Infotainment

Unfortunately, the unsupple coil suspension makes precise operation of the new centre console-mounted Remote Touch control that bit trickier than intended while on the move. Previous Lexae have employed touch screen control, which had necessarily to be within easy reach, but to bring the full colour, eight inch multi-display screen closer to the driver's eye-line it's been relocated to within a deepish recess at the top of the dash, which also has the side benefit of being less susceptible to sunlight glare.

Even closer to the driver's eye-line is the 450's new Head-Up Display which projects speed, nav commands and more onto the windscreen above the instrument binnacle, with the HUD's precise positioning being adjustable. The instrument panel itself is a wide-angle OLED (‘Organic' LED) display where, among much else, the conventional tachometer has been replaced by a Hybrid System Indicator so the needle points to Charge, Eco and Power zones instead of arcing toward a quaint old red line.

Remote Touch works very much like your computer's mouse (much more so than BMW's iDrive knob), but on a bumpy road it's a tad ‘loose' to the touch and its movement could benefit from a little more weight or damping. That said, and unlike your Mac or PC cursor, this new system automatically draws the cursor arrow to an icon when it passes close by. Clever.

The main screen obviously displays the main functions: navigation/traffic (supported by a 40GB on-board HDD), FM/AM with DAB capability, CD, DVD, climate, phone, trip computer, calendar, rear parking display (aided by a side-view camera in the passenger-side door mirror), fuel consumption past and present as well as hybrid drive status, an energy monitor and other vehicle information (see the 'image gallery' page for shots of all these). But despite accessing every menu and sub menu I could, I ran out of time (and memory) long before I'd seen every function, let alone had a little play. The owners' handbook - a weighty tome - would doubtless provide further illumination but, as this is written, I don't have one to hand.

comments powered by Disqus