Ten years ago, a smart car was one that might, say, slow the wipers when you came to a stop, show the name of the song playing on your FM radio, or even feature a protean computer that tallied miles per gallon and average speed. Today “smart car” means something else entirely, and automotive technological innovations are nothing short of staggering. From vehicles that can see themselves from above to those that hit the brakes when you aren’t paying attention, here are 10 state-of-the-art models to look for in 2011.
Give this car the finger. As soon as you turn on the A8, an 8-inch screen rises from the center of the dash. From here, you can access everything from the music on your iPod to real-time traffic information. But this isn’t the usual point-and-tap affair: The MMI (Multi Media Interface) system includes a touchpad that recognizes handwritten input. Using the tip of your finger, you can write out letters and numbers—an address, for instance—rather than hunt-and-pecking them one by one.
From $78,050; models.audiusa.com/a8