Volkswagen Golf R Technology
There was a time and stage when a radio in a car was an accessory – an optional extra that had to be fitted by a specialist and at an extra cost to the owner. The “wireless” in question first started out as one horrid, singular speaker in the footwell beneath the dashboard of the vehicle that had a timbre much akin to that of a gentle band, mumbling through a pillow while sitting in the corner of an echoey bathroom. The world was then blessed with the luxury of ‘stereo’ which in essence sounded like two of these mumbling pillow bands, but now at opposite ends of this echoey bathroom. Suffice to say, we have come a Lon way since then and as the telescopic ariels and shoddy sound-quality disappeared, the “audio system” developed too into what is now simply known as infotainment. The more perceptive of you would have figured out that infotainment is an amalgamation of the two words ‘information’ and ‘entertainment’ – wow, what a time to be alive!
Take Volkswagen’s new Golf R, for example. This is the perfect example of a sensible, practical and perfectly capable everyday vehicle which just so happens to have the latest and greatest in ‘infotainment’ available as an option. This is neatly integrated into the vehicle and works seamlessly in conjunction with what VW call the ‘Active Informalities Display.’ Essentially, this display is a 12-inch high-resolution screen that sits behind the steering wheel where one may traditionally have found the analogue instruments. This display is customisable by the driver and can show all kinds of relevant information – the speedometer and rev-counter will even move to either side of the display to make more space for the map when using the satellite-navigation system.
Vehicle settings can also be controlled and changed via the optional 9.2 – inch Discover Pro touchscreen system which is really great from a usability and user interface perspective. The system is really easy to navigate and contains clean menu’s and infographics to aid the user in whichever process or function they are trying to use. The Discover Pro system also features gesture control technology. Gesture control is able to decipher certain gestures which you my make in order to change to the next song playing through the vehicle’s optional Dynaudio audio-system – which compromises of 9 high-performance speakers, front and rear 2-way loudspeaker sets and a discreetly mounted dual voice coil subwoofer which is all powered by a 400-watt digital amplifier. In short, it sounds really good. The gesture control worms a charm, however, if you’ aren’t happy with the VW interface, connect your iPhone and use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
On top of this, almost all the information you could ever need regarding the vehicle can be displayed on the touch screen. If you’re conscious of fuel economy, then VW’s think blue trainer can be activated, aiding the driver in driving more economically. Our favorite option is the sports display, which displays live digital gauges on metrics such as power, torque, boost levels and G-force.
In terms of safety tech, the Golf R also features more commonplace premium features such as lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control which is radar-controlled and makes sure you are always keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front while maintaining and adjusting speed. Also available is Blind-spot assist and Rear Traffic Alert which monitors traffic that is approaching the rear of the car when reversing and notifies the driver is necessary. All these features go a long way to adding to the premium feel of the Golf R and go along way in keeping you safer on the roads.
So there you have it – gone are the days of plastic oranges on ariels and space-consuming 8-track upfront. The Golf R has got you covered with all the tech you could ever need – incredible audio quality, clean and concise maps, and a user interface that doesn’t frustrate the living daylights out of you as do the majority of OEM systems do. Few buttons, legible text and responsive software are a simple recipe for success in this instance.