As an admitted car enthusiast (or addict, according to some people), I revel in new automobile technology.
Well, the cool and useful stuff, anyway.
Engines that churn out more horsepower using less fuel excite me. Advances in car audio get my heart pumping. Heated seats and power liftgates are direct descendants of heaven. But thermoelectric rear center-console refrigerators and power up/down headrests, as offered in the new Hyundai Equus? No, thanks.
These are signs that in-car technology has gone as far as it should. Not as far as it can, but as far as it should. Now that power headrests are an option, it won’t be long before things like thermoelectric power door handles and gasoline-powered cupholders become standard fare. And no one needs that.
Mercedes-Benz announced yesterday (scroll down for the press release) that two new advanced V8 engines will soon prowl U.S. streets. That’s right up my alley, and the kind of technology that makes a real difference in the world. The company tells us its new 4.6-liter V8 engine,
has 20 percent smaller displacement than its predecessor but generates 429 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque – 12 percent more horsepower and 32 percent more torque than the engine it replaces yet fuel economy improves by about 10%.
The second engine making its debut is the hand-assembled high-performance 5.5-liter AMG V8 engine, featuring the use of stop/start technology as well as twin turbochargers and direct injection. This new engine produces 536 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque while at the same time achieving an estimated 20 percent improvement in fuel economy.
The engines will debut in the 2011 CL-Class set to arrive at dealerships in November and begin at $114,025.
For that price, the new Benz will surely feature lots of other technology goodies too, but I hope nothing like the aforementioned Equus’ gimmicky refrigerator and headrests. Actually, the latest uber-Hyundai uses a host of technology that has no business in cars, including, prepare yourself for this one, a forward-view camera.
Call me an old-school purist if you must, but I think a much cheaper option, and one that has been around since the advent of motoring, is to simply look forward when driving. Crazy, I know.
I’m tempted to accuse Hyundai of adding random technology to the Equus simply to help justify its $58,000 starting price. The car does have a divine power trunk lid, though, so I’ll keep my mouth shut.
Do you adjust your headrest enough to justify putting a motor in it?