Motoring and luxury technology: How far have we come?

Luxury technology is now more accessible than ever before. Whether we’re enjoying heated seats, power steering, or autonomous features, many car owners in 2019 have access to unparalleled driving comfort. Our vehicles weren’t always so well equipped, however. Here with Grange vehicles, who stock a range of luxury vehicles including the Bentley Continental GT, we take an in-depth look at how luxury tech has advanced over the past 100+ years of motoring. 

Power steering

We may take features such as power steering for granted these days, but back in the 1990’s, not every car used to include this as standard. In the ‘50s, more cars in the post-War era were able to turn with the help of hydraulics. By the turn of the decade, entering the swinging ‘60s, one in four cars had power steering.


Before car engines were overhauled in 1911, something as simple as starting your cars engine could be a life-threatening task. A year earlier, a motorist was actually killed due to the cranks that used to fire up the engine. However, the electric ignition and self-starters eliminated this deadly risk. One of the first models to incorporate the concept was the Cadillac. Its founder, Henry M Leland, had already pioneered electric lights and ignitions and worked closely with Charles F. Kettering, the inventor of the electric starter, to incorporate the device into his cars.

Autonomous features

Many high-end vehicles now come with a few autonomous features as standard, such as parking assist and lane keeping systems. In today’s modern cars, while not becoming fully autonomous, they are starting to become automated. Referring back to Cadillac, their Super Cruise system can pilot vehicles up to 85 miles per hour, so drivers don’t even have to be holding the wheel. Tesla are also using this technology, while more high-end manufacturers are expected to introduce this in the coming years.

That doesn’t mean to say that drivers can stop paying attention, though. There are sensors included to ensure that if the technology fails, the driver is paying attention to the road ahead and ready to intervene. This technology is expected to be a game changer for those who spend a lot of time on the highways or sitting in traffic. 

Electric vehicles

One of the most significant changes in motoring history has been the advent of electric vehciles. At the turn of the millennium, hybrid electric vehicles began to be mass-produced. While there are obvious challenges ahead, they are set to change the car industry forever. This is because electric vehicles are becoming more and more prominent. 

Although EV’s have actually been around for a few years now, we are only just starting to see the market trends take off. In the UK, this may be to do with the fact that the government plans to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. This ban, alongside the likes of London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone, mean that owning an electric vehicle can help both the environment and your bank balance! Furthermore, an increase in related services such as EV charging from suppliers such as Northern Powergrid  has meant that the market can continue to grow. It’s clear that all car manufacturers, no matter what their status, have electric vehicles firmly in their sights. As the concept becomes more popular, prices will likely decrease and technology will continue to improve.