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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.