Cars have smartened up a bit of late, with added WiFi, Google Street View, Twitter, and all manner of nifty smartphone tricks built in, even the most hardened auto-skeptic can’t help but sit up and notice.
i8 has a top speed of 155 and a 0-62mph acceleration time of 4.4 seconds. But this petrol-electric hybrid is no fuel guzzler. It’s the first sports car with the consumption and emission value of a compact. And it’s got some seriously cool connected features.
The i ConnectedDrive system on the dashboard acts as your Satnav and traffic assistant, diverting you around heavy traffic, advising you on driving style, and even suggesting alternative public transport routes if it’ll get you there quicker. It also will find the nearest charging point and tell you if there’s a queue.
The Android and iOS i Remote app lets you lock and unlock the i8, check battery status, and adjust the climate of the car before you drive.
i8 will slow down between 10 and 35mph to avoid hitting pedestrians, and applies the brakes at higher speeds if it senses an imminent impact.
And to show it really means business, i8 amplifies its engine sound through the car’s speakers.
Better fasten your seatbelt for this part, though – the i8 will set you back £100,000.
Leaf is a fully electric hatchback that boasts a capacity of 124 miles per charge and top speeds of up to around 90mph. Its long-lasting lithium-ion battery ensures each charge is as powerful as the last, and its connected capabilities make it easy to charge and take care of from an app on your phone.
With the Nissan CARWINGS app, you can control Leaf’s climate, charge it remotely, and access stats like your charging patterns, history, and mileage.
CARWINGS will give you an estimated driving range with its current battery level, and let you know when charging will complete.
There’s also an Around View Monitor that gives you a 360 degree surroundings view from above whilst parking, rather than the standard rear view camera.
Nissan Leaf is £15,790.
With a 3.0 litre TDI petrol-electric hybrid engine, e-tron is lighter and more energy efficient that its Q7 predecessor, not to mention its heat pump that minimises the electricity demands of using heating and air-con. But it’s the connected features that have really caught our attention.
e-tron is linked up to Audi Connect, Audi’s network of built-in tech that gives you seamless connection to the internet. The dashboard display lets you navigate with Google Earth and Street view, whilst providing you with weather and traffic warnings along the way. You can also connect to Google, Twitter, and any WiFi hotspot.
Two high-definition removable touch-screens on the back of the front seats enable you to stream content via your mobile, a USB cable, or Bluetooth.
This seven-seat luxury SUV has adaptive air suspension and can steer itself with speeds up to 37mph. Its sound system will also automatically adapt to vehicle and background noise.
The Audi Q7 e-tron is launching in 2016, with the price yet to be confirmed. Register your interest here.
We’re already pretty excited at the prospect of the first driverless car hitting the streets for a test drive soon, but the news that Mercedes-Benz is developing a luxury driverless car for public transport has us in something of a frenzy.
At the Frankfurt auto show, Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Mercedes owner Daimler, suggested that the company is considering developing a high-end driverless car that could be summoned using Daimler’s app-supported car pooling service car2go.
“This is a concrete development goal of ours,” Zetsche told Reuters. “It would be even more convenient if the car came to you autonomously.”
Mercedes-Benz already unveiled a windowless, driverless concept car (pictured above) at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. The F 015 Luxury in Motion, clad in sleek chrome with futuristic blue headlights, could very well hint at what the company’s on-call limousines will look like.
Just as we’re finally getting our heads round the idea that cars can drive themselves, BMW has gone and thrown its Series 7 into the mix. WiFi connectivity? Check. Hybrid engine? Pfft, tell us something that will surprise us. Self-parking? Ch – wait, what?
Yes, you heard us right. Using a little key fob with up and down buttons, you can direct the Series 7 to park itself whilst you’re not even in the car. With a host of smart sensors to avoid bumping into anything, the car will hopefully slot like a dream into its parking space. Necessary? Not particularly. But the kids in us can’t quite get over the idea that it’s like a remote control car… Except giant. So we’re not too concerned with necessity.
Other cool extras include a 7-inch tablet controller in the back that lets you check the car’s status and browse the internet, and a function in the fob that tells you how hot the car is before you get in it.
The BMW 7 Series will set you back just a tad more than your average remote control car, at £72, 060.
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