These are our favorite innovations presented on new cars this year.
As we look back on another exciting year in the auto industry, we have also looked forward to the not-too-distant future, where incredible new technologies aim to make upcoming cars more connected, convenient, and clever than ever before.
But not all of the astonishing innovations we've come across this year are experiments that are years from being seen in the real world - some are already being utilized in production cars.
In the following list, we'll look at the intelligent ideas that automakers have already put into practice. In no particular order, here are our favorite technological breakthroughs of 2022.
The BMW Theatre Screen found in the 7 Series and its all-electric i7 sibling is the sort of thing that blows away all who experience it.
This world-first 8K touch display measures 31 inches and folds down from the roof to give rear-seat passengers access to Amazon Fire TV and other media. When this screen drops, the rear right seat reclines, the sunshades darken the cabin, and the 36-speaker Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system provides 4D audio that produces magnetically controlled vibrations in the backrests to match the sound from the speakers. BMW approached two-time Oscar winner Hans Zimmer to compose the sounds that play while all of the above is happening.
A home theater on wheels with no equal, we're confident that others will soon look to copy this setup in some way.
The Ferrari Purosangue is celebrated for its styling, naturally aspirated V12 engine, and lovely interior. Still, one of its most impressive features is something you won't even feel working.
Maranello calls its new suspension system Ferrari Active Suspension Technology (FAST), while the suspension supplier calls the system Multimatic TrueActive Spool Valve Dampers (TASV). What makes this system so fascinatingly special is that while all preexisting active and passive dampers are reactive elements, the FAST setup is "capable of exerting enough force to move the entire vehicle body in anticipation of a road disturbance or driving maneuver to achieve optimal handling performance and ride comfort in all conditions."
Basically, the unique suspension of the Purosangue should provide outstanding performance and luxury thanks to the magic of science. Although this is sure to be expensive, this system will become the gold standard for years to come.
We have reported on synthetic fuel development numerous times this year, but no automaker is making as much progress as Porsche. A couple of weeks ago, the company's eFuel production facility in Chile officially opened and began producing carbon-neutral gas.
To mark the occasion, Chilean Energy Minister Diego Pardow fueled a 911 with the first fuel from the plant. While the plant is too small to satisfy global demands for fuel, Porsche has begun taking the first steps to prove that mass production of alternative fuels is viable.
Hopefully, this will encourage others to join the race, giving gearheads hope that the combustion engine can live on for decades to come.
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS was always expected to be an absolute beast on the track, but nobody outside of Zuffenhausen could have predicted how simple the automaker would make it for the amateur racer to set a hardcore supercar up to their own tastes.
While past generations of the GT3 RS have always been geared toward track work and have allowed one to adjust various hardware components physically, most of these required one to jack the car up to fiddle with the coilovers or to break out some spanners to adjust the wing.
But in the latest version, one can adjust the behavior of the differential on corner entry and exit, alter the behavior of the traction control system, change the angle of attack of the rear wing, and even customize rebound and compression settings for each individual wheel - all from the steering wheel. This instant adjustability and breadth of customization are unparalleled and make the tiller of the GT3 RS alone one of our favorite things we've seen all year.
The Koenigsegg CC850 launched with one of the most mind-blowing innovations of our time.
While the existing Light Speed Transmission produced by the Swedish 'megacar' manufacturer is already astonishingly brilliant, the Engage Shift System (ESS) takes things further by perfectly simulating a manual gearbox when wanted and slipping into a perfectly amicable automatic mode the rest of the time.
On the one hand, you can use an actual clutch pedal and gear lever to shift or leave the car to do its own thing. Demanding or docile, you decide. And you can even stall the car when it's in manual mode.
The way it works is fascinatingly complex, but we hope other manufacturers look to Angelholm and try to emulate what Christian von Koenigsegg and his engineers have achieved here.