Volkswagen clearly sees a future in gesture control. We’ve seen the beginnings of that on the Mk7 Golf‘s Discovery Pro infotainment system – a proximity sensor enables users to scroll through icons by gliding their finger above the touchscreen. Now, the company has unveiled the Volkswagen Golf R Touch concept at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), promising to take things to a whole other level altogether.

As you can see, the interior of the Touch is quite a bit different from a regular Golf R – virtually all the buttons are gone, for one, replaced by touch panels. Each panel has its own set of controls, manipulated by gestures. For example, the sunroof can be operated by swiping back and forth over the panel on the roof, while swiping across either front seat will cause the seat controls to show up on the central touchscreen.

This touchscreen, in case you were wondering, is a huge 12.3-inch unit that dominates the centre console. The homescreen layout is customisable like a smartphone – with tiles that can be moved and resized – and can be personalised to each driver. A 3D representation of the car can also be viewed and rotated by touch or gestures.

CES 2015

Under the screen is a touch slider that can control settings such as volume. It can recognise the number of fingers slid across it, changing the context of the setting – for instance, the user can use one finger to adjust audio volume, two fingers for navigation instruction volume and three for telephone volume.

A smaller eight-inch Control Centre touchscreen sits below the large display, controlling the climate control, media library and vehicle functions. The system uses special actuators and force sensors to provide haptic feedback, replicating the feel of physical buttons. In addition, a roof-mounted 3D camera enables gesture control by recognising the shape and orientation of the user’s hand – moving their index finger in the air, they can manipulate a variety of functions.

Replacing traditional analogue instrument dials is the 12.3-inch Active Info Display, the same sort that is already in use in the B8 Passat. In addition to the usual rev counter and speedometer, the screen can also be customised to show items like navigation and media information.

CES 2015

Showcasing the potential of all these gadgets, Volkswagen has built in a “race staging” function into the R Touch, providing a virtual driving experience when stationary. In this mode, the large display shows a video of the drive, the audio system plays back the engine sound, the Active Info Display shows the relevant vehicle data, the ambient lighting changes depending on the “speed” and even the seats vibrate to simulate chassis vibrations.

Elsewhere, the Volkswagen Golf R Touch remains largely unchanged from the regular Golf R, save for an oddly Peugeot 308 R-esque gloss red and matte black two-tone paint scheme.

What do you think – is a completely gesture- and touch-operated interior the way forward, or is it just too much trouble to move away from traditional buttons and switches?