After spending the last week driving a 2022 Volkswagen Golf R, I found the juxtaposition in the setup of the $44,640 hot hatch too much to ignore: The six-speed manual transmission rightfully commands the undivided attention of the driver, while its exclusive reliance on capacitive controls will drive said driver to distraction.
Let's start with the controls. VW's German designers seem to have become enthralled with capacitive HVAC and infotainment controls. Along with the Golf R, they're also on the latest-generation Tiguan. But while they look slick — Look, ma! No knobs! — they are difficult to use without taking your eye off the road. VW even put them on the key fob, which, I hesitate to admit, meant that in six days, I had accidentally set off the panic alarm in the car no fewer than nine times (and counting) while the fob was in my pocket.