Five OEM navigation systems that are worth your bucks

While just about any navigation system on the market will get you where you're going, not all of them are created equally. This is especially true in the world of OEM in-car navigation systems where screen size, interface design, feature sets, and (most importantly) price vary wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some automakers offer cutting-edge GPS navigators with innovative features that you'll wonder how you ever got along without. Others will make you wish you'd skipped the pricey navigation package and just packed a smartphone.

We've taken a look back on the most recent OEM navigation systems to have graced the Car Tech garage and picked out a few manufacturers, in no particular order, that consistently knock it out of the park when it comes offering the best in-dash technology for getting from where you are to wherever you want to be. … Read more

2011 Frankfurt auto show: New Audi in car displays

HUD, augmented reality, and 3D! Is this a car or a game console?

Audi is already a leader in car-tech interfaces, and these new iterations of visual tech show the company doesn't plan to let off the gas pedal.

(CNET's full coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt auto show)

2011 Frankfurt auto show: Audi MMI interface concept

A new interface so cool it's almost dirty.

Cars today are full of knobs, buttons, touch screens, haptic feedback, and even handwriting recognition pads. But nobody has adopted this sort of active Braille technology before. Audi may be onto something here in terms of creating an interface that is clear, dynamic, and truly holds no draw for your eyes to leave the road.

(CNET's full coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt auto show)

Bentley's muscle-bound Mulsanne

The 2011 Bentley Mulsanne was officially announced at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, but the luxury automaker was keeping quiet with the details regarding its newest land-yacht's power train and tech. However, with the 2009 Frankfurt auto show, the veil has been pulled back and we're finally able to share the goods.

Let's just get this out of the way: 752 pound-feet of torque--that's how much twist is generated by the Mulsanne's 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine. There's also 505-horsepower being generated, but we can't get past that number: 752.

The … Read more

Trackside with the 2010 Audi S4

I was recently handed the keys to a fully loaded, brand-new Audi S4 sedan. So, I did what any motorhead would do in this situation and proceeded to put the sporty A4 variant through its paces on the open road, on an autocross cone course, and even on the track at Infineon Raceway at Sears Point.

Our adventure starts with a trip from an uncharacteristically sunny San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge and into Sonoma. While in the stop-and-go bustle of the city, the S-Tronic DSG double-clutch automated manual was so docile and the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine … Read more

129: Cash for Guzzlers: What a mess!

Cash for Guzzlers--what a mess! Texting while driving is probably at the beginning of its end, the first car with handwriting recognition, and a ride in a really cool, affordable car you can't buy here!

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We love us some BMW 123d hatchback

Nissan's new take on CVT gearboxes

Annoyingly safe Volvo XC60

New Audi's to feature handwriting recognition!

Edmunds' Cash for Clunkers calculator

Next-gen Audi MMI could feature handwriting recognition

Audi's next-generation MultiMedia Interface (MMI) could feature handwriting recognition. You read that right, handwriting recognition. Not advanced voice command. Not some science-fiction extrasensory perception interface, but plain old 20th century handwriting recognition. I thought these cabin tech interfaces were supposed to be getting less complex.

According to German car blog Autobild, the new MMI should debut at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt on the new Audi A8. The handwriting-recognition portion, poorly Google translated as "Finger Ready," will feature a character input square where drivers will finger-paint letters on the screen a la first-generation Palm OS Graffiti, … Read more

2010 Audi A3, TT, and R8 get updated MMI

Audi has announced that it is giving the navigation system and MMI (Multi Media Interface) operating system in the A3, TT and R8 much needed updates for the 2010 model year.

Under the hood, Audi's navigation system gets a new 600 MHz processor that allows for faster route calculations and smoother operation. Lane guidance, topographic maps, and speed limit data make the navigation system much more useful to drivers.

Audi's USB/iPod music interface remains, for the most part, unchanged and is still optional. The only new feature is that it now charges external devices, such as iPods … Read more