Our legal eagle feels that too many gadgets in a car are not only annoying but dangerous, too.
EDRIC LOVES WELL-ENGINEERED CARS WITH FEW FRILLS, AND NO NEW-FANGLED IN-BUILT GIZMO WILL IMPRESS HIM ENOUGH TO MAKE HIM EAT HIS WELL-WORN HAT.
THERE are at least four ways to adjust the volume of the radio in BMW’s new 7 Series, one of which is by simply gesturing with your hand. I may be the fuddiest, duddiest trilby-wearing dinosaur for saying this, but do we really need all this complexity? Today’s car launches typically involve more talk about the vehicle’s latest array of smartaleck electronic features rather than its styling, dynamics, effi ciency or cabin space. The ability to sync your smartphone to the car’s infotainment system is useful, but having your social media feeds flashing up on the console screen as you’re navigating congested citycentre roads? Utter madness.
You may have seen the Youtube clip of the van that careened through a red light in the CBD before it smashed into a motorcycle (whose rider later died) and wrecked a hapless white McLaren. Precisely this sort of accident can happen with just a moment’s inattention, perhaps a stray glance at the screen as the latest Kardashian tweet flashes up. Other instances of dangerous gizmo overkill include external parking sensors that are employed in higher speed settings, in a misguided attempt to nanny drivers by warning of other vehicles’ proximity. Systems such as these only serve to distract drivers with their chorus of beeps and chimes.
Adjustable steering resistance is another pet peeve. In over 20 years reviewing cars, not once have I driven a car with power steering and wished that the helm was lighter. So, development teams, just pick the ideal steering resistance level and stick with it – you, not the consumer, are being paid to engineer the car. The list goes on – touchpads that read your handwriting, hidden gearshift knobs that emerge from the centre console, on-call concierge services, voice-activated search functions… When is enough truly enough? One feature I would fully welcome, though: in-built in-car cameras, front and rear. This is an invaluable aftermarket accessory. Will someone please make it standard?