Nowadays, cars’ infotainment systems are more important to their customers than their driving dynamics, performance and looks. How much tech a car has and how connected a car is seems to be what drives customers at the moment, especially in the premium segment. Audi has one of the best infotainment and technology systems in the business, with its new MMI system with Virtual Cockpit. It’s slick, has great graphics and packs possibly the best digital gauge cluster we’ve ever seen. But how does it stack up against the best systems in the business? Carwow finds out.
In this new Carwow review, mat Watson pits Audi’s MMI up against BMW’s iDrive and Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND system. These three are the best three systems around but finding out just which one is best can be tricky, as they’re all good at certain things. So, Watson assigns a point value to each system in each category and whichever one has the highest total wins. Three points for each category victory, two points for second place and one point for third. Simple enough.
Last place goes to the Mercedes-Benz COMAND system, with a total of 8 points. Knocks against the COMAND system were the fact that it’s a bit more difficult to use, has poor graphics and uses a dated navigation system. It also doesn’t really come with any extra tech, like the Audi MMI and BMW iDrive systems. The only extra tech is the digital gauge cluster, which is a very costly option and it’s not as nice as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. Also, its scroll wheel can be tricky to use, because the touchpad for it sits above it like a wrist rest and can easily be touched while trying to use the wheel, causing confusion. Also, any physical buttons for it are placed on the dash, which is confusing.
In second place is Audi’s MMI, with 12points. With the brand’s newest generation MMI, it comes with a far more usable scroll wheel than Mercedes’ COMAND wheel and finally scrolls the correct way. Its touch pad sits ahead of the wheels and has physical dedicated buttons surrounding it, which is far easier to use than Mercedes- setup. It also houses Google Earth in its nav screen, allowing it to display your route and destination in beautiful high-definition graphics. MMI’s menus are also far more intuitive, allowing it to be easier to use while driving. If you spend a bit extra and get the Virtual Cockpit, your entire instrument panel becomes a fantastic and highly customizable screen that can also house the navigation screen, allowing for less distraction.
But first place goes to BMW’s iDrive, scoring 16 points. The newest iDrive 6.0 used in BMW’s new 5 Series is the best infotainment system on the market. Having used all the setups ourselves, we can also confirm this. Not only does it have the slickest graphics and fastest navigation system, but its controls are the most intuitive and there are more ways to interact with it than the others. You can use the traditional scroll wheel, which is better than the other three and has its touchpad built into it, use the touchscreen or even use Gesture Control.