Volkswagen Golf R Touch concept

Digital instrument cluster

Main screen

Customizable display

Colorful graphics

Colorful lighting

3D virtual car

Profiles

Control Center

Contextual controls

Haptic feedback

Steering wheel controls

Haptic buttons

Gesture controls

Finger waggling

Golf R Touch

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Even the phone and audio screens feature large colorful graphics.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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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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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The steering wheel controls also feature haptic feedback.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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