The only saving grace of driving anywhere through boring bumper-to-bumper traffic is that you get to listen to your favourite music and catch up on podcasts. The car infotainment system is a must-have, especially when going on long drives to holiday destinations or when visiting friends and relatives who live in another state. Infotainment systems include the music system, surround sound speakers and as of recently a touchscreen display that makes it easy to select what you want to listen to. Being able to connect your Android or Apple phone to the infotainment system is a huge plus as you can then listen to the music stored on your phone or use your favourite apps such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, SoundCloud, and YouTube Music. Now let’s have a look at the cars with the best infotainment systems that will help you forget your tedious everyday commute to work and back.
1) Mercedes-Benz MBUX
MBUX is Mercedes-Benz’s in-house infotainment system with artificial intelligence that will learn the user’s preferences and can be controlled using voice and touch inputs. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system is much faster and more responsive and emulates the functioning of a smartphone. It can change the ambient lighting, and driving modes and also help with adjusting the seat positions. Launched in 2018, The MBUX system can also show navigation information and connect to your phone via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
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The MBUX system comes with 2 screens, one replacing the dials in front of the driver behind the steering wheel and the other main screen placed in the middle of the dashboard. The car’s speed, navigation map and other relevant driving data are shown on the screen behind the steering wheel. Another cool feature of the MBUX system is the LINGUATRONIC voice control system that can be used to control different functions of the car with your voice. Just say “Hey Mercedes” and your request for the system to automatically comply. It also uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to learn your personal preferences such as your favourite destinations, frequently driven routes, and car system settings making your drive much more enjoyable.
2) BMW iDrive system
BMW’s iDrive system is an Intelligent Personal Assistant that you can operate using natural spoken dialogue. It runs on the BMW Operating System 8 which delivers an entirely intuitive user experience. Your personal settings are securely saved to your unique BMW ID and you can access your settings in any other BMW to instantly customize the car to your preferences. The curved display and its ergonomic touch controls are harmoniously integrated to be driver-oriented. Use the My Modes settings to customise the digital design, interior light and sound for an immersive experience.
The BMW Operating System 8 is always up-to-date with regular over-the-air updates which can be downloaded while at home or on the road. The driver-oriented intelligence means fewer manual settings are required which ensures your focus is on the road where it needs to be. The iDrive system also features the Connected Music in-car streaming service which lets you sign in to various music apps such as Spotify. It is perfectly integrated with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant which means you can just ask the car to play a particular track.
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3) Audi MMI
The MMI (Multi Media Interface) system is a streamlined navigation, communication and infotainment system developed by Audi. The MMI features two screens which are the digital instrument display behind the steering wheel, also known as the Virtual Cockpit, and the main touchscreen display integrated into the dash. The main screen works just like a smartphone where you can swipe through menus to access different features. The Virtual Cockpit display replaces the conventional analogue dials and incorporates a range of driving info and sat-nav directions which can be comfortably controlled using buttons on the steering wheel.
The MMI is connected to the internet through Audi Connect and it comes with the Safety & Service package which can be used to access assistance for accidents and breakdowns. The myAudi app on your phone works hand-in-hand with Audi Connect to allow you to track the car’s location, get theft alarm notifications, remotely lock and unlock the car and see vehicle status reports. The MMI’s voice-control feature allows you to easily change the radio station and make phone calls without taking your hands off the steering wheel. You can also pair your smartphone using Bluetooth and play music from music streaming services such as iTunes or Spotify.
4) Volvo Sensus Connect
The Sensus Connect is a top-of-the-line connected infotainment system available in all the latest Volvo vehicles. It uses a proprietary system developed by Ericsson to wirelessly connect the Sensus system inside the car to the internet to access Volvo’s cloud services. You can access entertainment, information, navigation and connectivity apps from your mobile devices or the cloud through Sensus. Volvo On-Call provides assistance such as automatic crash reporting, theft tracking and emergency contact. The On-Call app, which is also available as a smartphone app, can
lock and unlock your Volvo remotely, perform diagnostics on the vehicle and monitor fuel capacity and efficiency. The navigation system is enhanced with the use of 3D imaging. The Sensus system features built-in USB, wireless connectivity via Bluetooth, auxiliary connectors, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Access millions of songs on Spotify which is integrated with Sensus Connect.
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5) Ford Sync 3
First introduced by Ford in 2007, the Ford Sync is designed to seamlessly sync the smartphone to the Ford vehicle using Bluetooth in order to play music, use navigation apps, send text messages and make phone calls. Sync 3 comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Sync 3 can be found on almost all Ford models such as the Fiesta, Puma, Kuga, Edge, Mondeo, S-MAX MPV, e Mustang and Ranger. You can also operate the apps using voice commands or through the buttons found on the steering wheel.
Access features through the center touchscreen to set the temperature of the air conditioning, change the song, or access digital assistants to find the location of nearby restaurants and other landmarks. You can even set up Alexa which lets you use Alexa’s capabilities while on the road. If you upgrade to FordPass Connect you can activate 4G LTE in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot and use it to connect various Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the internet. Sync 4 is already being rolled out in the latest Ford vehicles such as the
2022 Ford Bronco, 2022 Mustang Mach-E, 2022 Expedition and 2022 F-150 Lightning.
6) Tesla Infotainment System
Tesla has reinvented the infotainment system by removing most of the buttons and knobs to control the various systems of the car. For example, in the Tesla Model 3, they have a massive 15-inch widescreen touchscreen mounted on the dashboard through which all the various functions of the car are controlled. The left side of the screen displays general information about the vehicle such as model details, current charge level, and whether the car is in Drive, Neutral, Reverse or Park. The right side depicts a map and the car’s current location. You can turn on or off the Satellite View on the map. Get traffic information at the touch of the Traffic Button or locate the nearest car chargers within the map currently displayed.
Press the Lock Icon on the screen to either lock or unlock all the doors. You can also select Driver Profiles, activate Sentry Mode, open DashCam, and open Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network options. Control the air conditioning and the various lights on your Tesla using the touchscreen. The infotainment system can play graphics-intensive Tesla Arcade games like Beach Buggy Racing 2, Cuphead and Stardew Valley. You can also watch videos through the Tesla Theater with access to YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Twitch.
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