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Aston Martin Knows You Hate Interiors Without Buttons

If you've ever been mad at your car's lack of buttons, you'll get along with this Aston Martin designer

2025 Aston Martin Vantage front
  • Aston Martin design director Miles Nurnburger and his team use the "piss-off factor" to build helpful interiors.
  • The metric is used by the automaker's designers to sort out exactly what works and what doesn't in the land of buttons and knobs.
  • Nurnburger says that once a customer is frustrated by an interior, you've lost them.

Aston Martin’s design director, Miles Nurnburger, has an interesting approach to how an Aston gets its buttons for the interior's controls. Speaking to CarExpert, Nurnburger says that when it comes to buttons and tech, “the big thing for us is to understand how we layer technology into [a cabin], and we were looking at the likes of Tesla who have been pioneers. We looked at them and very openly, when we first looked at it, said, ‘That’s not us.’ ” His solution to a blend of usability and technology inside every Aston Martin? They call it the “piss-off factor.”

The company’s engineers got into other cars and built a list of functions they considered essential. These are things the team wanted immediate access to, like seat heating and ventilation, or audio volume, and decided how they felt if the function wasn’t available via a single button press or command. Nurnburger uses seat controls as an example of the piss-off factor in action.

At one point, Aston wanted to remove them for a few reasons, namely because migrating the controls to a touchscreen would have saved weight and created a cleaner design. (Plus, having fewer physical controls saves a bit of coin on every car made.) However, members of the design team told Nurnburger that they liked to adjust the seat on the fly depending on the type of driving they were doing. So, the new Vantage has physical seat controls. 

2025 Aston Martin Vantage touchscreen

Controls for temperature and fan speed also survived, likely due to similar feedback. “If you want to turn the volume up and down, temperature absolutely — the minute you’ve got to go into a screen and tap for temperature, you’ve lost the customer. You’ve lost the experience,” says the design director.

Immediacy is another facet, and having customers get what they want from the interior space quickly is important to the design team: “That’s the thing about the piss-off factor. When you want it, you want it instantly,” Nurnburger said. The designer says that over the last five years, the team at Aston has started designing its interiors more intentionally and not just giving things buttons because they needed a button. Now, it’s about prioritization. And not ticking people off.

Edmunds says

A whole lot of other automakers could benefit from adopting Nurnburger’s piss-off factor metric. Burying things like climate functionality in touchscreens is bad, and it sounds like Aston Martin has found a balance that works.