There is a lot of talk of connected cars of late, but there are currently no OEM auto manufacturers that offer unrestricted Web access.
BMW X6 (top) and all the goodness of CNET in your BMW (bottom)
BMW is planning to be the first to do so with an upgraded version of its ConnectedDrive system in a BMW X6, which is on display at this year's Geneva Auto Show. Like many other telematics systems, ConnectedDrive currently provides assistance and car services via a cellular GPRS connection, with some restricted access to the Internet. Starting this year, the service will be expanded to offer drivers unrestricted browsing of the Web. The system on show in Geneva is a prototype, but BMW engineers say that the final version won't look too much different.
The browser is accessed and controlled via BMW's iDrive interface, with Web pages showing up in the high-res dash-mounted display. The system only operates for front seat occupants when the car's engine is off, but rear-seat passengers will be able surf to their hearts' content at freeway speeds -- if the car is optioned up with a rear-seat display and special rear-passenger iDrive intefaces, that is. The service is to be rolled out in Germany starting at the end of the year and the annual flat fee subscription is expected to cost between €100 (AU$160) and €200 (AU$330). We're still awaiting word from BMW Australia as to whether this system is slated to come down under.