We're definitely at the stage of car development where the technological innovations are easily as progressive (and interesting) as physical changes to how cars look. We're in an age where the touchscreen infotainment system and a car's autonomous driving aids spark as much of a debate as whether it has more wings than the Queen's house.
With this in mind, here are DriveTribe's top bits of car tech from 2018. Feel free to tell us what we've missed in the comments.
The McLaren Speedtail's seamless flaps
Active aero: soon it'll actually fit in with the design of a car, like this. Swoopy.
Yes, everyone went mental about the Speedtail when it was announced back in October. But everyone was focusing on either the fact it can 'only' do about 250mph or the fact it has a McLaren F1-aping central driving position. In fact what the internet should've been losing their minds over is the fact that the active aero flaps are a continuous part of the bodywork – the clever bods in Woking have made the outer edges of the car's skin flex, so it can effectively change shape to adjust the airflow. This means there are no unsightly panel gaps. And owners can tell people they have bendy carbon fibre on their car. Ace.
The new Range Rover Evoque's see-through bonnet
Okay, the bonnet isn't literally see-through, but this is the next best thing. Witchcraft, innit?
I think even the most ardent Evoque fans will admit that the newest version of Land Rover's baby SUV looks a lot like the old one on the outside, but Land Rover's really thrown the technological kitchen sink at it on the inside – including one of the coolest bits of tech seen all year.
Buried in one of the five press releases that announced the car was reference to a cool new tech that'll let you view what's under the bonnet (ie what you're driving over right now) on the central infotainment display. It even shows where the wheels are, so you can position yourself so as to not flatten next door's sleeping cat when leaving in the morning. How cool is that?
The Audi e-tron's digital door mirrors
This is the future, people!
After years of promise, a mainstream manufacturer has finally found the courage to ditch glass door mirrors and replace them with cameras and screens. The e-tron was the first to crack this problem this year, with Audi's electric SUV putting cameras where door mirrors would be, and OLED screens in the dashboard near to where you'd glance to check your real mirrors. The result? It looks bloody cool, but also gives a huge aerodynamic benefit over big, draggy door mirrors. The McLaren Speedtail followed suit – showing that this tech has benefits for economy and also top speed chasers.
The downside? They're not yet legal in the USA. D'oh.
The Mercedes A-Class' augmented reality sat-nav
Ask a bunch of owners what the most annoying thing about their cars' sat-navs is and chances are a good chunk of them will say 'it's still too easy to miss my turning'. Mercedes-Benz knows this, and has a solution in the form of MBUX – and specifically its augmented reality navigation. Approach a junction and the overhead GPS map will be replaced with the view from the front-facing camera, with arrows overlaid on it showing you exactly where you need to go in real life. It also overlays house numbers as you drive down streets, making it easier to find your destination. The sooner pizza delivery guys get this as standard, the happier (and fatter) I'll be.
Nissan xStorage – using old Leaf batteries to power your home
You can now leaf all the lights on and not get stung with a huge bill
Yes, yes, it's not exactly a bit of car tech. But it sort of is, so go with me here. Nissan's xStorage uses old Leaf batteries and hangs them on the wall in your garage – the idea being that it can store electricity from the national grid at night when electricity is cheaper, for use during the day. This should result in cheaper energy bills, which can also be attributed to the fact you may be able to sell the electricity back to the grid at peak times. It can also charge your electric car, and provide a backup power supply for your house if the power goes out – perfect for finishing off that Call of Duty match before lighting the candles.