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The top-end technology which trickled down into regular cars

The top-end technology which trickled down into regular cars


Many manufacturers team up to produce cars neither could manage on their own. These are some of the most unexpected

As motorists we’ve become accustomed to certain features being fitted to our cars as standard.

Little touches which make our motoring lives a little easier, a little safer or - if anything - just a little more interesting.

However, though some of these technologies may be commonplace nowadays, they had some special beginnings, in some pretty special cars. Let’s take a look at them.


Keyless entry - W220 Mercedes S-Class

Keyless entry is a common feature on modern cars. Turning a key in the barrel to get a car started is old-school nowadays; it’s far more fitting to spark an engine into life by pressing a button, the key safely stowed away in your pocket.

W220 mercedes S-Class

But this technology hasn’t always been around. In fact, it first showed up back in 1998 in the Mercedes S Class - a car which has, time after time, debuted some cutting-edge tech. This isn’t the last time we’ll see it on this list, either.


Tyre pressure monitoring system - Porsche 959

There was a time when you checked the amount of air in your tyres by attaching it to a valve metal valve, and though this is still commonplace in garages, it’s been replaced in the cars themselves by tyre pressure monitoring systems. A light on the dashboard, or even an alert in the in-car computer now shows you when your pressures are low, or when you’ve got a puncture.

Porsche 959

This technology was first introduced by the ground-breaking Porsche 959 - a car which was particularly cutting-edge when it was introduced in the late 1980s. It’s a system which is now fitted to all manner of cars, from the humble hatchback right up to the top-notch supercar.

Around-view monitoring system - Infinti EX

Around-view monitoring systems are a helpful bit of technology available on a lot of new cars - particularly larger ones which take a little more effort to park or position. And though the system is available on plenty of new cars - both budget and premium - there was a time when it could only be specified on just one.

Infiniti EX

That was the Infiniti EX. Back in 2008, it was the very first production car to use the technology, utilising a series of cameras dotted around the car to provide a single ‘birds eye’ view of the car, relayed to the driver via a central screen.

Adaptive Cruise Control - Mercedes S Class

Yes, we said that the Mercedes S Class would be appearing in this list again - and here it is. Back in 1999, Mercedes implemented its ‘Distronic’ cruise control system, and it was first time that the radar-controlled technology had been fitted to a passenger car. Now, it’s commonplace to have cars which slow and speed themselves up to speeds set by the driver.

Mercedes S-Class

We’ll add something in. Toyota did preview a similar system a year earlier, but this utilised lasers instead of radar - and it was only available on the Celsior, which didn’t come to the UK.

Satellite navigation - BMW 7 Series (E38)

These days, few people would manage to get behind the wheel and get to an unknown location without help from a satellite navigation system. Not only do they show you where to go, but they estimate arrival times and inform of traffic en-route, too.

BMW 7 Series

The first time it appeared, on European roads at least, was in 1994 on BMW’s then-brand new 7 Series. Developed with Philips, it was the first time that whoever was behind the wheel could enter a destination and have the route mapped out for them. Again, a caveat; this technology did appear on other cars earlier on, but none came to the UK.