2013 Audi A8L: Nvidia Graphics, Wi-Fi, LED Lights, And Google Earth

Audi's Gauge Cluster LCD And Night Vision Assistant

Audi employs traditional analog gauges with an LCD sandwiched in between. I consider this to be my ideal cluster arrangement. The analog gauges look great and respond quickly to the A8L’s powertrain. Meanwhile, the LCD serves as a multi-function display for adjusting vehicle settings, conveying trip computer information, detailing music playback, and accessing phone features.

When it comes to customizing the A8L through that LCD, you'll find options controlling the door locks, the lighting, and some of the driver aids. Once upon a time, it took a trip to the dealership to alter a car's factory settings. But with the advancement of in-car computers and user interfaces, a lot of subsystems can be manipulated directly using check boxes.

2013 Audi A8L Gauge Cluster

The music settings are particularly detailed. Using the steering wheel-mounted dials, you can change the audio source, scroll through favorites, manually scroll through AM/FM and SiriusXM stations, and browse locally-stored music, just as you would from the infotainment display. Mercedes-Benz and BMW employ very similar systems, and we really like them all. While Hyundai, Kia, and Cadillac attempt to replicate the same experience, Audi's combination of steering wheel control and the LCD gauge cluster display is the best I've seen. My only complaint is that I'd like dedicated buttons for advancing to the next track (or skipping back to the previous one), rather than using the jog dial.

Phone features on the LCD gauge cluster are detailed as well. A lot of infotainment systems rely on voice commands or the main display for browsing through a phone book and making calls. But Audi's gauge cluster LCD gives you complete access to your phone's contact information, making it possible to place a call without ever glancing over at the infotainment system's screen.

Lastly, the gauge cluster LCD can convey navigation directions. This seems like a painfully obvious feature to include, but there are companies (we're talking about you this time, Infiniti) that do not link the navigation system to the gauge cluster display. So, we continue to applaud Audi for not cutting corners.

Night Vision Assistant

Audi uses the gauge cluster LCD for its night vision assistant system, which harnesses the power of an infrared camera to detect heat signatures in front of the car. The camera is hidden in Audi's emblem in front of the car, and not noticeable unless you're looking for it. Enabling the night vision assistant requires manual intervention, and there's a button to toggle it left of the steering wheel, next to the front and rear fog light switches.

2013 Audi A8L Night Vision

With this feature turned on, the gauge cluster LCD displays a black and white video feed. When it picks up a person or animal, the system draws a yellow or red box around the object to show how far down the road it is. This was our first experience with this technology, and I found it to work well (I managed to pick up more than one cat during my nighttime testing).

In theory, night vision assistance should be helpful as you're glancing down to check your speed. But I can also imagine the feature being abused as a crutch to drive faster, too.

The night vision assistant remains a niche capability that works as advertised, but doesn't replace focused and safe driving at night. If you have an extra $2300 burning a hole in your pocket and live in a rural area with plenty of animals, it's at least worth considering.

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  • Tom's add regular Refirgerator reviews they also get touchscreens built in.
    3
  • Aren't 2014 models out by now?
    3
  • One can always dream...
    3
  • Another prime example of how B&O are only made for big wallets and not discerning audio enthusiasts. Bowers and Wilkins, such as in the Jaguar XF, sound utterly fantastic. In a car you have a minefield of acoustic problems to overcome, and it takes more than slapping in fancy looking speakers.
    1
  • I would like to see an article about the new Infotainment system on the Mazda 3(MY14)
    1
  • *reads title*...so basically all the things Tesla already had in 2012?

    (wifi hardware was present but the software wasn't enabled since the first year of 3G was free)
    -3
  • The 2014 A8 L features a Bose sound system, or perhaps that's the standard option.
    1
  • Car reviews? Seriously Tom's?
    -3
  • Car reviews? Seriously Tom's?
    -7
  • So umm. It is important to know that even lower end Audi's like the S4 (standard) and the A4 (optional) have these features, such as wi-fi, etc. And yes the wifi hotspot was available in last year's versions of these cars (which actually is the 2013 ones.) The a4/s4 versions are not touch though, which is not really an issue.
    2
  • Kind of sad that such a nice car seems to only come with an auto transmission.
    1
  • Regarding USB and audio inputs - Audi typically puts a connector for these in the glove compartment. You may need to buy a custom adapter cable depending on your device. At least on my 2013 A4, it can control an iPhone through the MMI this way, though I just use the Bluetooth integration.
    1
  • 576151 said:
    Another prime example of how B&O are only made for big wallets and not discerning audio enthusiasts. Bowers and Wilkins, such as in the Jaguar XF, sound utterly fantastic. In a car you have a minefield of acoustic problems to overcome, and it takes more than slapping in fancy looking speakers.


    I've never heard the B&W in the XF. The Meridian system in the XJL is quite good though. The Acura Krell system in the RLX is the best system I've heard so far.

    127324 said:
    I would like to see an article about the new Infotainment system on the Mazda 3(MY14)


    It's on the list of vehicles to cover. It's a very good vehicle and the new system is a massive improvement over the terrible TomTom system in the 6 and CX5.

    665346 said:
    *reads title*...so basically all the things Tesla already had in 2012? (wifi hardware was present but the software wasn't enabled since the first year of 3G was free)


    Audi had it in the A8 since 2011

    1293856 said:
    The 2014 A8 L features a Bose sound system, or perhaps that's the standard option.


    Bose is standard on Audi's. B&O is a $6300 option.

    1409431 said:
    Car reviews? Seriously Tom's?


    Yes
    1
  • 199224 said:
    So umm. It is important to know that even lower end Audi's like the S4 (standard) and the A4 (optional) have these features, such as wi-fi, etc. And yes the wifi hotspot was available in last year's versions of these cars (which actually is the 2013 ones.) The a4/s4 versions are not touch though, which is not really an issue.


    Yes the A4 has MMI as well, but the touch pad is quite excellent. Also the interior ergonomics and overall package are different. The next gen A4 will have touch. Audi has a combo touch / control knob that debuted in the A3. I imagine it will make its way to the next A4.

    361972 said:
    Kind of sad that such a nice car seems to only come with an auto transmission.


    Unfortunately driving with a third pedal will be a forgotten art. However, the 8-speed ZF is a very good transmission. I love manuals and everything, but will gladly trade a third pedal for adaptive cruise control with stop and go and the 8-speed ZF for daily driving.

    1560505 said:
    Regarding USB and audio inputs - Audi typically puts a connector for these in the glove compartment. You may need to buy a custom adapter cable depending on your device. At least on my 2013 A4, it can control an iPhone through the MMI this way, though I just use the Bluetooth integration.


    You are correct. Ours only had the iPod connector, a 30-pin one at that. It's highway robbery that Audi sells the cables for about $70 to use a feature that should be standard by now.
    2
  • I'm probably going to get downvoted for this but...I find it annoying people were all "make Google Glass illegal to wear while driving" because of the potential to distract the driver. And yet I see the smarts of this car having the same potential.
    0
  • 95237 said:
    I'm probably going to get downvoted for this but...I find it annoying people were all "make Google Glass illegal to wear while driving" because of the potential to distract the driver. And yet I see the smarts of this car having the same potential.


    People will always find ways to distract themselves if they aren't focused drivers. You can have all the electronic nannies and lock outs you want, but that doesn't stop a parent turning around to yell at their kids before plowing into the car in front of them IMO.
    1
  • that is a lot of buttons... way too many buttons...Don't get me wrong, I love me some buttons to press, but if complicated games that have 100 different things going on can get by with using just a few of the 16 buttons and 2 sticks available on your average controller, then surely a car's navigation and infotainment system can make due with far less for a much simpler experience.Wake me up when cars get a proper HUD to control the car with rather than overly complicated center consoles that are needlessly complicated and difficult to operate while driving.
    0
  • I've never had 100 grand to drop on a vehicle, but I'd be satisfied with a car that doesn't require thousands of dollars in repairs after a few hundred thousand kilometers
    1
  • Quote:
    Car reviews? Seriously Tom's?
    Upper part of the page, right under the Tom's Hardware logo:"The authority on TECH". So, what were you saying your problem was?
    1
  • Quote:
    Quote:
    Car reviews? Seriously Tom's?
    Upper part of the page, right under the Tom's Hardware logo:"The authority on TECH". So, what were you saying your problem was?
    Nothing it's obvious sponsored advertisement article move a long nothing new.
    -1