Retro dashboard dials are the best digital gimmick yet


The VW ID. 2all concept car sees Wolfsburg going back to the future. On the one hand, it previews a small electric car due in 2025. But on the other hand, it thrusts elements of VW’s past into the present. How so? Its digital instruments will display cool retro graphics from Volkswagens of the past.

This is probably the best digital gimmick we’ve yet been treated to by the touchscreen-generation of modern cars and their haptic-equipped, gesture-controlled dashboards and gizmos.

It means you could call up the instrument cluster of a Mk I Golf and imagine you’re back in the mid to late 1970s, tugging at a choke lever, twisting the key in the ignition barrel and looking for the ignition lights before cranking it to life and waiting for the telltale engine-check lights to go out. Cool, right? Okay, maybe it’s just us …

It will also mimic the spartan look of a classic Beetle, while the virtual cassette player is another neat touch – one that won’t chew up your cassettes or get stuck in a never-ending cycle of auto-reverse because the tape is in a bit of a mangled state.

VW-ID2all-concept tape deck

VW’s head of design, Andreas Mindt, said: “We are transferring the DNA of our icons into the future. The ID. 2all is therefore also an homage to the Beetle, Golf and Polo.”

Mere words in a press pack, but Mindt’s comment about DNA has some substance.

Take the C-pillar, which pays homage to the Mk1 Golf. “The C-pillar is the backbone of the Volkswagen design. In the ID. 2all, the stability of the C-pillar initially flows from the backbone into the side body elements,” said Mindt.


It, ahem, blends particularly well with the heckblende, which we suspect will be illuminated on the production version. Time to dig out that Hella rear panel catalogue from the attic?

There’s more good news on the inside, where you’ll find a “self-explanatory infotainment system with classic volume control and a separate air conditioning block”. A victory for common sense and, we suspect, a response to the less-than-positive response to the make-everything-digital Mk8 Golf and other ID models.

For now, the ID. 2all is a concept, but rest assured it’s destined for production. VW says the 58kWh battery will offer a range of 280 miles and be charged from 10 to 80 percent in 20 minutes.

The 0-62mph time of seven seconds will keep a Mk1 Golf GTI driver on their toes, but the 99mph is more Golf 1.6 LS than hot hatch.

VW says it’ll come with a starting price of less than €25,000 (£22,000), which would make it one of the more affordable electric cars on the market.

As you can tell, we dig the retro instrument panel and tip of the hat to VW’s heritage, but what do you think? Let us know in the comments.


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Via Hagerty UK

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    Making a digital display that mimics an analog gauge is the absolute silliest thing I’ve read today (and I’ve been reading political news, so you can see how high the bar is).

    Nope, lame.
    Like pumping V8 noise through the audio system to cover the turbo 4 or V6.
    Actually, it’s worse than lame, It’s kind of pathetic. Like comb-over guy, mid-40s party mom, or going out to dinner alone on Valentine’s Day.

    Agreed, that’s just silly. Give me analog, or better yet, as mechanical as you can; eliminating any possible electrical masking or accuracy problems. Styling-wise, it’s a nice looking car; the Golf/Rabbit I’d be interested in would be a 2-door hatchback with an internal-combustion soul and a manual trans.

    Fun, and a nice tribute to VWs of the past. Those who don’t appreciate the nostalgia can use the standard display. No harm no foul.

    I agree. I am guessing it appeals to us X’ers and Boomers and those poo pooing it just never had a an original Beetle or MK1 Golf. Like you said, if you don’t like the nostalgia, just use the standard display. Kinda reminds me of George Carlin, “There are two knobs on the radio…”, if you don’t like it, change it or turn it off.

    How about a VW without digital dash foolery and real analog gauges? Even the GTI has lost that. While we are at it, I’ll take an internal combustion motor too.

    I dont mind it at all. If screens are the future, might as well throw a nostalgic nod to the past for a little fun.

    Whenever a design professional mentions DNA, it makes me want to hurl. I just needed to get that off of my chest.

    The world as we know it has ended. I’ve decided to move to Cuba, buy an old dodge with a slant six, push button trans, and sometimes-working analog speedometer. There I will live out my days. The true meaning of retro.

    “Weird Al” Yankovic has a song called “Mission Statement.” This line “We are transferring the DNA of our icons into the future.” from the VW Design Chief would fit nicely into that song.

    So what do I think? Designers should have just stuck with the old and not started adding a bunch of high tech/higher price/more expensive stuff to fix, only to make it look exactly like it did.

    Okay, I am just an old crank, but I suspect I speak for many old cranks like myself who think the more you try to make it look like it was, the more we wish it was just left the way it was.

    Exactly. To me, the worst part of these video clusters, regardless of what and how they display, is the appearance when not active. Basically a tablet computer and smart phone crudely stuck to a package shelf and knee bar. Lovely.

    I took this as a good sign that eventually I’ll be offered an EV with an all-analog option package, that’s where I think and hope we’re headed. As for this iteration, I’m okay with the digital fun.

    I love the idea as an option to set a retro style dashboard. The people who hate this really sound like boring farts with no sense of fun at all. Go back to your beige Camry’s that has sucked the fun out of your souls.

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