I loved the Jaguar XJ that I reviewed a few months back. After driving the car for a week, I realized that there was very little about it that I’d change: the exception, however, was the car’s LCD instrumentation. It’s not that the gauges weren’t functional (they were), or that they were difficult to read in bright sunlight (they weren’t), it’s just an aesthetic thing. Gauges trimmed in chrome, with precisely painted numbers and a moving needle display can be objects of art; pictures of such gauges, even high res pictures, are not. Ask yourself this: when was the last time you saw a Rolex watch with an LCD dial? How well do you think something like that would sell?
If Autoblog is right, BMW is about to join Jaguar and Land Rover in implementing LCD displays, possibly as an option, on the next generation 5 Series and 7 Series cars. The advantage is functionality, and an LCD instrument display can be re-arranged by mode. In a Sport mode, for example, the tachometer may be featured more prominently, or it may have a higher redline. In an Eco mode, the tachometer may be eliminated altogether, replaced by a fuel economy gauge. There are plenty of reasons why an LCD dash is better from a technology and engineering perspective, but at the expense of personality. Sometimes, a step forward is really a step backwards.