The navigation system, however, leaves quite a lot to be desired. Oh, it’s functional enough, and fully-featured; it’s just impossible to control effectively. Despite occupying about half a square foot of dashboard real-estate, the screen isn’t touch-sensitive, meaning you’re left fumbling about with an awkwardly-placed set of cursor keys on the far side of the unit.
Navigating menus, selecting single letters to spell out a destination, and toiling through endless lists of points-of-interest is made all the more painful and slow thanks to the interface. The voice command system works quite well, but is limited in its scope; eventually the navigation system fell into complete disuse and I used the screen solely for audio functions.
But beyond that black spot, there’s only one other (very minor) nit to pick with the interior features and layout, and that’s the wasting of an entire instrument panel gauge on an analog clock. Luxury cars are keen to adopt this particular vanity, and hardly a one can be found lacking, but the redundancy of the device is made all the more obvious by the ill-functioning COMAND system, where a digital display of the time is proudly displayed on most every screen.On the Road
Enough of sitting in the car looking at every nook and cranny. Let’s fire this sucker up!
It thrums to life with a pleasing note, but presently settles into a quiet and dignified hum, barely audible and almost free of vibration. Notch it into gear and depress the throttle and something surprising happens - an almost American sensation pervades the car.
Floating down the road, the steering is loose, the ride is couch-like and the engine has a definite V8 burble at cruise. But this is with the computer set to comfort mode and the Airmatic semi-active suspension set to full soft. Kick the computer over into sport mode, and the engine comes to life.
Or at least the accelerator becomes a great deal more responsive, allowing the driver to access its 382hp potential. The prodigious torque (391lb-ft) is available across a broad band, from 2,800rpm to 4,800rpm, and comes in very useful - no matter the computer's setting - when passing on the highway.
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