Multimedia systems are fast becoming a standard part of modern cars, especially in the luxury class, with Mercedes-Benz COMAND, BMW's iDrive, Audi's MMI and Lexus' latest haptic system with Enform all vie for the top position. Audi's newest MMI are currently finding their way into the US markets, and will make its retail introduction in the latest Q5.
Similar to the Enform of Lexus and iDrive of BMW, Audi's third-generation MMI employs a joystick-style remote input device for better screen viewing as well as features like real time traffic info, new 3D map displays, providing perspective to the images on the nav screen which helps the driver to orient his location and foresee what lies ahead.
The third-generation MMI is now capable of understanding whole words as opposed to spelling the word in the previous generation MMI and it also comes with multiple language capabilities.
Both music and entertainment elements have been upgraded also, permitting playback of DVDs with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, MP3, WMA and AAC format CDs and SD cards, and also Audi's Music Interface system for incorporating iPod into the MMI display console.
Even the display screen received an upgrade with the 7 inch TFT capable of displaying resolutions of 800x480 pixels and comes with bright backlighting and strong contrast to prevent washout by external bright light sources such as the sun.
The MMI comes with a standard 40gb harddisk with 10gb of those can be utilized for storing audio files. The MMI is powered by a pair of processors; one is 800MHz for general processing and a 500MHz digital signal processor.
Both of these processors can work simultaneously. Display comes from a 3D graphics processor from nVidia which is capable of true 3D display of the navigation system and has the speed to guarantee smooth display performance. The brand new Q5 arriving in the US this March will come with the 3rd Generation MMI system as an option. Prices will come simultaneous with the introduction of the car.