Digital and Virtual Cockpits overview

Many new cars now rolling with a digital cockpit. But the virtual cockpits differ for Audi, VW, Porsche, BMW and Tesla not only visually but also in the functions. We look at the digital cockpits in detail.

Digital Tachometer found primarily in vehicles of middle and upper class. But the brave new infotainment world will also gradually growing in importance in cheaper models of major automakers.

Although most displays can customize but usually only within a narrow range. Safety plays an important role. The arbitrary Customizing displays in digital cockpit or changing the color could, under certain conditions, such as low-light conditions, cause difficulty or distraction.

Legal hurdles prohibiting shenanigans

Also law stipulates that, for example, the current speed must always be clearly visible. Important warning lights such as for motor control or the oil level still have to be decoupled from the rest of the system and are mostly designed as LED.


Audi offered its "Virtual Cockpit" initially for high-price models such as TT (Roadster, TTS) or Q7, but it is now to have around for the A4 and even for the A3. The 12.3 inch "instrument cluster of the future" on TFT display based on the steering wheel with a resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels has two different operating modes. In Classic mode you look as usual at large, digital instruments such as the tachometer and speedometer.

Audi Virtual Cockpit

This shift to the pressure on the "View" button on the Infotainment mode in the background. Now can be about a 3D map for navigation. It is operated via switches on the steering wheel. The Virtual Cockpit is usually part of the package "Technology selection" for the price of 3,000 Euros.


In BMW 740 Le iPerformance we were able to try out the digital cockpit including impressive gesture control and Head Up Display. The "multi-functional instrument display" but there is also for other series such as the 5-series.

Although already the start sequence leaves neat impression and the readability of the information presented is very good. However, does not provide much room for individualization yet. What you get to see on the digital displays and the way of treatment depends mainly on the selected driving program.

Mercedes Benz

The currently most spectacular cockpit in Mercedes-Benz does not offer as the S-Class, but all-new E-Class.

To span the "W213" on request and additional payment equal to two 12.3 inch display with a resolution of 1,920 x 720 pixels front of the driver. Thanks to a common cover glass creates the impression that there is a single display, which stretches from the leftmost to the center console.

Control is via two mini trackpad that are built into the steering wheel. Anyone who wants can just settle even voice commands as with most other manufacturers. Even Mercedes offers the driver individualization possibilities of the digital display only in a stripped-down frame. The displays depend on the respectively selected driving program (Classic, Sport, Progressive)


Porsche inside; inevitably one thinks here of bulky analog dial instruments along the lines of: "The more instruments, the faster the cargo". In the current Panamera contrast dominated tech! But among all the displays and perched pixels still the tachometer in classic execution. A matter of personal taste and certainly a tribute to the "good old days".


Tesla considered its vehicles like a "computer on wheels" and likely imposition of the Model S with the traditional design of the dashboard. Most actions converge on a centrally mounted and huge 17 inch touchscreen. From here, regulate the driver and passenger as well as the air conditioning.

This touchscreen is found approximately in Model X. The heart of the infotainment system is an Nvidia Tegra processor, which is also found in other manufacturers such as Audi. The touchscreen is complemented by a digital instrument cluster. Tesla is currently the only manufacturer according to our information, the so-called hidden Easter Eggs in digital cockpit.


In Peugeot 208, 2008, 308 the first generation of the so-called i-cockpit is used. But the manufacturer has already unveiled the second generation. In future it will come in the Model 3008.

The core of the new display is a 12.3 inch display, which is supplemented by an eight-inch touchscreen on the center console. Market release date of the Peugeot 3008 is in October 2016.


With the introduction of the SUV XC90 Volvo fared even old habits infotainment and led around a large touch screen in portrait orientation on the center console. Also pull tachometer and speedometer now digitally their rounds.

Drivers can choose between three different skins that change the look of digital scales completely. More customization options, however, does not offer the XC90 and also of the V90.