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Greetings from (cold and rainy) Petoskey, MI, where many Autoblog editors are testing 14 different cars and trucks that make up the finalists for this year's Technology of the Year Award. Our tech choices run the gamut from complete vehicles (BMW i3, i8) to engines, connectivity features, convenience niceties, safety systems, performance data functions and more. And it helps that many of these technologies are housed in some pretty hilariously fun vehicles.

Have a look below to see the full roster of what made the cut this year, and stay tuned as we crown a winner during the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show festivities in just a few weeks.
Dodge Challenger

Vehicle: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
Technology: SRT Performance Pages
  • Performance Pages are standard on all SRT products, but offer special upgrades in the Challenger and Charger Hellcat.
  • G-force, acceleration, braking, and lap time data are available for all SRT models.
  • Hellcats allow you to alter the horsepower delivery. The red key opens up 707 hp, the black key allows only 500, and there's a valet mode that further reduces this to 300 hp.

Subaru Forester

Vehicle: 2015 Subaru Forester
Technology: Subaru EyeSight
  • Redesigned for 2015, the EyeSight unit is now 15 percent smaller in overall size and has added features.
  • Includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking that can bring the car to a complete stop.
  • Offered on Impreza (non-WRX/STI), Legacy, Outback, and Forester. Standard on higher trim levels.

Ford Mustang

Vehicle: 2015 Ford Mustang GT
Technology: Track Apps with Line Lock
  • Track Apps and Line Lock come standard on all 2015 Mustang GT models.
  • Line Lock electronically locks the front brakes, allowing you to easily spin the rear tires to "warm" them (burnouts, you guys!).
  • Track Apps features acceleration timer for speed/distance, brake performance monitor, launch control and the aforementioned Line Lock system.

Mercedes S550

Vehicle: 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550
Technology: Magic Body Control
  • Magic Body Control senses the road conditions ahead and adjusts the car's suspension accordingly.
  • The stereo camera setup sees large bumps in the road and allows the car to glide over them, while still offering feedback to the driver that isn't jarring.

Chevy Corvette

Vehicle: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible
Technology: Performance Data Recorder with Valet Mode
  • Performance Data Recorder gathers telemetry data using GPS, and records your track day antics in 720p HD video.
  • Features an in-car audio recorder.
  • Valet Mode will allow you to replay in-car audio, along with lock the interior storage spaces and turn off the infotainment system. This tech is currently being investigated as possibly being illegal in several states due to recording consent laws.

Ford Fiesta

Vehicle: 2014 Ford Fiesta
Technology: 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine
  • The 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine is more powerful than the Fiesta's standard 1.6-liter inline-four, while offering significant gains in EPA fuel economy.
  • The 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost has won the International Engine of the Year award in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
  • Ford has announced that the 1.0-liter EcoBoost will soon be offered in the larger Focus in the States and it's already available in other models globally.

BMW i8

Vehicle: 2014 BMW i8
Technology: The whole car
  • Powertrain includes a turbocharged, 1.5-liter inline-three, as well as a 96-kilowatt electric motor.
  • The combustion engine powers the rear wheels, and the electric motor with a two-stage gearbox powers the front. The result is through-the-road all-wheel drive.
  • Lightweight materials used throughout, as well as a carbon fiber-reinforced passenger cell mounted atop the chassis.

Alfa Romeo 4C

Vehicle: 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C
Technology: Carbon monocoque tub
  • The one-piece, carbon fiber tub aids in structural rigidity while simultaneously lowering the car's overall mass.
  • This sort of construction is normally reserved for incredibly expensive supercars – this is the first application of such a technology on a relatively affordable sports car.

BMW i3

Vehicle: 2014 BMW i3
Technology: The whole car
  • The i3 uses a new type of construction with its carbon fiber-reinforced plastic body panels.
  • Available as either a fully electric vehicle, or as a range extended plug-in hybrid.
  • With the extender, total driving range is nearly doubled. This represents an extra cost of just under $4,000, for a two-cylinder generator with a 2.4-gallon tank.

Infiniti Q50

Vehicle: 2014 Infiniti Q50S Hybrid
Technology: Direct Active Steer, Active Lane Control
  • Industry-first production steer-by-wire system.
  • Predictive forward collision warning alerts drivers of problems that might be out of view. Infiniti says the system "can not only sense the relative velocity and distance of a vehicle directly ahead, but also of a vehicle traveling in front of the preceding one."
  • Active Lane Control keeps the car positioned in its lane by working with the steer-by-wire system. In conjunction with the smart cruise control, it provides a semi-autonomous drive experience.


Vehicle: 2015 BMW M4
Technology: GoPro Integration
  • In-car control of GoPro mounted on the car.
  • GoPro must have wifi enabled, and there's an app that must be downloaded onto the smartphone connected to the vehicle.
  • Works on all models fitted with infotainment and BMW Apps, and allows you to control the GoPro through the iDrive system, including displaying a live image on the in-dash screen.

GMC Canyon

Vehicle: 2015 GMC Canyon
Technology: Siri Eyes Free, OnStar 4G LTE
  • Siri Eyes Free allows iPhone users to access the capability of Siri through a vehicle's hands-free voice system.
  • OnStar 4G LTE offers in-car wifi through a data connection, and enhances some of OnStar's features.
  • Both technologies are available across the entire GM range.

Toyota Highlander

Vehicle: 2014 Toyota Highlander
Technology: Driver Easy Speak
  • The car's existing microphone (for Bluetooth telephony) can be used to amplify the driver's voice through the rear speakers.
  • Allows drivers to not have to raise their voice when screaming at their kids (or other passengers), who are probably being total jerks.

Ram 1500

Vehicle: 2014 Ram 1500
Technology: Chrysler 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6
  • 3.0-liter diesel engine offers improved towing capacity and fuel economy versus the standard 3.6-liter V6 in the Ram 1500.
  • Fuel economy is rated at 28 miles per gallon highway.
  • Cost for the diesel is $2,850 more than the 5.7-liter V8-equipped Ram 1500, according to Chrysler.

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