The Best Performance-Enhancing Car Tech Features

Driven by environmental regulations, safety standards, and the insatiable need to go faster, these are some of the coolest solutions to automotive problems we've faced.

<p>As much as people love Teslas, the facts don't lie: Tesla has only profited from one quarter since going public in 2010. It lost $294 million on $3.2 billion in revenue in 2014, <em><a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-04/as-tesla-gears-up-for-suv-investors-ask-where-the-profits-are" target="_blank">Bloomberg Business</a></em><a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-04/as-tesla-gears-up-for-suv-investors-ask-where-the-profits-are"></a> reports. But you can't deny that Tesla has started the trend of attractive and luxurious EVs. Nearly every company has or will boast a "Tesla Killer" in the upcoming years. Where will that leave Tesla?</p>
Tesla

What a great time we live in.

We have cars that use magnets to change how a vehicle rides, cars that can shift gears faster than you can blink, and cars that produce nearly 1,000-hp and still sip fuel. We have cars that come with options that sound like kids made them up during recess, like "Drift Mode" and "Ludicrous Mode." Hell, some cars let you can record your lap times and race against yourself. Like in Forza.

Some of this technology isn't brand-new. But, incorporated in some of the coolest cars today, it sure makes for an exciting time to be on the road.


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Magnetic Ride Control
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GM

The dampers are filled with a magnetorheological fluid that contains tiny magnetic particles. When hit with an electromagnetic current, the particles stop flowing freely, the shocks stiffen, and the feel of the ride changes instantly.

Found in: Corvettes, Cadillacs, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, Ferrari 599, Ferrari F12berlinetta, Ferrari California, Audi TT, Audi S3, Audi R8, Acura MDX, Acura ZDX, Range Rover Evoque, and more

Multiple Keys
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Chrysler

Some cars come with multiple keys that can activate different features in the cars. The SRT Hellcats come with two keys: a red one and a black one. The red key allows the driver to use the full 707-hp potential of the Hellcat, while the black key limits horsepower to a more manageable but still ridiculous 500.

Similarly, Ford's MyKey technology allows you to program the car's settings, including seat belt notifications, top speed limitations, screening radio content, and low-fuel warnings.

Found in: Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Fords

Dynamic Engine Mounts
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Porsche

Handling dynamics and steering accuracy can be easily upset during hard cornering. These mounts hold the powertrain steady during harsh driving, but relax during easier driving. In particular, is similar to magnetic ride, where the stiffness of the mounts is determined by the vibrations going through the car.

Found in: Porsche 911 GT3

Hybrid Performance Cars
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BMW

Hybrid super and sports cars are our most innovative answers to high power and low emissions. Through the use of electric motors, these cars have filled in the holes left in the power band from high revving engines and turbo lag. Plus, electric motors means more power, as some of these cars make near 1000-hp.

Found in: Ferrari LaFerrari, BMW i8, McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder, Acura NSX, and more

Dual-Clutch Transmissions
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Porsche

A dual-clutch transmission uses two clutches for odd and even gear sets, which makes shifts come more quickly than a sequential-manual transmission or, of course, a standard stick-shift gearbox. They are especially prevalent in sports cars. Because dual-clutch gearboxes can shift faster than other gearboxes, they also help the car accelerate faster because there is less of an interruption in the flow of power.

Found in: Porsche PDK, BMW M DCT, Audi S Tronic, VW DSG, Lamborghini LDF, Mercedes ANG SpeedShift, all current McLaren automobiles, Nissan GT-R, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X

Performance Data Recorder
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Cadillac

GM introduced the Performance Data Recorder (PDR) technology this year, which acts as not only a dash cam, but also as a race capture system that monitors your speed, brake and acceleration, current gear, current lap time, steering angle, and g-meter. Basically, you can enter a racetrack into the system and set the PDR to record your best time. Then you can race against yourself to set a fast time

Found in: Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac ATS-V, Cadillac CTS-V

Cylinder Deactivation
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Chevrolet

To improve fuel economy, one creative solution is to deactivate cylinders in the engine. This process is , because when the number of cylinders actually running changes, so does the displacement. It's one way for cars like the Corvette to have a big V8 but continue to return fantastic fuel economy on the highway.

Found in: Chrysler's Hemi V8s, GM's V6s and V8s, and Honda's 3.5-liter V6.

Ludicrous Mode
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Tesla

A software, battery, and circuitry upgrade gave the Tesla Model S P90D a ludicrous (hence the name) 0-60 time of 2.8 seconds. It's fast enough to literally suck the air out of your lungs.

Found in: Tesla Model S P90D.

Adaptive Cruise Control
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Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Department of Transportation

Adaptive cruise control relies on radar or lasers to sense what's around the car, including lanes and the speeds and distances to other cars. Some systems are so good that the car is almost autonomous up to 20 mph.

Found in: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes S-Class, BMW, Chrysler 200, and more

Drift Mode
<p>Ford took the hot hatch to the next level when it introduced the Focus RS. With 350 horsepower and torque-vectoring all-wheel dive, it's one seriously fast car. And while <a href="http://quizcards.info/new-cars/news/a30161/how-ford-made-drift-mode/" target="_blank">drift mode has gotten a ton of attention</a>, let's not forget <a href="http://quizcards.info/new-cars/first-drives/reviews/a28021/the-2017-ford-focus-rs-is-everything-enthusiasts-hope-for/" target="_blank">how incredibly capable the Focus RS is on the track</a>.</p>
Ford

A traction control mode found on the already-awesome 2016 Ford Focus RS, "Drift Mode" apparently turns off stability control and changes the settings to the ABS, the rear differential, and the suspension. It's the sort of system that'll allow you to pretend you're Ken Block without actually having any of the talent.

Found in: 2016 Ford Focus RS

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