These days your car is defined by its technological features just as much (if not more) as it is by the engine that powers it. If there’s still an engine under the bonnet, and not an electric unit.
Technology is and always has been a double-edged sword, it makes your life easier but it can also make it more complicated.
I’m agnostic when it comes to technology, I don’t hate it, I don’t love it. But for all you technology buffs out there, these are some of the best options on the market right now.
1. Mercedes-Benz EQS: a 56-inch Hyperscreen
The massive 56-inch MBUX ‘Hyperscreen’ in the Mercedes EQS sparked comments and debate when Merc first unveiled it to the public a few months ago because as a general rule, buyers want screens, but car people hate them.
With the ‘Hyperscreen’, Mercedes basically slammed three iPad-like displays in the dashboard and glued them together. It has been done before, of course, but not to this extent, and certainly not with a screen that basically covers the dashboard – including the passenger side – and the centre console in its entirety.
The curved glass is made from scratch-resistant aluminium silicate and includes 12 actuators beneath the surface for haptic feedback.
It’s an optional extra, and a pricey one at that, so time (and sales numbers) will tell whether it was a good idea or not.
2. Lamborghini Huracán: What3Words
What3words is the name of the company, the technology and also the app that anyone can download to test said technology. It’s simple and clever: what3words assigns a 3-word unique code to every square metre of the surface of the planet, helping you navigate to a specific point without having to input an address or coordinates.
The 3-word system is also language-sensitive, meaning you can set up your own language to use the app, making it easier to navigate without having to rely on unfamiliar alphabets or words.
The 3-word system helps you reach specific spots of the globe even if there isn’t an address (ie, a specific spot on your favourite beach or the middle of the desert), and it’s easier to use (albeit arguably slightly less accurate) than coordinates. Lamborghini is the first car company to integrate this technology, and it also integrates Alexa.
“Lambo, please navigate to sadly.neat.vocals” and that’s La Mer South Beach in Dubai.
Brilliant, isn’t it?
3. Alfa Romeo Tonale: NFTs
I feel like we’re going to have to include the word ‘NFT’ in many different conversations in the coming months and years but Alfa is at the forefront of a technological (r)evolution as it becomes the first car company to associate one of its road-going models with an NFT.
True, Alpine has done something similar, but the French automaker has launched NFTs for a video game, whereas Alfa is doing the same thing for its latest road-going vehicle, the Tonale, and the NFTs in question aren’t a glorified JPEG that cost more than the actual car, they’re the equivalent of a digital certificate of ownership and authenticity using blockchain technology.
4. Polestar 2: Android Automotive
Modern cars have a lot more in common with our smartphones and the cars our dad or granddad used to drive. Take the Polestar 2 as a prime example, it is literally powered by Android.
Android Automotive – yes, that’s the same Android that your Samsung uses – is built right into the car. It has its own data connection, and it incorporates Google Maps, YouTube Music and a few more Android-friendly apps.
This begs the question, what if you’re an Apple user? Well, Polestar said Apple CarPlay support is coming, in the meantime you’re going to have jump to the dark side of smartphone technology.
5. Huawei Aito M5: a smartphone company built a car
Huawei, the Chinese tech giant that most people know for the eponymous smartphones, has built a car called the ‘Aito M5’, a mid-size SUV (basically the same size as a Mercedes GLB), available with two engine options, both of which are hybrid – yup, not electric.
Priced from around $38,500 (£28k), the AIto M5 features a 15.6-inch screen with 2k resolution, powered by Huawei’s proprietary Harmony OS, which also integrates a system called Petal Maps and Celia Suggestions (Huawei’s version of Alexa or Siri).