Top 10 Coolest Digital Gauge Clusters

Sami Haj-Assaad
by Sami Haj-Assaad

Most vehicles have some sort of screen in the gauge cluster these days, but some are better than others.

With analogue dials quickly being phased out by more detailed screens that can be customized, digital gauge clusters are poised to become the norm. Here’s a quick look at 10 of the coolest clusters being fitted to new cars today in no particular order.

Any discussion about new technology has to include the Tesla Model S. Its instrument cluster is a radical departure from what you usually see in production vehicles. Completely digital, you’ll need a paleontologist’s toolkit to find a needle or gauge here. Instead, the screen features graphs and bars that depict range and how your driving behavior is affecting it.

Highly customizable, the detailed display can also show you a map interface, your media information (including album art) and other contextual screens like parking sensor data.

When you turn the car off, a visual representation of the vehicle pops up and the screen shows you the stats of your journey. The digital Model S tells you if your doors are open and if the car is charging or not. Tesla’s digital display design is arguably the most advanced in the industry.

The latest car often has the coolest new technology, so it’s no surprise that the Audi TT sits here on the list. The car only features one display, which acts as both the gauge cluster and infotainment system, meaning it’s placed right in front of the driver. With rich visuals that would be at home in a video game, the car provides loads of information as long as you’re in the driver seat.

Keep an eye out for other vehicles from the Volkswagen Group getting the same gauge cluster. It’s already being used in the new Lamborghini Huracan and you can also expect it to come to the next generationR8.

Here are the facts about the seventh generation Chevrolet Corvette: it’s a performance bargain, it’s gorgeous and it has a high-tech interior. For starters check out that customizable display in front of the driver. Sure, ‘Vette owners probably liked the good-old design of an analogue speedometer and tach, but you probably won’t hear them complaining about this one either. G-forces, 0-60 times, and even tire temperatures are all recorded and shown on the display, making it a valuable performance measurement tool.

In past generations, the Viper earned a reputation of biting back at the driver and punishing people unable to tame its raw power. The new Viper has safety features meant to give drivers more confidence, but it still flashes its teeth in an intimidating way. Literally. Approaching redline, the digital tachometer begins to turn red and the “Stryker” logo begins to appear in its place.

That’s not the Viper’s only cool party trick. Like other SRT cars in the Chrysler portfolio, the Viper features a digital display in the gauge cluster. You can use that display to see 0-to-60 times, 0-to-100 mph times, eighth- and quarter-mile elapsed times. It also shows your braking distance, instant g-force measurement readouts and top-speed performance.

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport Twin Turbo; Santa Barbara, California; September 2014

Goodbye tail fins, hello computer screens? That’s the idea we get from spending some time in the latest Cadillac models, including the brand new third generation CTS. The configurable display in front of the driver isn’t just high-resolution, but customizable with four different themes and layouts.

The themes range from the traditional three-circle look to a sporty-design with the tach as one of the main focuses of the display. There’s even a cool Sci-Fi-inspired minimalist theme too. While these showcase the versatility of Cadillac’s instrument cluster, you can also add even more information like the map display and media information to the screen.

Lately Kia has been on a roll, surprising us with high-tech features and premium products. The latest car from the Korean automaker, the K900, features an impressive digital gauge cluster, with a crisp, clear and bright display. It shows trip details, navigation and media information very nicely, but our favorite part of the display comes with the little details. For example on the display is a square that contains the gear you’re in. However, shift the car into Sport, Reverse or any other gear, and the square actually reveals itself as a cube, with each face of the cube displaying a gear and rotating to the gear you just chose. Details like these help make the car feel special and make it stand out in a crowd of other premium cars on the market.

Lexus LFA Nurburgring Presentation Photoshooting Details 23.Sept. 2009

Despite being out of production since 2012, the Lexus LFA never ceases to amaze. If you’re like most people, the Japanese supercar is out of reach. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a small taste of its high-tech interior.

On the LFA, the instrument cluster was a whole stage production – when you fire up the engine, the four digital gauges (that monitor oil and water temperatures, fuel levels and oil pressure) float away from the center of the tachometer and take their positions on either side of the central dial. As you drive, the tachometer glows and changes colors as if the car is blushing and panting as you push it harder and harder. When you change gears, the needle leaves a ghost at its last position, like a benchmark that you want to pass with the next gear.

Now appearing on the IS sport sedan, the dial itself is a motorized display that moves out of the way to show more information and settings.

BMW’s new plug-in hybrid sports car has a fully digital instrument cluster rich with details and featuring 3D graphics that change based on which drive mode you’re in. For example, when you set the car in its fuel-friendly “Eco Pro” mode, the display will change and encourage the driver to be more conscious of their throttle use in order to maximize fuel efficiency.

While you might think the ELR features a display that’s taken right from the CTS and XTS, it’s quite a bit different. That’s because the ELR is a luxury oriented electric vehicle, meaning it has to show the driver the important details of the electric powertrain.

Instead of using a needle or gauge to indicate efficiency, there is a green orb to the left of the speedometer that floats up and down depending on how you drive. Drive aggressively and it moves upwards. If you start braking or applying the regen-on-demand paddles, the orb will float low into the “Brake” area, indicating that the car is recharging its batteries. The key to getting the best range with the car is to balance the little orb in the middle.

Aside from showing efficiency, the display can show other information including the navigation system.

The GMC Sierra Denali features a class-exclusive digital display, meaning you won’t find something like it on any other pickup truck in the market. Framed by the usual analogue gauges, the screen displays information like your current location (with a map), media and a communication screen to help you place a phone call while keeping your hands on the wheel.

Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad

Sami has an unquenchable thirst for car knowledge and has been at AutoGuide for the past six years. He has a degree in journalism and media studies from the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto and has won multiple journalism awards from the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada. Sami is also on the jury for the World Car Awards.

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