Steve-O a new adornment in the back of a Hummer being driven at speed across a bumpy desert floor by Henry Rollins? That's sometimes how appropriate trying to operate a touchscreen system in a car with fashionably sporty suspension feels to me.
I don't envy the people designing these systems though. Phones have got us used to having the world at our fingertips. Only natural carmakers would seek to emulate that in some form. I can also see the attraction to designers for cleaning up interiors and reducing button counts. Something that fit McLaren's minimalist ethos but rather bit it on the backside with the early Iris systems in the 12C. All very well committing to bundling all the car's systems into one interface. But if that single component doesn't work properly you're screwed.
Many Porsches, in contrast, combine both a heavy button count and a small screen placed low in the dash and an arm-stretch away to operate. Worst of both worlds, though if you've ever driven an old 911 you'll be aware 'ergonomics' has only entered the Porsche lexicon relatively recently. Credit to the new Panamerathough - its clean combination of button-free haptic controls on the centre console and a huge screen in the dash win on both style and function and, I have no doubt, will be rolled out across the rest of the range in due course.
Apache gunship pilot levels of eyeball dexterity. Consistency over a long period works here too - you can drive pretty much any BMW of the last decade or more and it works the same way. Unlike Audi, which seems to attempt reinvention with every new generation, meaning you have to learn from scratch with each new model.
I did like Mercedes' iDrive style Comand wheel too, though the E400 Coupe I'm currently in has (like others) gained a touchpad atop it. Many of the premium brands seem to love the idea of them but has anyone ever successfully scrawled anything meaningful into such a device, even at a standstill? Only the Lexus joy-stick thing is worse.
Surely voice or gesture control are the way to go then? Sorry, but I hate automated voice interaction. I hate it when phoning call centres and I've hated it in every car I've tried it. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned but conversing with machines makes me uncomfortable. Siri and I are not on speaking terms, put it that way.
I should probably reserve judgement on gesture control until I've tried using it. But I can't help thinking frantic hand movements while driving are a recipe for trouble. Not that it was much better back in the day of course, the tiny buttons on old-fashioned head units impossibly fiddly at their 80s peak. Ever tried using a graphic equaliser on the move? Exactly!
Time for a vote though. Who gets the tech interface in modern cars right? And who gets it wrong?