These cars represent the best in automotive technology.
With each passing year, automakers find ways to cram more advanced technology into their vehicles, pushing the boundaries of what we thought possible. Features like adaptive cruise control and predictive steering, once found only on high-dollar luxury cars, can now be found on a common economy car. Trickle-down progress like this helps shape the future of the automotive industry, and to look ahead at what technologies might be on every car within the next decade, we selected our three finalists for Tech Lover's Dream. This award goes to the car boasting the best technology, whether it be safety, comfort, or performance, we tested this year.
In the inaugural year, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE was the Tech Lover's Dream winner. This year, vehicles that just missed the cut include the Buick Encore GX, Kia K5, Jaguar I-Pace, Ram 1500, and Volvo XC90. The Tech Lover's Dream winner will be announced on December 21.
Here are the three finalists for Tech Lover's Dream:
2020 was an important year for General Motors as the company released the new 2021 Cadillac Escalade. As the flagship luxury vehicle across all GM brands, it's not surprising that the new Escalade packs all of the company's best technologies. Some of the highlights include the first use of curved OLED screens in a car, augmented reality navigation, Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 with air suspension, a usable rear-seat entertainment system, Super Cruise, and a 36-speaker AKG audio system available.
Cadillac didn't introduce any new electrified technology under the hood, but the Escalade can be equipped with a frugal 3.0-liter diesel inline-six engine for the first time yielding almost 30 mpg. It's impossible to hop behind the wheel of the new Escalade without being impressed with all of the new features.
In a competitive year for the Tech Lover's Dream award, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 looks to defend the title for the three-pointed star. Before the arrival of the Maybach GLS (which we will hopefully test next year), the AMG GLS63 was the ultimate version of the Mercedes' flagship SUV model. The GLS packs some outstanding technology, including what's under the hood.
A 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 may not sound special on the surface, but it includes a 48-volt mild-hybrid system with an EQ Boost Starter generator, which can add 21 horsepower and 184 lb-ft while completely eliminating a rough stop/start sequence. The mild-hybrid system also powers the AMG ride control+ with air suspension and active roll stabilization, keeping this large beast feeling planted through corners. Of course, the GLS also packs a ton of luxury and safety features, including massaging seats, an air fragrance system, executive rear seats, heated and cooled cupholders, and more.
The 2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe is BMW's most attractive car and also its smartest with a bundle of luxury and performance-oriented options. For starters, the M8 features a multitude of customizable drive modes that completely alter its personality. Drivers can deactivate the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system, making the M8 a rear-wheel-drive burnout machine. Then, when it's time to destroy supercars in a drag race, xDrive can be reactivated to enable a three-second 0-60 mph time.
The M8 features other tech accouterments such as gesture controls, massaging seats, intelligent voice control, and advanced semi-autonomous driving features. We thought BMW's gesture controls might be gimmicky, but they worked well in practice. The driver or passenger can control the volume by spinning their finger left or right and activate other important features with specific hand gestures.