If you read our review earlier this week on the 2017 Audi Q7, then you know that Audi has a much different experience with Android Auto, than the other car makers out there. Instead of using a touchscreen for Android Auto, like every other manufacturer, Audi uses a touchpad and a rotary dial for interacting with the system. It’s part of their MMI system which they introduced in the 2016 model year. As I’ve stated before, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of having to use a rotary dial and touchpad for input into the Android Auto system. In my head, I thought it was a bit clunky and would actually be more of a distraction, which is the opposite of what it should be. I was wrong.
We didn’t have the Audi Q7 in our possession too long, but we did spend a few days with it. We found that driving the Audi Q7 and interacting with Android Auto using the touchpad and rotary dial were actually quite easy. In fact, I came to the conclusion that it is better than having a touch screen. Now part of that is due to the way the infotainment system is set up in the Audi Q7 (as well as all of their other models). The heads-up display is pretty far forward in the dashboard, making it a bit difficult to reach while driving. And with the rotary dial and trackpad in a great position, based on where your hand would rest, it makes for a great experience, actually. Now not everyone will agree with me, about the experience in the Audi Q7, but that’s the thing about opinions, you don’t have to agree with me.
While we had the Audi Q7 in our possession, we did put together a short video going through the Android Auto system on the car. For the most part, it’s the same as it would be on any other car. The main difference here is how you interact with it. As far as Google Maps is concerned, it actually uses the GPS signal from the car, rather than your phone. While every car we’ve tested so far, uses its signal rather than your phone’s GPS, there are a few out there that don’t use the car’s GPS signal. Which will put more strain on your phone and cost it not to charge while it’s plugged in (depending on how good or bad the GPS signal is).
Audi currently only offers up Android Auto in the 2017 Q7, but it will also be coming to the 2017 Audi A4 which is hitting the market in just a few weeks.