BMW integrates the most technology into its cars. So says the Telematics Research Group , a Minneapolis technology consultancy. The TRG scored individual models in 30 areas including telematics, phone, head unit and navigation, audio, radio, video, and driver assist. BMW placed four individual models in the top 13, the odd amount because theres a six-wasy tie for 8th through 13th place, while runner-up Mercedes-Benz had three.
The TRG Technology Index was more quantitative (did the car have a lot of the 30 features?) rather than qualitative (were they any good?). BMW aced the telematics and phone section (7 for 7) with each of its four sedan/coupe lines and racked up points on the driver assist section with most models offering adaptive cruise control, sonar parking assist (but not video), head-up displays, and night vision.
BMW would have picked up another point had the index included cockpit control knobs (iDrive), but the feature wasnt on the list, and besides not every buyer believes controllers are a technology improvement. BMW lost opportunities to roll up the score by not having touchscreen displays, camera parking assist, and only one of the two satellite radio formats.
We also like the TRG Technology Index because it mirrors our Digital Drive awards Digital Drive Awards given to the 10 highest technology cars available in America. We included two hybrid models (Toyota Prius and Honda Civic), TRG allowed different-model year duplicates (Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2007 and 2006) and announced (not shipping) models (Lexus LS460), which cut possible overlaps to nine, and we were in agreement on four.
Our choices that didnt make the TRG list were Acura TL; (awesome nav system), Audi A6; (best cockpit controller on the planet, superior driver controls), Buick Terraza; (PhatNoise hard disk entertainment system), and the most distressing omission of all, our overall winner, the Infiniti M45, with its LCD displaying rolling up multiple cockpit functions and lane departure warning. Basically, the cars we liked a lot for industry-leading features, which we weighed heavily in our ratings, only got 1 point for that feature in the TRG Index.