For what seems like decades, concept cars have been shown with fancy, tiny ‘virtual’ door mirrors. Only to then make production looking largely identical – save for the addition of massive ‘Dumbo ears’ on each door. But now, Audi is making every concept car designer’s dream a reality, with the world’s first production-ready virtual door mirrors.
They’re appearing on the new Audi e-tron, which will be revealed this summer ahead of production starting later this year. At this stage, they’ll be a (likely expensive) option, rather than standard fit, but it’s still proof that Vorsprung durch Technik is alive and well after all at Audi.
The firm says they’re much narrower than normal door mirrors – they reduce the overall width of the e-tron by a healthy 150mm. They also reduce drag and, most noticeably, significantly reduce wind noise.
So how do they work? Via built-in cameras, which feed to high-resolution OLED displays mounted between the dashboard and the door.
Audi says they adapt to different driving situations, displaying three different views through the MMI system – there are bespoke displays for motorway driving, turning and parking.
We’ll get more details of Audi’s virtual door mirrors in the build-up to the car’s official release in the coming months – including details of how Audi’s going to overcome European legislation that still mandates at least one physical exterior rear-view mirror (Japan has, however, already altered legislation to allow cameras instead of mirrors: others are expected to follow its lead).
For now, listen carefully and you’ll probably hear the cheers in advanced car design studios across the world…