systems. It combines the functions of analog gauges and a center-stack display, giving more flexibility for interior car designers. The technology moves the screen closer to the driver's line of sight, which eliminates the need for repeatedly glancing sideways toward the infotainment screen.
However, Hudi clarified that the Virtual Cockpit will not be a standard equipment of the Audi A3 base model. According to him, "the customer who chooses the base A3 won't choose this option. If they choose a higher engine or a higher, well-equipped car then they will choose it-no doubt. The price reduces very fast with more people using it and the Virtual Cockpit is an Audi signature now."
Since Internet-connected infotainment systems are becoming more common on consumer vehicles nowadays, Audi has committed to safeguarding their models from cyber attacks. In order to check for vulnerabilities, the Audi executive said that they are regularly paying professional hackers to do all they can to gain access to their cars' system.
"Basically we tell them they can use all ways available, including straight vandalism, to get access to control the car's electronic systems. For what I can see, that's the best way to improve security," Hudi further explained.
The Virtual Cockpit was originally developed for Audi's newest TT coupe. While the refreshed Audi A3 for 2016 is on the waiting list, the innovative infotainment system has already been integrated to the two-seater Audi R8.