Our favorite car tech and luxury features of 2018

Roadshow's editors pick their favorite in-car luxury, convenience, infotainment and safety tech features.

Kyle Hyatt
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 Cabriolet
1 of 17 Emme Hall/Roadshow

Roadshow's favorite luxury and tech features for 2018

With more technology making its way into our cars, there's a lot of cool and useful stuff to make drive time more enjoyable. In addition to infotainment and safety equipment, technology is helping premium cars get even more luxurious. We're living in good times, folks.

Roadshow's editors all have their favorite bits of car tech, and we've outlined a number of them in this gallery. Click through to see our team's favorite comfort, safety, convenience and infotainment features.

2019 Toyota Avalon
2 of 17 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Cooled seats

Nobody likes a swampy bottom when they're driving around on a sweltering summer day, so cooled seats are very popular with our editors. Thankfully this is becoming a pretty common feature, and not just on premium cars.

Koenigsegg CCXR key
3 of 17 KeyMe

Upscale key fobs

Whether it's the the Aston Martin Emotion Control Unit, the Panamera-shaped Porsche fob or the crazy billet Koenigsegg fob that you practically need a back brace to pick up, there are few things that get you more in the mood to drive a car than a sexy key.

2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn
4 of 17 Rolls-Royce

Self-closing doors

Power liftgates are pretty commonplace with crossovers and SUVs, but self-closing doors are another story -- in fact, Rolls-Royce is pretty much the only game in town. But holy hell do they make you feel special (which you should, if you're driving a Rolls). We love this because clearly, only peasants close their own suicide doors.

On the other hand, many luxury cars come with soft-close doors. This means you can gently shut the doors on your Bentley or BMW and electronics will take care of the final bit. Slamming is just so uncivilized.

2018 McLaren 570S Spider
5 of 17 McLaren

Suspension nose lifts

Having a built-in suspension lift on a sports car is so convenient and necessary that you'd be a fool to spec your car without it. The nose-lift makes getting into and out of parking garages simple, getting over speed humps easy and getting onto or off of trailers a breeze.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan
6 of 17 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Massaging seats

Massaging seats sounds like a silly add-on for a luxury car, but the good systems are phenomenal, preventing driver fatigue and keeping your blood moving while seated for extended periods. Plus, they're just so soothing. Win-win.

2018 Volvo XC60
7 of 17 Emme Hall/Roadshow

Bowers & Wilkins stereos

Paying extra for the branded stereo option in a new car is kind of a crap shoot. Some of them are terrible and you'd be better off saving a few grand and living with the base option. Others are almost unilaterally excellent and are worth the cash if you're a serious audiophile. Most Bowers & Wilkins units fall into this latter category. Volvo uses this stuff in the new XC60 and that's one of the best car stereos we've heard yet.

2018 Lexus LS
8 of 17 Lexus

Power sunshades

Being a passenger in the rear seat can be kind of a drag, especially if you're on a long trip and you're getting pummeled on three sides by the sun for hours at a time. It's hot and bright and really kills your nap vibes. Power sunshades fix this with ease, plus they make you look like a baller.

2018 Lincoln Continental
9 of 17 Lincoln

Color head-up displays

Staying safe in a car is all about keeping your eyes on the road and being aware of what's going on around you. Unfortunately, there are a ton of other things in the car competing for your attention, but all of the vehicle's key data can be projected into your line of sight by a good color heads-up display. These are non-distracting and can make your journey a little safer.

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 Sport Turismo
10 of 17 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Porsche's Sport Response button

It's like a race car's push-to-pass button but in a road car. It's awesome, it's addictive and it's only on Porsches for now. Specifically, when you push the little button inside the steering wheel-mounted controller, you get 20 seconds of peak responsiveness from the engine and transmission. It's not like hitting a hyperspeed button, but it's close enough for us.

Blind spot monitoring
11 of 17 Volvo

Blind spot monitoring

One of the best driver-assistance features to become common over the last few years is blind spot monitoring. Simply put, it uses a little radar sensor to tell you when someone is creeping into your blind spots, thus alerting you to not change lanes directly into them. It's simple, and it works.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet
12 of 17 Jon Wong/Roadshow

Mercedes-Benz AirScarf

In short, it's a heater vent designed to blow on your neck. It sounds silly but holy crap is it nice in a convertible, particularly when the top is down and it's a little chilly out. It feels way more luxurious than hot air has any right to.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
13 of 17 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Burmester stereos

When you're sitting at your computer speccing out your lovely new Porsche or Mercedes, the idea of spending upwards of $6,000 on a Burmester stereo system seems silly. I mean, it's a car stereo, how good can it be? Well, friend, the answer is that it's almost too good and, frankly, it's a bargain. Let me explain, if you wanted a Burmester stereo system for your house, you'd be lucky to get out the door for under $100,000. When you option it for your Porsche, you are still probably spending over $100,000 but you're getting a Porsche thrown in, solid deal.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
14 of 17 Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes' Magic Sky Control

Silly name aside, Magic Sky Control is a pretty amazing piece of kit. Essentially, it's an electrochromic glass panel that allows the driver to lighten and darken it at will, altering the amount of brightness and heat that is admitted into the cabin. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace
15 of 17 Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Heated steering wheel

Sure, we love heated seats and cooled seats and heated mirrors and cooled cupholders, but you know what we really love? A heated steering wheel. It's a simple, relatively low-tech feature but something about that wheel silently warming your aching hands on a cold winter morning just feels… right.

2018 Cadillac CT6 Super Cruise
16 of 17 Cadillac

Cadillac Super Cruise Promo

GM's Super Cruise is probably the best Level 2 autonomous driving assistant on the market now. We love it because it works and because it actively monitors driver focus which means no cheating the system with citrus.

2018 BMW M550i
17 of 17 Emme Hall/Roadshow

Intelligent infotainment presets

We almost never use radio presets given how long we're typically in a test car, but we love that many new cars, like BMW's with iDrive 3.0, will let you set destinations, contacts or even certain menu screens as quick presets with the radio buttons.

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