Volkswagen Golf R Touch concept

I was skeptical when Volkswagen announced the gesture-controlled Golf R Touch concept. If you've ever struggled with Xbox Kinect in your living room, you'll understand my hesitation.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Digital instrument cluster

The Golf R Touch's concept dashboard starts with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. These are becoming more commonplace.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Main screen

The main attraction is the massive 12.8-inch capacitive touchscreen. Crisp typography and 3D motion graphics are a treat to watch.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Customizable display

The interface is customizable. The driver can resize, swap, and reposition live tiles that overlay the map on the homescreen.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Colorful graphics

Even the phone and audio screens feature large colorful graphics.

Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET

Colorful lighting

The color scheme of the interface is customizable and ambient lighting around the cabin also changes to match your favorite hue.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET

3D virtual car

A 3D representation of the Golf R is displayed on the screen. The driver can interact with the various systems simply by selecting them on the display. It also provides live updates to reflect the vehicle's condition. Open a door and the virtual car's door opens with it.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET


Multiple drivers can save their color and interface customizations, settings, and more under profiles.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Control Center

The lower display is an 8-inch control center. This secondary screen mimics the climate controls that we're familiar with on VW cars.

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Contextual controls

The Command Center's top row features contextual controls that change. Here is where you'll skip songs, select navigation shortcuts, or adjust the performance of the car.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Haptic feedback

The lower screen features haptic feedback to simulate physical buttons. Pressing a virtual key onscreen results in a very convincing tactile click.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Steering wheel controls

The steering wheel controls also feature haptic feedback.

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Haptic buttons

Despite looking like discrete buttons, the R uses two capacitive panels and no moving parts.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Gesture controls

The Golf R Touch makes use of gesture controls. Holding a hand over the shift knob causes the car to recognize your hand.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Finger waggling

The driver can then move a hand or flick a finger to make onscreen selections. The driver can also wave a hand in front of the window or sunroof to open the glass.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Golf R Touch

Volkswagen states that the gesture controls are purely experimental and that it hasn't given up on good, old-fashioned touch controls.

Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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