It is a matter of time before driverless cars, led by the likes of Google and Apple, become a reality on the roads. Even if they don’t, there are some cars built with such futuristic technology that they can keep us happy for years to come. Some are fully electric, which could very well gain you CEV rebates up to S$30,000 if you drive it in Singapore. Consider that one of the two bonuses, the other being the satisfaction of seeing other people’s jaws hit the floor. Here are our top 10 picks for the most high-tech cars you can own today:
Aston Martin DB11
When it comes to high tech cars, it would be most unwise to omit 007’s car of choice. As much as we’d like our DB11 to come with mini rocket launchers, a fire-proof body kit and perhaps a robotic arm that shoots out with a shaken martini, the stylish sports car is good enough without them.
The DB11’s party trick here is, arguably, the advanced aerodynamics system that significantly reduces drag with the front-end Curlicue and a virtual spoiler called the ‘Aston Martin AeroBlade’. Other than its intense acceleration and power, want to know how Mr Bond manages those death defying car chases? He’s probably relying on the state of the art satellite navigation, gesture support and internal hardware courtesy of Daimler AG.
Audi R8 Coupé
While the Quattro tech remains Audi’s longstanding X-factor, there’s more to the R8 Coupé than just being able to conquer any kind of road conditions. The virtual cockpit is designed to indulge in the driver’s inner Hamilton as the racing-inspired steering wheel contains everything he needs to control the supercar, from the red ignition button and gear shifts to driving modes and infotainment. As the 610hp V10 plus engine roars to life, you can quickly absorb all the vital info on the customisable 12.3-inch TFT screen while racing unapologetically down the street.
It’s been three years since its public launch, but the award-winning BMW i8 still looks like an exotic piece of automation that just descended from space. Its sleek, lightweight carbon fibre body is modelled after high performance sports cars and cancels out the extra weight of carrying both a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine and an electric motor. Under pure electric range, it can cover up to 37km; while it may not be able to bring you from the east end of Singapore all the way to the west, you can revel in the real fun of BMW’s ‘hypercar’ as the gas engine takes over to deliver 349hp and century sprint of 4.4 seconds.
If The Flash himself ever had a car (not that he needs one), it would very likely be this mega speedster. Bugatti have outdone themselves with the $2.6 million Chiron, which is billed the latest world’s fastest car. They have developed the drivetrain to outperform its predecessor, the Veyron, by 25% and the sickening quad-turbocharged W16 engine catapults the Chiron to max power of 1,500hp and max speed of 463km/h. That’s about a quarter of the speed of sound, mind you. It seems their philosophy is that you can never be fast enough, and their speed is their technology.
Ford Focus RS
Rally racing just became a lot more affordable and accessible. Those who swear by hot hatches have had to content with the Golfs, but the Americans are fast playing catch up. Once associated with muscle cars, Ford has transcended that stereotype and turned brawn into performance. The Focus RS is a prime example; its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, capable of producing 350hp and 475Nm torque, even threatens to dethrone Audi’s RS3. But most of all, it edges out with the hair and eyebrow raising ‘Drift’ mode. You have seen eco, comfort and sports modes in cars. But drift mode? Sounds like a barely legal assistance tech the cool kids would want to get in on.
Mercedes Maybach S-Class
Go on, take a bach seat. That’s what it’s meant for anyway. The ultra-luxe Mercedes Maybach S600 is a limo that seems to have incorporated an Airbus’s first class treatment into its cabin, with embossed arm rests and upholstered leather seats to boot. Feeling thirsty? Slide a bottle of Moët and a couple of flutes out of the fridge. Sluggish? Choose your favourite ambient lighting and recline in the executive seats for a power nap. Sore? Power up the inbuilt hot stone massage, and then take another nap.
And you thought you have seen all the obscene technology that the motoring industry has to throw at us.
There is nothing mini about MINI Cooper’s Connected infotainment system. Modelled after BMW’s ‘ConnectedDrive’ technology, MINI Connected welcomes drivers into a whole new world of on-the-road connectivity that includes the XL Journey Mate, online destination search, social media, GoPro and Spotify. With the annoyance that comes with Singapore’s ‘start & stop’ traffic, drivers would have a field day killing time over friends’ gossipy tweets or DJ-ing during the red light wait. The only cool factor missing is the 24/7 concierge service that has turned its parent company, BMW, into moving smartphone on wheels.
Range Rover Evoque Convertible
As Jaguar Range Rover’s first-ever drop-top Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and the world’s only convertible luxury off-roader, the Evoque convertible pretty much speaks for itself. In continuing its tradition of producing top of the line, all-terrain vehicles, it is more than capable of tackling rough rides from potholed forest trails to hilly climbs, all thanks to its Terrain Response system. While the rugged adventurers might be left disappointed by the lack of river sloshing and snow drifting in Singapore, the fully automated roof can always be stowed away in just 18 seconds in case you care for some Vitamin D overload.
Tesla Model 3
There is a reason why more than 100,000 orders were placed shortly after the Tesla Model 3 was launched, including some from Singapore. Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has also declared plans to boost production numbers of Tesla’s newest and most affordable model, which has an electric range of up to 346km and a silent swoosh to 100km/h in less than six seconds.
Compared to other sedans of similar size, the Model 3 purportedly has a roomier interior for greater comfort. Sparse details were shared, but if the Tesla Model S is anything to go by, we’re expecting the Model 3 to also come equipped with cutting-edge tech that stealth ninjas would die for.
There’s nothing quite as sexy as a tech-savvy Swedish bombshell. We’re talking about Volvo’s newly revealed mid-sized 40-series range, which will see bolstered safety features, sportier look and electrification. Volvo has introduced the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform to smaller models, which means drivers can continue to enjoy engineering benefits present in larger cars such as the XC90. The 40 series, consisting the 40.1 crossover and 40.2 sedan concepts, are set for production in 2017. That is just about the time when Volvo implements its keyless car technology, enabling drivers to control ‘start/stop’, ‘lock/unlock’ and car share functions from a smartphone app.
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