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High-Tech Cars for '05

Thinking about trading in the old Malibu for something jazzier? The 2005 Acura RL and the 2005 Audi A6 take automotive technology to such new heights that they make most other cars seem like horse-drawn carts. I took both cars for extended drives and checked out their high-tech equipment. These are just a few of the features that you probably won't find on your old boat.

Acura RL

Keyless entry: Walk up with the remote in your pocket and touch the door handle; the door unlocks. You also don't need to pull out the remote to start the car; just turn a knob on the steering column.

Engine: With a 300-horsepower V6 engine, the RL seemed plenty quick, but still land-bound. You can, however, shift it manually via Formula 1-style paddles behind the left and right steering wheel spokes.

Climate control: The RL uses the onboard GPS and a solar sensor to calculate the position of the sun and adjust the fan speed to compensate for heating from direct sunlight.

Sound system: Featured are a ten-speaker Bose surround-sound system; a six-disc in-dash changer that plays DVD-Audio, SACD, and MP3 CDs; and XM satellite radio. Sound quality is phenomenal, aided by a very powerful amplifier.

Navigation: The RL displays satellite-based real-time traffic information on its 8-inch LCD, providing info on accidents, construction, and traffic speed in 20 metro areas. Too bad it doesn't work with the car's GPS system to direct you around jams. The nav system responds to voice commands, as do the audio and climate-control systems.

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