Golf Going High-Tech: Gesture Control, Touch-Screen Interface Pegged For Popular Compact

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In an effort to keep up with its American and Asian rivals, Volkswagen will be shortening its vehicle life cycles from seven years to five, with a mid-cycle update coming after the first three years of sale. The first of VW’s models to move to this five-year life cycle will be the Golf, which was all-new for the 2015 model year and thus likely to be updated for 2018.

Speaking with Auto Express, VW powertrain chief Heinz-Jakob Neußer confirmed that a mid-cycle update for the Golf was coming soon, and that the update will include some pretty advanced tech features normally found in much more expensive models. These will include an interface with a large touch-screen display and gesture control system, both of which were previewed on the Golf R Touch concept unveiled at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show back in January.

“The [Golf R Touch] interior features a preview of future VW interior technologies, with smartphone applications redefined for automotive use,” Neußer said. “The gesture control will become reality in the Golf at the end of next year.”

While Neußer states that the updated Golf is coming in late 2016, this is likely to be for the European market where the current model has been on sale since late 2012. In the U.S., we should see the updated Golf reach showrooms midway through 2017, as a 2018 model.

The Golf R Touch’s interface combined three different displays: a huge 12.8-inch touch-screen display in the center stack for infotainment features, an 8-inch touch-screen display below this for vehicle settings such as climate control, and a 12.3-inch display for the instrument cluster displaying vital stats such as speed and navigation details.

Interestingly, the concept allowed the driver to set the meaning for certain gestures, though it’s not clear if this will translate to the production model. By pointing or waving a hand, the driver will be able to control things like the music volume, cabin temperature or even the opening and closing of the sunroof (if equipped). BMW’s new 7-Series debuting later this year will be the first model with a gesture control interface.

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