Audi Prologue Concept shows off the high-tech cockpit of the future

Multiple touch screens and smartphone sync make your motor cleverer than KITT
Audi Prologue concept

If Audi has its way, we'll all be piloting giant OLED displays on wheels in the future.

Well, that's basically what the marque's Prologue Concept suggested when it was unveiled at the LA Auto Show last week, kitted out with not one but four enormous touchscreen displays that will likely have drivers of the future fixated on everything but the road.

The concept, which is merely a design study for now, features sharp, futuristic design language on the outside. It's what's inside that's most interesting, though; the car is a clear statement of intent for Audi's next generation of its Virtual Cockpit technology.

Swing open the large but lightweight doors and you're greeted to a vast and airy cabin that features some stunning 'floating' seats, all decked out in suitably pristine white leather.

The driver's immediate area is beyond space age, with four OLED displays offering up a multitude of information. The main binnacle uses innovative mirror technology to give added depth of field to typically mundane information. Sat nav instructions, for example, seem to disappear into the instrument panel.

Audi Prologue concept
Audi Prologue concept
Audi Prologue concept

If that wasn't enough to send the driver into a starry-eyed trance, there's also a driver-oriented display to the left of the steering wheel, which is used to control functions for lighting and assistance systems, and a unit to the right that operates the infotainment system.

One of the main bugbears with the Virtual Cockpit system found in the latest Audi TT is that it's so driver-focused, the front passenger doesn't have anything to gawp at on long journeys. Not so in the Prologue concept, as the entire dashboard is fashioned from another OLED display, meaning occupants can enjoy messing with the sat nav system or selecting music from a number of online streaming services.

Capping off the eye-popping display offensive is a fourth and final flexible touch screen that is used for climate control and hand written infotainment inputs. When the 4.0-litre TFSI engine is fired up – it develops a staggering 587bhp, by the way – the small bendable display stands up from its housing and slides towards the driver.

Audi Prologue concept

The Prologue is also designed to play nice with your smartphone; a new piece of software, dubbed 'the butler', automatically detects the presence of a mobile device and sets the car up according to its owner's preferences. Seating position, climate control and even performance settings will automatically be activated simply by having a mobile in your pocket.

Once you're settled into the hot seat, you can then slide your mobile into the specially created NFC-equipped charging tray and it will automatically sync emails, messages and music, which can be blasted out of a new 'sound spoiler' that extends from the rear parcel shelf.

It's unlikely that we'll ever see the Prologue concept on roads anytime soon, but we can expect to see elements of both the styling and cutting-edge tech filter down into production models in the coming years. That's probably a good thing, because the sheer weight of intriguing on-board tech would see most prospective owners stuck on the driveway.

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