Volkswagen’s Golf R Touch Doesn’t Have Any Buttons

The futuristic concept at CES has multiple screens and responds to gestures, meaning less push, more tap-and-swipe.

This week, VW debuted a next-gen prototype whose cool technology is all on the inside: the Golf R Touch, a hot-hatch with a multi-screen, button-free dashboard that shows, dazzlingly, how Volkswagen sees the future of cars.

The center panel is a 12.8-inch touchscreen that integrates all navigation and entertainment apps, while a smaller, 8-inch touchscreen below operates the climate control. The speedometer and tachometer, like those in the Mercedes S-Class, Range Rover, and Lexus LFA, has been replaced with a digital widescreen display. All remaining buttons (few) are capacitive touch.

Courtesy of Volkswagen

But that’s not the truly revolutionary part. After all, touch screens in cars have been available for over a decade. Volkswagen, though, maintains that their technology is the first automotive application of touchscreens that lives up to contemporary electronics interfaces. Basically—the touchscreens in the Golf R prototype are as good as the one on your iPad. In fact, their capabilities go beyond. Like the iPad, one, two, or three fingers enable different functions; unlike the iPad, holding up your hand for two seconds in front of the main screen activates gesture control, meaning you can control the screen without touching it. Simply wave and twist, keeping your eyes on the road, and up goes the volume, down goes the AC.

Because the Golf R Touch is a prototype, Volkswagen didn’t reveal plans to bring this technology to its production cars, or what the system might cost if it were available. However, it looks seamless, and dashboard technology has languished as the rest of a car’s components have jetted forward.

Everyone raise a hand (for two seconds) to the future. 

Photos by Volkswagen