Blaupunkt drives in with first map-packing GPS car stereo

Mounting a new sat-nav unit on your dash is always a proud moment, but beneath the walnut veneer your car is mumbling ‘not the face, not the face’. Lu

Mounting a new sat-nav unit on your dash is always a proud moment, but beneath the walnut veneer your car is mumbling ‘not the face, not the face’. Luckily, Blaupunkt’s come up with a more interior-friendly solution – this GPS head-unit.

The TravelPilot Rome is the first small car radio we’ve seen with a good enough display for showing sat-nav maps as well as directions. The screen measures 3.2in and is a high-res TFT affair that even offers zooming functionality for getting a closer look at tricky junctions.

Maps of the UK, Ireland and the major roads of Europe are pre-installed on its 64MB memory, and you can get directions to your destination by doing a postcode search. You can then pick your route from the fastest, shortest or optimal (AKA ‘best’) options, with the latter even taking TMC traffic updates into consideration.

Getting your directions won’t interfere with your music listening. You can listen to CDs while navigating – loaded with MP3s or WMAs if you like – and there’s also an FM, MW and LW tuner.

It doesn’t go the whole hog and offer Bluetooth for hands-free calling like the fantastically named Parrot Rhythm n’Blue [story here], but it is an intriguing and neat GPS solution.

Our only concern – which the road safety watchdogs might share [story here] – is the neck-craning that reading directions could involve, but we’re sure that in the hands of safe, responsible drivers like the Stuff team, it’ll be a handy piece of convergence. The TravelPilot Rome is available now for £550 from Blaupunkt’s site.