Trends: Virtual Gauge Clusters

Technology has become the key differentiator in interior design today. Though the focus has been on the center screen rather than digital gauge clusters (until recently the domain of concept cars), they are now beginning to appear in mainstream production cars.

Volkswagen Passat
One such example is the digital cluster in the new Volkswagen Passat — a middle of the pack vehicle without a premium badge.
Volkswagen Passat digital gauge cluster
The introduction of this technology in the Passat is part of a plan to move the car upmarket. But it is also like to be the tipping point for this technology – other OEMs will surely respond and follow the Passat’s lead.

Lamborghini Huracan digital gauge cluster
Lamborghini Huracan
Like the new Passat and Audi TT (lead image above), the Huracan features a fully digital gauge cluster – one that extends to the full edges of the binnacle.

Perhaps befitting of its performance leanings, a large rev-counter dominates, with the option to customize with much more futuristic displays.

BMW i8 (2014)
BMW i8
Befitting of its techno-leading image, the i8 is the first production BMW to replace the company’s signature four-dial cluster set up with a digital display.

Note how the display doesn’t extend to the binnacle form’s edge, as it does on the VW Group products.

Range Rover Sport digital gauge cluster
Range Rover Sport
Jaguar Land Rover was one of the first companies to introduce the fully virtual cluster, with the newest incarnation of the Range Rover Sport being the latest vehicle in the range to use its 12-inch TFT screen technology.

With the endless possibilities digital brings, it’s interesting to note that traditional round dials for speed and rev counters are enduring in virtual form, despite their being no reason to continue with such a format — tradition and legibility notwithstanding. Clearly, the possibilities the virtual gauge cluster might offer are endless.

We’ll be looking for more concept and production vehicles to exemplify this growing trend when we hit the Paris motor show halls next week.

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