Automotive manufacturers are endlessly trying to come up with ways to remodel their cars on both the outside and the inside. With the rise of the technological age, we are starting to see some features that you wouldn’t have even conceived in your wildest dreams, and they give you the feeling that you are truly living in the future. Many of these advancements help us by facilitating our day-to-day lives, such as rearview cameras, collision warnings, and GPS—and we now find it hard to live without them.
This is because we become so reliant on them that it’s almost impossible to break our bonds with them, as we feel lost when we do. These technologies were revolutionary, and they’re features many car buyers are looking for in their next purchase. That being said, there are many features in cars that can be a little too extravagant, and at times, even a little bit questionable.
Many of these features are usually found in luxury car models, when the manufacturers tend to add things that are completely over-the-top and unnecessary; but that doesn’t mean that your average consumer cars are safe from these questionable decisions, too. Half of the time, we ask ourselves “Why don’t cars have this feature already?” The other half, we ask, “Why is this even necessary?” Consumers are a tricky bunch to cater to, which is probably why manufacturers make some very questionable decisions. This is a list of 20 of the weirdest standard car features ever designed.
20 Mercedes-Benz AIRSCARF
It’s the end of the winter, and you’re itching to get your convertible out of the garage and drive with the top down to feel that fresh air again. Unfortunately, it’s still a little too cold to do that, so you’ll have to opt for driving with the top up until the weather warms up. Well, Mercedes has finally found a solution for that. Mercedes introduced a feature called AIRSCARF, which is essentially a vent at the back of your headrest which pumps air to your neck so you can drive with the top down in cooler weather, while still being warmed up.
19 Mini Cooper Convertible Openometer
For the record, I’m not the biggest fan of convertibles and this feature is definitely close to taking the cake as one of the weirdest car features ever designed. A lot of people with convertibles have been asked, “How often do you drop the top?” Before, owners weren’t able to provide a concrete answer based on any evidence—until now. Mini has settled the age-old question of “How often do you drop the top?” By introducing the Openometer, a nifty little gauge that will tell you how many hours you’ve dropped the top on your Mini convertible, so you can finally give those people a concrete answer.
18 Bugatti Chiron Top Speed Key
If you’re one of the few people in the world to fork over $3 million to buy your brand new Bugatti Chiron, that’s a feat on its own. Now, you want to feel the power and hit that 261-mph top speed, but before you do that, there’s something you should know. The Chiron is actually limited to 236 mph unless you use the top speed key with it. Okay, simple enough you say—but not really. Once you have stuck in the top speed key, the Chiron will still decide whether the conditions are safe enough to reach top speed, and if it doesn’t deem things safe (based on multiple factors), it won’t let you reach top speed. If it does deem conditions safe, then you’re in for a wild ride.
17 Mercedes-Benz Perfume Dispenser
If we’re talking about weird features, we have to talk about Mercedes-Benz's perfume dispensers. Definitely an alternative to buying air fresheners for your Mercedes that don’t match your interior, Mercedes came up with a perfume dispenser that sits in a glass box and diffuses the Mercedes-made scents through the heating vents of your car. Mercedes described and named these scents MOODS and has quite a few different ones to choose from, depending on your mood (pun intended). For example, there’s PACIFIC MOOD (lemon and orange top notes), DOWNTOWN MOOD (floral, musky, fruit, undertones of ambergris and cashmere), and many other MOODS to choose from.
16 Rolls-Royce Hood Ornament Technology
Human-detecting technology isn’t new in vehicles. In fact, they’re found pretty commonly in almost every car. But the one that Rolls-Royce offers isn’t necessarily for the vehicle itself, but for their emblem. Vandalism towards Rolls-Royce's expensive vehicles is something that occurs pretty frequently and if you’re lucky, you won’t fall victim to it! Whether it’s a car being keyed or even egged, vandalism just isn’t cool. In this case, many Rolls-Royces have fallen victim to their emblems being snatched off the car, so Rolls-Royce implemented a retractable emblem that goes into the hood of the car when it senses pressure being exerted on it. It won’t stop vandalism from happening but it’s certainly a nice precautionary measure.
15 Kia Soul Glowing & Pulsing Speakers
As technology advances, cars are looking more futuristic with each passing day. Light kits are a huge factor in making a car look ahead of its time and were widely popular among mods back in the day (like underglow). Kia brought back the interior light craze by adding glowing and pulsing speaker lights housed in the speaker grilles of the Kia Soul. I have to admit, it does give the car a pretty sweet ambience with the coloured and pulsating lights but it is definitely one of the weirder features to come standard in a car.
14 Bentley Quilted Leather Event Seat
Found in Bentley’s Bentayga model, the power-folding leather event seat is a motorized seat that comes out of the cargo area in the trunk to act as a two-person bench of sorts. Why this is necessary? It’s really not but it does act as a better alternative to sitting on the hood of your Bentley and potentially putting a ding in the expensive paint. It could also act as a good picnic option if you’re and out about and spontaneously find the perfect place to have a nice refreshing cup of tea with your spouse. Just taking shots in the dark here, as this is definitely a weird feature.
13 Aston Martin Transponder Watch
We’re pretty fortunate to live in an age where technology can do just about everything, whether it’s setting up appointments, handling group projects, or even answering notifications on our smartwatches. Soon, smartwatches will even be able to communicate with our cars to unlock the door and start the engine (in some cases, they already do). Aston Martin was one step ahead of the curve on this one by offering a Jaeger-LeCoultre transponder watch with their DB9 or Rapide as a $30,000 add-on. With this watch, you are able to remotely lock and unlock your doors (and tell time, of course) and, most importantly, definitely feel like a spy.
12 BMW Gentleman Function
I have to admit, when I first heard of this feature I was fully expecting BMW to equip you with a top hat and a monocle to drive with in your 7-Series. The actual function is much more underwhelming but I can definitely see it being useful. Activating the Gentleman Function in your BMW 7-Series will actually adjust the passenger seats to make entry a little easier for the passenger and also works to move the passenger seat up for easier access to the back seats. It’s a useful function if you have tall friends that you drive around or if you want to impress your date before they get into the car. That being said, it could’ve used a less deceiving name.
11 Pedestrian Airbags
When it comes to cars and safety, a lot of us automatically picture Volvo. This comes half-true in this case, as the pedestrian airbag was spearheaded by Volvo but was actually introduced on the Land Rover Discovery Sport and other cars followed suit after. The idea seems great if, heaven forbid, an incident like this were to happen: the airbags deploy if the car is going 15-30 mph and the front bumper’s pressure tube senses an impact with a person. Again, it's a very good idea on paper but these incidents can have a multitude of outcomes where the airbags may not even work. That being said, preventative action is your best bet to ensure safe driving.
10 Aston Martin Soft-Close Hood
Soft-close doors are definitely a technology we’ve heard of before. They’re a neat little feature and are especially useful as to avoid slamming a door with the force of a magnitude 9 earthquake. Aston Martin has gone one step further and made a soft-close hood for the Aston Martin DB11. This is especially useful for the hood that houses a 5.2-liter V12 engine; that being said, the hood is pretty massive and would come with a loud thud if it were ever slammed shut. So, to please both parties (the car and driver), the soft-close hood is definitely a nice touch to ensure a nice and controlled close.
9 Honda Element Dog-Friendly Package
Dogs are truly man’s best friend, so it’s only natural that we want what’s best for them, right? We play with them, walk with them, and even go on road trips with them! Honda understands this bond between man and dog and offers a dog-friendly package with their Honda Element. Instead of putting your pal in the backseat or even the passenger seat, Honda has made a little cubby-like cutout in the back of the Element that keeps your furry companion nice and cozy. And it even comes complete with a food and water bowl. Necessary? Not really. Weird? Absolutely.
8 BMW Brake Drying
BMW Brake Drying is a feature not many of us have heard of before until now. But, as the name implies, BMW’s Brake Drying dries your vehicles brakes while you’re driving. The system is activated by BMW’s automatic windshield wiper’s rain sensor and when the brakes start to get wet, the system starts to intermittently move the brake pads closer to the rotor in order to dry them off. The purpose of this feature is to improve braking performance and improve stopping power in wet conditions. This can definitely be a useful feature for ensuring everyone’s safety, but nonetheless, it’s still a pretty weird feature.
7 Rolls-Royce Starlight Headliner
Rolls-Royces are definitely the epitome of class in cars. With such a strong lineage in the luxury line, they are very sought after cars and have high prestige attached to the name. That being said, they can have some interesting (albeit cool) features that can be found in some of their cars, the starlight headliner being one of those features. The starlight headliner can be made into a constellation of your desire upon purchase and the intensity of the light can be changed depending on your mood. It definitely gives a very cool effect when in the car but it’s not normal in terms of standard features. That being said, the luxury lines can definitely go a little far out on the features they include.
6 Volvo’s Drowsiness Detection System
Many of us really enjoy long road trips. The wide-open roads, vast country sides, and starry nights really are sights to behold. They can also be quite taxing on the driver, so it’s important to take breaks or do driver rotations. Volvo understands the importance of everyone’s safety in the vehicle and included a drowsiness detection system that scans the face of the driver and monitors head and eye movements to see if they’re too drowsy to drive. If it senses that they are, it will alert them to take a break. It’s definitely a weird feature but one that could save lives.
5 Jaguar Levitating Gear Knob
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A majority of us are perfectly content with our gear levers on the side of our wheel or as a gear shifter in the centre console. Jaguar introduced a levitating gear knob in their center console that acts as the traditional gear shifter that raises when you get in the car for a drive but retreats into the console when the car is off. Jaguar thought they could re-invent the wheel (literally) to disassociate itself from the regular gear shifter and instead found themselves making one of the weirdest features we’ve ever seen.
4 Mercedes Silver-Plated Champagne Flutes
Luxury cars tend to have some extravagant features that may just go over the heads of your average consumer. This holds true for one of the features of the Mercedes-Maybach S600, wherein the customer has the option of having your typical bench-like three-seater in the rear or having two individual seats split by a centre console housing a fridge and two beverage flutes. It's completely unnecessary but hey, you never know when you need an afternoon picnic. The center console even comes equipped with two fold-out tables and fitted holders to house the silver-plated flutes and prevent spillage.
3 Rolls-Royce Umbrellas In Door
As was said earlier, when it comes to class in cars, Rolls-Royce reins as king. That being said, Rolls-Royce has to keep pumping out the luxury features to stay on top of the game. One interesting feature that has been found in a few models has been the umbrella located inside of the doorframe. At first, this may seem like a bit of a weird concept—and it is—but it actually serves a pretty neat functionality. For one, you’d never forget to bring an umbrella because your car already has one and there’s no need for you to bring a wet umbrella into the car, rather, you just place it back in its holder for drying and safekeeping.
2 Volvo’s Heartbeat Sensor
A lot of us are huge fans of horror movies; we love the thrill that’s involved and the slight adrenaline rush they give us. That being said, watching a bunch of horror flicks can cause you to have some pretty irrational fears; one of those fears being that someone is in the back of your car. Volvo has also thought of this and decided to introduce a heartbeat sensor that senses whether a person is in, or in the vicinity of, your vehicle. It then sends you an alert on your key fob to let you know that mischief is afoot. I’ll have to say this is a little irrational and also very weird.
1 Honda Odyssey Vacuum
Minivans are great for their massive amount of space and are especially popular among families. But, whether you’re driving around your family or a large crew of people, we all know the mess that can be involved with moving around a large bunch. That’s why Honda included a vacuum at the back of their Honda Odyssey. Gone are the days that you have to go to the gas station to use the car vacuums; instead, all you have to do is open the trunk and go to town cleaning the dirt and grime. It’s a neat little feature but definitely not one you’d think a car would have in the trunk.
Sources: Road and Track, Autotrader, Jalopnik, Yachting Pages, and Engadget.