Pure Highway H260DBi
The latest radio from DAB stalwarts Pure looks to take attention away from large infotainment systems, instead focusing on a simple style and useful addtions. Of course, it’s packed with DAB features like crisp sound, scrolling text displays and a nice array of stations, yet it still has classic FM/AM signals if you’re in a spot of reception bother. Modern day bells and whistles like Bluetooth audio playback with A2DP controls, USB connectivity and an external microphone are all present too.
Price: £149.99 | Pure
BMW Connected Drive & LTE router
BMW’s Connected Drive service has been around for a while now, yet the German automotive makers are not slowing down with innovation for its latest update. Audible, Rhapsody, Glympse and TuneIn Radio are all headed for the service, with connection coming by way of an iPhone 5. BMW has also shown off a nifty, portable LTE wireless router, for full high-speed, in-car connectivity.
This utterly futuristic looking device from Garmin attaches your smartphone to the unit and projects information about your speed, location and driving directions right onto your windscreen. The navigation data comes directly from either Garmin’s Navigon or StreetPilot apps – which need to be installed on your device – so it’s compatible with iPhones, Android and Windows Phone 8. It may look like something out of a sci-fi blockbuster, yet it is set to go sale at a relatively low price.
Price: $129.99 | Garmin
Harman infotainment system with Android
Memories of in-car tech always conjures up images of user-interfaces lacking any sort of usability, so Harman are trying to combat this by bringing the widely adopted Android operating system to its latest range of in-car gadgets. A full suite of apps are in toe, so you’ll be able to keep up-to-date with your Gmail, or check for the best restaurants with Google Local. Interestingly, all the car functions will be controlled by a separate QNX based platform, so Android won’t get in the way of anything important.
Volkswagen iBeetle with iPhone integration
Volkswagen has taken iPhone integration one step further with its latest Beetle model, even going as far as calling it the iBeetle. Available in coupe or convertible models, the uniquely designed vehicle has a dock placed centrally on the dashboard that gives all sorts of added functionality when an iPhone is connected. Features range from monitoring car performance, comparing journey times and fuel economy to more social features like sharing your location with others and even taking a virtual postcard.
iOS in the Car
Revealed as part of Apple’s seventh iteration of its wildly popular operating system, iOS in the Car aims to take all the essential parts of your iPhone and beam them over to the screen on the cars dash. From simple tasks such as making a phone call or reading a text, to more interesting aspects like getting directions through Apple’s controversial maps service or choosing some tunes for the long journey. Debuting in 2014, this is about as likely we are to see an iCar anytime soon.
If a factory fitted piece of in-car tech isn’t for you, then Pioneer’s latest system comes packing some serious specs and features. There’s a high-res 7 inch screen, pre-loaded maps for 45 countries, Micro-SD and USB slots and an HDMI port for connecting an Android smartphone. Pioneer has also included the useful ability to mirror certain apps from your phone onto the large display. Clever.
Price: £899.99 | Pioneer
Audi R8 e-tron digital rear view mirror
The electric super car set to land on roads later this year will be even more desirable thanks to the inclusion of the Samsung developed 7.7-inch AMOLED display that has so far only been used in Audi’s R18 Le Mans racing car. With no rear window, the digital mirror will be hooked up to a camera that can give you a clear image of cars behind you with the ability to adjust the brightness of the image from the driving seat.
Renault Clio R-Link
You have apps on your phone, tablet, computer and even TV, but now you can have apps in your car. Renault R- Link brings a 7-inch touchscreen that not only can be controlled by the touchscreen, but also by the sound of your voice or a remote on the steering wheel. It is clever too, showing you detailed information about your fuel consumption, while keeping you updated of the traffic situation through Tom Tom Live. With many apps already available, the R-Link could be a complete in-car assistant.
Mercedes Benz S350 BlueTec 4Matic
The sleek, turbodiesel number is packed with enough tech to keep the passenger beside you occupied. A central controller hosts an 8-inch LCD display giving access to audio, video and navigation features. A power-mongering Harman Kardon 15-speaker sound system delivers Dolby 5.1 surround sound with Digital Dynamic Volume to keep audiophiles happy, while the optional SplitView front seat entertainment system allows the 8-inch LCD screen to show two different screens for driver and front passenger at the same time when you have run out of things to talk about.
Link: Mercedes Benz
Chevrolet GoGo Link
Built in car navigation systems can often be overly expensive, so Chevrolet has come up with a solution to allow owners of their low-end model to enjoy some of the high end benefits. The GoGo Link is a $50 option that turns your cars MyLink screen, through an app on your smartphone, into a fully fledged navigation system.
Volkswagen Golf 2013
The new 2013 Golf looks the business, but take a trip inside and you’ll find some very interesting tech as well. A standard 5.8-inch display can be upgraded to a tablet-sized 8-inch touchscreen display that can be operated simply by finger gestures. The screen will be able to control a range of features including DAB radio and trip navigation and will also show you incoming call on your mobile connected through Bluetooth.
Infiniti M Sedan
With a design inspired by nature, the luxury sedan features a Forest Air system that generates a soothing breeze and a range of fragrant scents one which is set to combat fatigue. There’s a 16-speaker Bose sound system that supports Bluetooth streaming and can even be controlled via voice commands with Active Noise Control to deliver the balanced, rich sound throughout the car. Cutting-edge safety tech includes Blind Spot Warning and the innovative Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) systems that will assist you if you veer slightly out of your lane.
Dodge Charger 2012 with Beats By Dre Audio
Anyone eyeing up this years Dodge Charger should be salivating at the knowledge that the 2012 range comes with an 11-speaker Beats by Dre audio system pre-installed. These speakers are driven by a 12 channel amplifier, whilst the head unit carries digital audio sources such as iPod integration, Bluetooth audio streaming and a USB port. The dashboard also features a nice 8.3-inch display with navigation controls. Although it doesn't feature a lot of the tech in other cars this year, you won't really care, because you'll be too busy enjoying your Dre-inspired tunes.
Fiat Blue Me
Fiat's frills-free Blue&Me does exactly what it says on the tin. The basics amount to little more than Bluetooth connectivity, media playback, voice control and a USB port. But the sum is so much greater than the parts. Thanks to partnerships with companies like Microsoft and TomTom, Blue&Me offers top-notch navigation for sensible money, support for easy end-user upgrades and even app installation. Blue&Me also offers excellent iPhone and iPod connectivity, syncs effortlessly with most smartphones and plays music slickly via Bluetooth or USB. Simple, elegant and free from gimmicks, Blue&Me is Fiat at its best and a perfect match for the fiesty 500.
Volkswagen Maps & More
Maps & More is a removable Portable Infotainment Device (PID), developed in association with Navigon specifically for the Volkswagen Up!. To the uneducated eye it looks like a basic satnav, but it’s fully integrated into the Up!’s systems meaning you can control everything from tunes to telematic tech such as ParkPilot's distance control. And it hooks up to your mobile. And it’s just £275 at entry level. And... you want more?! Alright, well Volkswagen is planning to release a range of apps for the pint-sized prodigy this year.
Chevrolet already uses OnStar safety and security systems in their cars and MyLink is an expansion to this onboard package. MyLink is very media-based and features Pandora Internet Radio and Stitcher SmartRadio as well as full wireless connectivity with MP3 players and smartphones. This includes the ability to give simple voice commands to your connected device via a simple tap on a steering wheel button. Thanks to Chevrolet’s own OnStar RemoteLinkapp you can also check up on your car from anywhere via your phone.
Ford SYNC & MyTouch
The goal with Ford’s MyTouch infotainment package was to make a system that could be used comprehensively without the need for the driver to ever take their concentration off the road. Bluetooth support for smartphones means you can play music, send SMS messages and make phone calls without having to take your device out of your pocket. MyTouch also features the more common 3D navigation, climate control and a multitude of diagnostic tools, as well as full voice-recognition controls and straightforward 5-way controls on the steering wheel to operate the centre console. The latest MyTouch update now adds something called 'Scout' which tells you when you are close to a traffic jam and how long is left of your journey. So you can easily answer the kids when the ask 'are we there yet?'
Land Rover 'Say What You See'
The Range Rover Evoque contains much of the infotainment technology that is becoming common in cars today. The 8-inch touch screen acts as a hub for accessing your Bluetooth connected MP3 and Smartphone devices, as well as the usual climate control, DAB Digital Radio as well as a HDD Navigation System should you choose to have it. One interesting, though optional, part of this onboard system is the ‘Say What You See’ (SWYS) feature. This is Range Rover’s answer to voice recognition and control, however the system is intuitive as it learns from your past behaviour as well as adapting to recognise the accents of multiple drivers.
Link: Range Rover
Uses your iPhone’s 3G to power the car’s multimedia – just download the app, attach your phone via USB and your Mini is now internet-ready. You can send directions to the car’s satnav, update Facebook and Twitter and even generate music playlists based on your driving behaviour. Of course, the app can be updated with new features as they’re developed. Given that most people upgrade their handsets a lot more often than they buy a brand new car, using a smartphone to power the latest in-car features makes a lot more sense.
If it's sheer weight of features and functionality you demand, look no further than Audi MMI. The latest version of MMI touch incorporates an optional MMI Nabigation plus system which also boasts voice support that should help you get to your destination. There's a touchpad in the central console to select your albums or type in addresses and a Wi-Fi hotspot for your internet surfing needs.
Acting as a 'command centre' for all your audio and communication needs, the three-pointed star has recently added internet browsing and send-to-car navigation support to its COMAND in-car platform. Voice control is provided by Nuance who already deliver similar technology for the Apple iPhone 4S which means this feature is certainly more polished than some others, too.