4 Cool Car Features In Australian Sedans
Car features like high-tech high-beam headlights, customisable driver displays, cars with four turning wheels, speed-limit recognition, and autopilot ‘drivers’ are on the rise.
If you’re interested in sedans with cool car features, here’s Gumtree Cars’ quick guide to five of the fanciest pieces of car technology available today.
MULTI-LED HIGH BEAM
We would say here’s some tech to dazzle you – except it’s designed to avoid doing just that.
Various cars are now available with special headlight features that make manual flicking between High and Low beams at night a thing of the past.
Simply put the headlights into Auto mode and specific areas of the high beam are blocked out so other road users aren’t temporarily blinded by it.
The ‘shadowing’ of other vehicles, or even pedestrians, is electronically controlled by the car, which responds to the lights of other cars or spotting people on the side of the road by dimming or switching off a select number of the headlight system’s multiple LEDs.
Other LEDs not pointing into someone’s path remain on full power to give the driver the benefit of high beam for other parts of the road and scenery.
Audi’s 2013 A8 was the world’s first car to feature this computer-based tech, though the ‘Matrix LED’ headlights have been available more affordable A4 sedans from 2015 onwards.
Various Benzes and BMWs are available with similar tech that is also starting to move into the mainstream segment, with cars such as the Holden Commodore VXR sedan.
Speedo, rev counter, fuel gauge, engine temp gauge. For so long, that used to be about it for instrument dials ahead of the driver before car makers started dabbling, from the 1980s, with various forms of digital readouts (with various degrees of success).
Now, as the worlds of cars and smartphones continue to merge at a rapid rate, more and more vehicles are becoming available with standard or optional high-resolution driver displays that are entirely digital and completely customisable.
They cleverly allow the driver to choose which pieces of information they want to see most clearly.
If you’re using the car’s integrated map to navigate around busy city traffic, for example, digital driver displays such as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit or Volkswagen’s related Active Info Display allows you to fill most of the screen with a digital guidance map.
These displays often also allow the driver to personalise the display with different colours, or even styles – which on some versions includes a ‘classic’ style mimicking an old-school analogue instrument panel.
Sedans available with these digital cockpits include various Audis from the A3 upwards, the Volkswagen Passat and Arteon and the Tesla Model S.
SELF STEERING/AUTO PILOT
The future of motoring is set to feature fully autonomous cars that will allow you to relax, work or even sleep on the commute to the office.
While we wouldn’t start telling the younger generation to forget about driving lessons just yet, it’s true you can already buy a car right now that will take control of the steering.
The Model S sedan from electric-car company Tesla has been one of the pioneering models with its AutoPilot system, with the German car makers following up with their own versions of hands-free driving.
Car features with self-steering technology typically use an array of radar cameras and long-range ultrasonic sensors all around the vehicle (even a laser scanner, in the case of the Audi A8) to monitor traffic and the surrounding environment.
With cruise control engaged, the vehicle then automatically adjusts the steering wheel (as well as the braking and accelerating) as necessary to keep the car centred in its lane even around (gradual) corners.
The Model S and A8 will allow the driver to keep their hands off the wheel for a longer time than they may actually be comfortable with. Other systems allow very limited time before warning the driver to put their hands back on the wheel – switching off in many cases.
SPEED LIMIT READING
It’s no fun getting booked for speeding, so knowing the speed limit on a particular road you’re driving along is always helpful.
But not always easy, owing to Australia’s vast network of long roads that can either feature too few signs or see the maximum speed change with confusing regularity.
So, step forward some handy car features available on sedans from luxury brands such as Volvo (S90 and S60) and even mainstream brands like Mazda (Mazda 3 and Mazda 6).
Both Volvo’s Road Sign Information and Mazda’s Traffic Sign Recognition systems work the same way – using a forward-facing camera to ‘read’ posted speed limits and display them on the driver’s instrument panel.
The speed limit graphic will even flash if you’re exceeding the current speed, while it can also notify you when you’ve entered a No Overtaking zone.
It’s not quite foolproof yet, though, as the systems will show a 40km/h limit even when passing through school zones during the middle of the day.
Still, we’d rather have the system than not.