Proving yet again the growing importance of in car electronics, Audi has unveiled the interior of its next-generation A3 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week.

Though the new A3 isn’t set for a debut until March’s Geneva Motor Show, before going on sale towards the end of the year as a 2013 model, we have been given a close look at its cabin and upcoming technology.

As confirmed in previous spy shots, the interior of the 2013 Audi A3 features a decisively retro look with a clean layout mostly devoid of buttons.

A gesture-recognizing touchpad is integrated in the round rotary pushbutton, making it a touch-wheel. The dash-mounted monitor is also a new development and makes 3D graphics possible, while the electrically deploying 7-inch display is only 11 millimeters thick and looks almost as elegant as an iPhone. Another innovation is the Audi Phone Box, a universal interface between a cell phone and the car.

As for the technology, Audi is once again touting its latest Audi Connect initiative, which broadly speaking covers the intelligent networking of cars with the owner and the Internet, and soon the transportation infrastructure and even other vehicles.

Most of the vehicle functions on the new A3 will be controlled by Audi’s intuitive touch-pad system, already found in premium models like the A7 and A8. There will also be advanced head-up technology, 3D graphics on the central display screen, an integrated WLAN hotspot, and seamless integration of mobile apps.

Probably the handiest feature will be the voice activation control system, which Audi promises will work with Google point-of-interest search for the navigation as well as many other vehicle functions. Further down the track Audi also hopes to introduce innovative gesture control systems, though the automaker states that this is still several years away from being ready for production.

Serving as the foundation for these new Audi Connect services is the new LTE (Long Term Evolution) mobile radio standard, which can transport large amounts of data. There's also the MMX board (MMX: Multi-Media eXtension), a plug-in module whose highlight is a powerful Tegra processor from Nvidia. The central computer of the MMI system in future Audi models like the upcoming 2013 A3 will integrate an MMX board, which will allow Audi to always keep the modular hardware up-to-date by simply replacing the board with a newer version.

The reveal of the 2013 Audi A3 at the Geneva Motor Show is now less than two months away. In the meantime stay glued to our dedicated show page for all the latest updates.

2013 Audi A3 graphic

2013 Audi A3 graphic