Cars are becoming more luxurious, safe, gadget-packed and practical than ever, thanks to leaps in technology and development. Here, we’ve rounded up our six favourite car interior features that truly stand out.
From sat nav and smartphone app mirroring to climate settings and even TV, front seat squabbles over the infotainment screens aren’t unknown. Jaguar Land Rover’s unique and unnervingly clever Dual View system means that the 10” touchscreen can display sat nav or radio information to the driver while the passenger watches digital TV or a DVD with wireless headphones.
Temperature control with Mercedes me
During the winter, nobody enjoys an iced-up windscreen and a cold, uninviting interior. It can be equally unbearable in the summer being hit by a wall of heat when opening the car door, particularly with leather upholstery. The Mercedes me smartphone app solves these problems, letting drivers activate their cars’ heating or cooling systems on demand, or even scheduling activation on a daily basis at a set time, adjusting the car’s internal ambient temperature to be just right for driving off comfortably
With earlier and more rudimentary systems a thing of the past, massage seats now often come with various settings enabling drivers and passengers to tailor the pampering to suit their preferences. The Lexus LS, for instance, boasts seven distinct massage programmes designed with input from expert Shiatsu masseurs from Japan. The rear seat massage system incorporates a unique warming function to alleviate shoulder and lower-back discomfort, while an opulent ottoman automatically extends to take the strain from tired calve muscles.
Becoming familiar with a car’s infotainment system can be daunting for some drivers, especially when it comes to programming a destination into a sat nav. The MMI Touch system from Audi sees a scribble pad integrated near the gear selector. Keeping their eyes focussed on the road ahead, the driver can write numbers and letters using a finger. If the system misunderstands, the driver just has to swipe left or right before reattempting the input. Unlike voice control, MMI Touch can be used while audio is being played or while talking to a fellow passenger or on the telephone, making it even more intuitive.
Sports exhaust buttons
While neighbours may not appreciate the roar of a sports car, the sound can be intoxicating to people who relish driving keenly. Keeping everyone happy, manufacturers have begun providing buttons along with their sports exhaust packages so that, while operating more mutedly at other times, the exhaust’s various valves and flaps can be opened when appropriate to unleash the full orchestra of sound. Examples include the Porsche Panamera and Jaguar F-Type.
MINI’s finishing touches
Providing an incredible degree of customisation, the interior of certain variants of MINI can be tailored minutely, leaving driver and passengers feeling truly special. Customers can specify Malt Brown, Glowing Red or Satellite Grey to their MINI Seven 5-door hatch, for example, along with chequered side fabric panels. Then there’s the trim panel in front of the passenger, which can be specified with a fantastically classy illuminated Union Flag. The Chrome Line Interior, meanwhile, introduces sophisticated decorative rings to your chosen MINI, which you really can make your own down to the last detail.
Why not experience some of these superb cabin features for yourself by visiting your local Inchcape dealership and discovering why we absolutely love them?