Audi – a step backwards

Grant Tiller

In the last few Audis I have had, the aircon has been great.

It blew out nice cold air, and the User Interface was superb.

I had a major teething issue in my current A6 (2013MY C7 4G) as the aircon didn’t work at all.
I was truly embarrassed to pick my boss up from Heathrow Airport and chauffeur him around London on a swelteringly warm day with the fan belting out only hot air… not what you would expect from a new car, and certainly not what you would expect from Audi!

The boys at my local dealership Poole Audi did a good job though, and after two weeks, an air conditioning pump and a new ECU the cold air was flowing as it should!

One thing I didn’t like about Audis in the past was the fact that I would ALWAYS get confused between the front screen and rear screen symbols

Grant Tiller
Grant Tiller

Yeah, yeah I know that after so many years of owning cars from the same marque, you’d think I would learn to press the correct button when the rear window steamed up!

At least the symbols were standard across the entire Audi Range, so I would consistently get it wrong in every Audi I drove:

Grant Tiller
Grant Tiller
Grant Tiller
Grant Tiller

It would appear that I was not alone with my state of confusion though, as the good news is that Audi have now put a label under the symbol.

… making it totally idiot proof!

Grant Tiller

Yay – good work guys! 🙂

My happiness, joy, delight and satisfaction in the aircon department is short lived though.

My reasoning is that I feel that Audi have taken a major step backwards with this latest generation A6 (the 2013 model year)

On my last three Audis S4 (2012MY B7 8K), A6 (2005MY C6 4F) and A4 (2005MY B7 8E) the temperature and fan controls were clear.

Clearly laid out and clear to read.

I could sync left and right sides so that by adjusting the drivers side, the passenger side would move in the same increments.

This was perfect for two reasons:

  • If you have slight OCD and like to see both sides reading the same
  • If you spend most of the time in the car on your own, and simply want an even cabin temperature right through the whole car.

When I adjusted the temperature control, the LED read out adjacent to the adjuster would show the temperature setting, and in addition, the MMI display would briefly flash up the temperature that you had just set for a few seconds.

This was perfect, as you didn’t have to move your eyes very far from the road to check the temperature – a neat safety feature, and top marks to Audi on the User Interface.

The fan speed was also displayed clearly on an LED display too – either a ramp going up from left to right or a clear numerical value.

The heated seats displayed their settings in the MMI too, so a good use of the massive screen that Audi fit, and us customers pay a significant amount for!!!

I am disappointed that the same is not true for the current generation of A6 (2013MY C7 4G)

The temperature display is via a printed black line on the adjuster knob, and a printer legend around the dial.

No LCD readout by the adjuster, and no numerical display on the MMI screen.

Grant Tiller

This is not at all easy to read when you are driving along, and, in my opinion could be deemed as dangerous when compared to the superb interface on old versions.

Of course, there is no method to sync driver and passenger side either.

There is a deluxe air conditioning package at £620, but I really feel strongly that Audi have really slipped up on this, take a big step backwards technically.

I mean, I have a large widescreen monitor, that displays a wealth of information about the car’s status – it would have been simple to flash the status up as with older models, and a car I purchased eight years previous has this functionality as standard.

Grant Tiller

In fact, even my 1999 S4 (B5 8D) had a decent LED display for temperature setting and fan speed and I could sync driver and passenger side.

Come on Audi, don’t lose sight of the fantastic User Interface that gained you a reputation in the marketplace for being the best!

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