What You'll Pay to Get the Tech You Want
In-car connectivity used to be a luxury reserved for only the most expensive cars on the market. Nowadays, virtually every car has some form of Bluetooth- and/or WiFi-enabled infotainment system available. But even in this hyper-connected age, you have to pay to play. Here’s what it will cost you to get connected in eight popular luxury sedans.
*All figures mentioned in this article are in US dollar
The ubiquitous 3 Series offers many standard and available tech features. The base 320i, which starts at $34,145 for 2016 and 2017, comes standard with Bluetooth, USB, and an iDrive system with a 6.5-inch screen. For $350, you can add smartphone integration, which allows access to supported apps like navigation, Facebook, and Spotify. On the more powerful 328i, which starts at $39,345, you can specify the $2,750 Technology package that includes navigation, real-time traffic, and BMW Apps. For the 2017 model year, the 328i will be replaced by the 330i model.
The C-Class doesn’t have a trim level to challenge the base 320i (that duty is left to the CLA), so the model range starts at $39,875 with the C300. That price gets you a free-standing 7-inch infotainment display that’s interfaced via a rotary knob and standard touchpad. It also gets you Bluetooth connectivity and dual USB ports. The $2,690 Multimedia package upgrades the screen to 8.4 inches and also adds a hard drive-based navigation system and five years of real-time traffic and weather. Through the subscription-based mbrace telematics service, an in-car Wi-Fi hot spot is available.
The new Audi A4 starts at $38,250 for a front-drive Premium model, and comes with Bluetooth, a 7-inch MMI infotainment screen, and Audi smartphone interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support as standard. The $2,400 MMI Navigation Plus package adds voice-controlled navigation and Audi Connect telematics, which offers a Wi-Fi hot spot, Google voice search, real-time traffic, and more for a subscription fee.
The Q50 gets a new turbocharged 2.0-liter base model for 2016, which starts at $34,855. That gets you two stacked infotainment screens measuring 8 inches and 7 inches, Bluetooth, Infiniti InTouch Apps, and dual USB ports. You have to step up to a Premium model, which starts at $38,555, if you want hard drive-based navigation and Infiniti InTouch telematics. The latter subscription service gives you access to an Infiniti Personal Assistant, Google calendar, a maintenance reminder, and more.
The 2016 Lexus IS 200t is the new base model for the IS range, and starts at $38,275. A number of tech features come standard, including a Lexus Display Audio infotainment system with multi-color display, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and subscription-free HD radio-based real-time traffic and weather. Lexus Enform automatic emergency notification and maintenance reminder services are complimentary for one year. A $1,505 Navigation package adds voice-activated, DVD-based navigation, enhanced Bluetooth 2.0 with phonebook synchronization, a fuel guide, sports and stock updates, and Enform App suite and Destinations (complimentary for one year). The package also adds a trackball-like remote touch controller in place of the standard rotary knob.
The base ATS comes equipped with a non-turbo 2.5-liter I-4 and starts at $34,210. That gets you Cadillac‘s CUE infotainment system with 4.2-inch screen, Bluetooth, a three-month trial of GM’s subscription-based OnStar service with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, and dual USB ports. A Cadillac CUE and Surround Sound package upgrades you to an 8-inch touchscreen, better Bluetooth connection, wireless charging, and adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility for $1,575. Navigation is only available on the $38,335 Luxury trim, which comes standard with the 8-inch screen and smartphone integration. The nav package costs $1,345. We recommend springing for a $37,815 2.0-liter turbo model with the Cadillac CUE and Surround Sound Package for the best blend of fun, value, and tech.
The TLX starts at $32,635, and comes with a dual-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth, USB iPhone integration with Aha and Pandora compatibility, and Siri Eyes Free integrated text message and voice command functionality. One trim up from the base model adds the Technology package, which includes navigation with 3D visualization, real-time traffic, AcuraLink telematics with a three-month trial.
The Volvo S60 is near the end of its life cycle, but still offers competitive tech features that will keep you connected. The base front-wheel-drive T5 Drive-E starts at $35,090, and comes with a 7-inch infotainment screen, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a six-month subscription to Volvo On Call emergency services and Sensus Connect with onboard apps and a WiFi hot spot. Stepping up to the Premier trim for an extra $2,650 gets you Volvo’s Sensus navigation system with MapCare complimentary map updating. The $40,390 T6 Drive-E FWD receives navigation, among other features, as standard.