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Infotainment Cont.

One feature missing from the 450h's multiple menus is any kind of web access. This, I was told, would be coming soon, but for the time being there's plenty else to play with. Deep inside the front centre armrest bin - and horribly inaccessible - are two 12v power sockets, a mini jack audio socket and a USB port. I was assured that there's full functionality for an iPod, but connecting my iPhone via USB revealed a ‘This accessory is not made to work with iPhone' message on the phone, along with a not particularly useful alphabetical list of every single track on the car's display.

I confess that in the heat of the moment I didn't have the presence of mind to scroll further for ‘Artists' or ‘Playlists' etc. and so only now that I'm looking at the relevant photo do I notice that there are indeed folders for ‘Podcasts', ‘Audiobooks' and probably more besides. Still, whatever further functionality there may be, at least it didn't wipe my phone's flash drive, and it received a handy charge.

I didn't find the time to connect the phone to the car via Bluetooth, and was told that this only provides for phone speech, despite the car's press kit and another document stating that this connectivity has an 'audio/video streaming function'. Next time, eh…

Still, with Hungarian radio not being my first choice in entertainment and not even realising at the time that somewhere in there there's a six-DVD auto-changer, I did direct a couple of songs (via USB) to the SE-L's top-of-the-range, 15-speaker, Mark Levinson 7.1-channel surround sound system with its 11-channel, 330-watt RMS digital processor amp. (In the absence of CDs, DVDs or an MP3 player, up to 10GB of the sat-nav's 40GB capacity can be made available for sound files.)

My iPhone's random assortment of different file types and compressions, coupled with hammering along a twisting Hungarian forest road, probably isn't the best way to assess the finer points of high-end audio fidelity, but nonetheless it sounded pretty damn rich, deep, mellow and LOUD to me. Lower-grade 9- and 12-speaker Pioneer audio systems come as standard on the SE and SE-I models, but I wasn't able to lend them an ear.

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