Shortly after BMW debuted its iDrive system, Audi and Mercedes-Benz followed suit with their MMI and Command systems respectively. With BMW’s recently redone iDrive, Audi felt the need to update its MMI system to debut on the 2009 Q5.
Audi’s new MMI system features a new joystick control on the central knob that can be moved in eight directions. The new joystick allows users to move a cursor on the navigation screen and “point-and-click” to get directions to a location instead of entering the location in or scrolling through a list. In addition to adding a joystick to make the navigation system more useable, Audi has also added a 3-D map display function. The 3-D function displays a birds-eye view of the map area and presents the various topographies and buildings in “near-authentic-detail.”
With the new MMI system, Audi updated the voice recognition feature so the user no longer has to spell out every word. The user can now simply say the location and the navigation system will understand the complete word. The new MMI even understands several different languages, just in case you’re in Canada and need to get direction from a French-Canadian.
Selecting the music to play on a long trip has been made even easier thanks to the new joystick feature that allows the user to seamlessly scroll through title menus and screen selections. While the joystick makes it easier to operate Audi’s MMI, complete audio controls are also found on the multifunctional steering wheel. With 10 GB of audio file capacity, an updated Sirius interface, and the ability to play SD cards and CDs in various formats, the user should never have to listen to the same song twice on long road trips.
The new MMI features two processors- an 800 MHz chip and a 500 MHz digital signal processor- to allow all applications to run smoothly and simultaneously. An NVIDIA graphics processor is used to run the 3-D navigation. Look for the third generation MMI to start appearing across Audi’s lineup shortly after 2009 Q5 deliveries begin.