While many ordinary drivers have been looking for ways to cut back, those who can afford the finest luxury automobiles have been looking for ways to boost their horsepower and their performance.  Luxury automakers have responded in earnest, rolling out a slew of new features designed to provide those drivers with the utmost in entertainment, safety and sophistication.

In car entertainment systems have been around for quite some time, and many of these items have even gone mainstream.  While onboard DVD players, televisions and high end stereos were once the exclusive province of luxury nameplates, these days every soccer mom can choose from a variety of in car entertainment systems to keep the kids quiet on long trips.

In order to keep up, makers of luxury automobiles are going further than ever before, and that is good news for buyers.  The new in car entertainment systems included with the best luxury automobiles allow drivers to download their favorite CDs right into the car’s sound system.  Advances in technology have allowed carmakers to integrate large capacity hard drives into the sound system of luxury brands, providing drivers with a wealth of audio entertainment options.

Other trends in the world of luxury sound systems include the ability to play music directly from those popular thumb drives through a built in USB port.    And of course most of the top luxury models already allow drivers to plug their iPod or MP3 player into the car’s sound system, providing additional flexibility and convenience for drivers and passengers alike.

Satellite radio and HD radio are also making strong inroads into the luxury market, and these features too have been creeping into the mainstream automobile market as well.  These new options allow drivers to choose from a wealth of entertainment options, including commercial free music, sports and talk radio.

While the driver is being entertained with the latest HD radio or satellite technology, passengers are free to explore some of the other trends in automobile luxury.  From flat screen TVs and HD DVD players to built-in video games, the luxury nameplates are providing plenty of choices to keep the passengers entertained on those long road trips.

Of course it is not enough for cars, trucks and SUVs to be entertaining – they need to be safe as well.  Luxury automakers are again leading the way with the latest in safety technology, including automatic braking, backup cameras and even night vision options.

The cars of today have gone far beyond simple front and side airbags, incorporating so-called “smart airbags” that are able to detect the position of passengers in the front seat.  Radar technology has also made strong inroads into the luxury car market, with such features as collision detection and automatic braking finding their way into production models.  Carmakers are also using a combination of radar technology and cameras to eliminate blind spots and make parking easier.

Night vision technology is also making its mark, with luxury nameplates again leading the way.  This unique and highly useful technology is designed to make driving at night safer and easier through a combination of new and old technologies.  By projecting an image of the road ahead onto a small portion of the windshield, these technologies allow drivers to see potential hazards earlier and more clearly.

Automakers are also helping drivers keep their hands free while they deal with the wealth of technology used in their cars.  Many upscale automakers are providing drivers with the ability to dial their cell phones using only their voice, helping drivers stay safer behind the wheel, and helping them to avoid running afoul of the many laws making it illegal to use a non-hands free cell phone while driving.

Luxury carmakers are also making it easier for drivers to get where they are going by incorporating the latest in global positioning systems into the cars they sell.  Such features are onboard navigation systems, turn by turn directions using voice commands and more make it easier than ever for drivers to find their way in even the most unfamiliar territory.