Audi A3 interior pictures and hands-on

It tells you everything you need to know about where the car industry is at, that Audi chose to show its new A3 interior here in CES, rather than at Detroit earlier in the week.

And, in a word, it is stunning. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, but this interior is far beyond anything that’s currently available in the competitive class - including the new 1-Series - or, to our knowledge, from the class above too. Besides the unbelievable depth of quality, with soft touch plastics, beautiful switch gear and etched aluminium, there’s some of the most advanced, well-integrated technology we’ve ever seen in a car.

Here at CES last year, we saw Audi’s latest version of its MultiMedia Interface. Now it’s launching in the A3, which goes on sale in spring in Europe. It features a redesigned MMI interface on the centre console, and the big news here is a massively enlarged, raised click-wheel, topped by a touch surface, which allows you to scrawl letters with your finger in order to enter address inputs into the Nav.

The Nav screen itself is new, retracts and is impressively thin for an in-car system. It’s 480 x 800 in resolution and has a deep lustre and vivid colours. That navigation system itself is Google-Earth based and features street view, pulling its data via your phone SIM in the glovebox. There are two SD card slots alongside the phone SIM slot for you to put your media into the system too.

Also featuring in the new MMI is a refreshed version of Audi’s vehicle set up system. If you’re wondering what the new A3’s exterior is actually going to look like, this gives a good clue, because the system zooms around a little digital rendering of the car as you change the light, window, door setting etc.

Check our videos for more, and to also see the first offerings from "Audi Connect" - the firm’s apps store, which includes an Audi-fied version of facebook, allowing you access to your wall on the move, reading you things out via the voice recognition system.

The videos and pictures will give you some clue, but believe us when we say that this interior looks set to shake up the small, premium car landscape. We suspect that for anyone keen on their in-car tech or who just wants brilliantly thought-out connectivity, the new A3 ought to go straight to the top of your shopping list. Need something bigger? Fear not, because Audi’s bringing this system across the entire "A" and "Q" car ranges over the next 18 months.

Is this the sort of tech you want in your next car?