CARS.COM — The 2017 auto show season is now behind us, and we've had a chance to reflect and ruminate on the cool stuff we've seen in upcoming concept and production cars. We canvassed our editors and staffers for a list of the five new technologies that we can't wait to try over the next couple of years — here's what we said.
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1. 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class "Energizing Comfort"
The refreshed 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a new feature called Energizing Comfort, which combines a bunch of the car's functions to enhance passenger "wellness." The system adjusts the car's climate control, seat heating/cooling/massage functions, audio system, ambient lighting, visual displays and the built-in fragrance delivery system to create one of six "moods" for a set 10-minute long program. You can use one of five stored audio tracks with these moods (Freshness, Warmth, Joy, Comfort, Vitality and Training) or upload your own music, which is then analyzed for beats per minute and assigned to one of the appropriate themes.
2. Tesla Automatic Emergency Braking (90-MPH Edition)
Teslas used to have automatic emergency braking at speeds up to 90 mph, but since October 2016, models haven't had the increasingly ubiquitous electronic safety feature. Only recently did Tesla restore the system on the Model S and Model X, but only to speeds up to 28 mph, and only after Consumer Reports dinged the electric carmaker for taking the feature away and not fully restoring it as promised. We're looking forward to having this feature back and fully operational as soon as possible, too.
3. Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Paddle-Triggered Launch Control
In a normal car with launch control, you push a few buttons to set the rpm, put your left foot on the brake, floor the accelerator and when you're ready, you let your foot slip off the brake and off you go. In the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, it doesn't work like that; moving your foot off the brake is too slow, says Dodge. Instead, since the Demon has a transmission lock and line lock for its launch control, you launch it by pulling the shifter paddles on the steering wheel. All of us want to feel what zero-to-60 mph in 2.3 seconds feels like, and this is how you do it.
4. Acura Precision Concept Interior
At the 2016 North American International Auto Show, Acura showed us the Precision Concept, a decidedly handsome four-door concept car with a wild interior. Yet this interior may have several production-ready touches that we'll see soon, such as an identity recognition scan feature. Once your identity is confirmed, the car then automatically adjusts everything to your tastes. Performance preference, seat position and even the car's audio playlists are set up for you automatically.
5. Toyota FT-4X "BYOM" (Bring Your Own Media) Display
Toyota's new FT-4X concept car, introduced earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show, is a kind of next-generation off-roader for tech-savvy youngsters, developed with significant input from "outdoorsy Millennials in the [San Francisco] Bay Area." That's why it has funky North Face upholstery and a GoPro in the side mirror.
But it also has a neat feature whose time has come: There's no central display. Instead, there's a slot for your smartphone. Pop it into the slot, and a special software will make it act as the vehicle's multimedia interface. Since many of us already use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, why not just use a software people are already familiar with? Seems like a simple solution to us.