But when I saw the list of the gadgets and gizmos available for the 2012 A7, I knew that their message really was for me.Fully-equipped for just a shade under $60,000 and on sale as of the first week in July, the A7 is a tech-lover's dream car, with several totally integrated technological features, such as:
- 3D Google Earth aerial views on the above-dash GPS-system.
- A "Head-Up Display" that projects speed and turning directions onto the windshield in the driver's line of vision (so that the driver doesn't have to look down, thus keeping his head up).
- In-vehicle WiFi connectivity for up to 8 devices.
- A touchpad system with handwriting recognition, allowing the driver to write out phone numbers, addresses, or the names of restaurants, hotels, and more with his pointer finger
We'll be back with a video of all this stuff in action soon, but for now, feast your eyes on some photos of some of the A7's most nifty technological features.
A technology used by jet pilots and adapted for the A7, Audi has added a "Head Up Display" to its new sedan. The adjustable display projects the driver's speed and upcoming turns onto the windshield in front of him so that he never has to take his eyes off the road, thus keeping his "head up." This information appears to hover just above the steering wheel on the windshield. This picture was taken from the point-of-view of the driver; passengers and drivers of other cars cannot see the display. And to answer your question: no, it is not distracting--reading it becomes second nature very quickly, like checking your rearview mirrors or your speedometer.
Another view of the Head Up Display, as I coast along at 6 miles per hour in my effort to avoid getting smashed by a New York taxi.
If you need to enter the address of your destination, the digits of your phone number, or a search for coffee shops nearby, a touchpad next to the driver's thigh allows you to write out your query using your pointer finger. There is also a voice-activated search and a traditional keyboard, but the handwriting recognition feature is no doubt the coolest input method. Above, I write out an 'A' in my quest for the nearest McDonald's.
To give you an idea of how the handwriting feature works, here's a side view of me writing the letter 'E'. I do not have very good handwriting, as you can see.
Want to host a LAN in your sedan? You're in luck! Each A7 has its own password-protected WiFi network that can hook up with up to 8 devices at once. Available for a $30 per month via T-Mobile, the WiFi-enabled GPS can do live searches of nearby traffic, local gasoline prices, and "points of interest" in the area (like a Yelp search). Above, I hooked up my iPad on the wireless. Note to the police: I did not drive while playing Bejeweled.
The in-vehicle WiFi connects to Google Maps to give you live traffic updates along or near your selected route and destination. Looks like we won't be taking I-895 to wherever we were going.
The GPS system in the car comes integrated with Google Earth, meaning that you have the option of tracking your movement or planning out your route with an overhead view like the one above. You can also switch back to the traditional 2D map view that is familiar to most GPS owners.