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Feature

First published: 26th October 2016

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Feature

Halloween: Trick or treat technology in cars

The good, the bad and the ugly. This Halloween, we take a look at the top five tricks and treats in car technology.

First published: 26th October 2016
Technology in cars has come on leaps and bounds over the past few years, and is now a serious consideration for anyone looking to buy a new car. Some of it you won’t know how you ever lived without, some of it you’ll really wish you could afford, and some of it still needs a bit of work.

To celebrate Halloween, we take a look at the top five tricks and treats in car technology.
Treats
Mini Cooper
Vauxhall Corsa
“Look kids, no hands”: Vauxhall, Mini and Skoda
Got yourself in a bit of a tight spot, or trying to get yourself into a bit of a tight spot? Let your car do the manoeuvring for you. “Look kids, no hands,” you can proudly say as they look on in baffled (bored) amazement (resentment). There’s quite a few examples of this now, including on theVauxhall Corsa,Mini Cooper and the Skoda Superb.
BMW head-up display
Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid
Eyes on the road: BMW and Toyota
A head-up display is one of those things you don’t realise is so helpful, until you use it. Without taking your eyes off the road, you can see navigation instructions, your speed, and road signs floating in front of your eyes. You’ll find the best examples in most BMWs, and the Toyota Prius.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class interior
BMW 7-Series interior
Aaaand relax: Mercedes and BMW
Got a long drive, stuck in traffic, or just had a stressful day at the office? Well, now you can relax in the comfort of your car… with a massage. Models such as the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class are available with massage seats for both the driver and passenger. You can get a ‘vitality programme’ massage in the BMW, and the Merc has six massage modes, including ‘hot stone’ and ‘workout’.
Rolls-Royce starlight headliner
Vauxhall Adam starlight headliner
Seeing stars: Rolls-Royce... and Vauxhall
Money can buy you most things, including a bespoke, handcrafted ‘starlight headliner’ in your Rolls-Royce. The constellation is unique, so can form family crests, the night sky in a particular place at a particular time, or the Rolls-Royce logo. It takes two craftspeople more than 17 hours to complete, and the brightness of each ‘star’ can be adjusted. The ultimate in opulence?

The good news for those of you who can’t quite afford Rolls-Royce levels of luxury just yet is that something similar is also available in the Vauxhall Adam. Starlight headliners for everyone.
Bentley interior
Bentley champagne flutes
Going on an adventure: Bentley
As Bentley says, whether you’re on a mountain, in a city-centre park, or at the polo (where else?), you can now take your Bentley lifestyle with you. The Linley Hamper by Mulliner is secured using a tray docking mechanism, and features fine crockery and cutlery, an illuminated cooling compartment – which keeps two bottles of champagne and your Bentley crystal champagne flutes cold – and an extra compartment for additional items (including a sumptuous cashmere picnic rug).
Tricks
BMW 4 Series
BMW seat belt extender
You’re not going anywhere: BMW
Sit inside a BMW, and something that looks like the inner mouth of the Xenomorph from 'Alien' hands you your seatbelt. You click it in and it gives you an unsettling, restraining tug. Aside from being a little uncomfortable and coming as a bit of a shock to passengers, the pretensioner is a safety device triggered just before a crash, that ensures you’re firmly in your seat and get the maximum protection from the front airbag.
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Going 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds: Tesla
This is especially fun if your passenger has never been in an electric car before, but even those that have will still be shocked at the ridiculous acceleration of the Tesla Model S P100d. Hit ‘Ludicrous Mode’ (yes, that's what it’s called), and fly from 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds. It’s guaranteed to leave you feeling like your stomach is in your throat.
Tesla autopilot
Tesla Model S interior
No hands on the wheel
Car manufacturers have been making a lot of noise about self-driving cars for the past few years, but Tesla has recently announced that every car it produces from now on will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability. That includes the sub-£30,000 Model 3. There’s still a long way to go, but the technology has come on vast amounts in the last decade.
SYNC 3 voice control
Yelling
No, I don’t want to call Abi
You’re driving along and fancy a change of music, so you use your voice control to ‘play Abba’ and find yourself on the phone to your ex, Abi. While it’s less distracting to speak to your car than fiddle around with knobs and buttons while driving, you may find yourself getting more than a bit frustrated with voice control fails.
Beep
Beep
Beep!
While it’s nice to be warned about things, so many cars today beep at absolutely everything: seatbelt not on the second you get in the car, beep… trying to park, all the beeps… small shrub in front of your car, solid beep… low washer fluid, beep… You get the picture.