Addendum 1/2016 - with software 7.0 and beyond, automatic climate control was significantly improved. Much of what I have posted below is not relevant for current software versions, but I'm leaving my post intact .
I've spent the last 3 months parsing the climate control. My initial impressions were not positive as it seemed hard to decipher the display and difficult to titrate to a precise temperature. Overall it seemed under engineered compared to other luxury cars. As I've used it, I've come to appreciate that it's actually quite powerful and customizable. Some tricks I've learned:
- temperature and fan speed are independent. In other words if you don't like being blasted by semi-cold air with the fan at 8 and the temp at 68 to get cold, you can manually turn the fan down to 3 or 4 and turn the temp down to LOW. That gives you ice cold air at a low gentle breeze. Given how quiet the car is, it's nice to have the fan speed as low as possible.
- Turning recirculate on automatically drops the indicated fan speed down 1 or 2 but actually almost doubles the air output. Lower fan speed, more air output. It's particularly helpful for cooling.
-the climate control display is quite informative. 1 lit fan blade equals fan speed of 3 or less, as more fan blades light it indicates greater fan speeds (there are 4 total, each represents about 3 fan speed positions). This helps me to judge whether the climate control is working unnecessarily hard, ie if I'm not particularly hot or cold and 3-4 fan blades are lit up, I will take it off auto so it's not working unnecessarily hard.
- as most already know, the display shows you not only fan speed but where the air is being directed (which actually tells you whether it's heating or cooling (see below), and whether it's on fresh or recirculate.
- Air movement arrow at the face tells you it's cooling the interior, arrows at both face and feet indicates it's maintaining current temp, arrows at the feet only indicates heating. I use this to adjust my temperature according to whether I want to feel warmer or colder, rather than trying to guess which temp setting will turn on heating vs A/C.
- best way to get and maintain a very cold interior on a hot day without getting blasted by max fan speed is to leave it on auto for about a minute or two, then hit recirculate, drop the fan speed down to 4 or 5, and set temp to LOW. after a couple minutes I can even drop the fan speed lower. That gives you a quiet, cold interior.
- there are many days in the 50-75 degree range where I turn off climate control for extended periods. It's just not necessary and especially on the colder end of that range, reduces energy use.
Unlike my other cars where I gave little thought to the climate control and just left it in auto all the time, this one requires more driver input. Good for micro-managers and OCD types, annoying perhaps for others.