MMI (or Multi Media Interface) is Audi’s competitor to BMW’s iDrive system, and was launched back in 2002 on the Audi A8. Since then, it’s gone through a number of comprehensive updates and can be found across the entire Audi range.
Audi MMI controls
Audi usually fits MMI controls to the car’s centre console instead of using a touchscreen – just like rivals BMW and Mercedes. On the majority of current models, the knob is located next to the driver and is surrounded by shortcut buttons that fall easily to hand. Some models supplement this with a large touch-pad to one side while the TT and A3, position it on the dial itself.
The dial controls a large display screen that, on most models, rises out of the dashboard like a sci-fi movie prop. The very latest Audi Q7 and Audi A4 supplement this with the impressive Audi Virtual Cockpit system – a feature that’ll probably filter down to all models as they’re updated. Being based on an older platform, the Q3 and A1 have their MMI dials fitted within the radio controls instead of on the centre console.
Audi MMI features
MMI has been continuously tweaked to ensure its features are amongst the slickest on the market. Entry-level models of Audi’s smallest cars come without navigation systems, limiting the MMI functionality to basic settings such as Bluetooth and radio/media inputs. SD-card based navigation is an option however, and can be retro-fitted at a later date.
Cars with SD-card compatibility have what’s known as MMI Navigation – a comprehensive system that includes traffic updates but, for those who really want to wow their passengers, there’s MMI Navigation Plus. This package adds a hard-disk with 3D navigation, voice control and Google Maps – all controlled by a larger screen and, on some models, a touch pad.
A further Tech package is available that includes DAB radio, enhanced Bluetooth with app support and a WiFi hotspot. Latest models offer the Audi Virtual Cockpit for a fully immersive experience, but these options can become quite pricey, so make sure you do your sums before you tick all the boxes.
Audi MMI future
The most recent development in MMI has been to link it to the Audi Virtual Cockpit – both the new Q7 and A4 have integrated it seamlessly while the new TT has done away with the rising central screen altogether in favour of the new digital cluster. The new Audi A8 will probably showcase the next generation of MMI when it’s revealed in next few years.
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