HERNDON, Virginia — The new "Unleash Your Rrrr" campaign allows fans to drive a virtual 2015 Volkswagen Golf R with just the sound of their voices.
VW's ad agency, Deutsch LA, has developed a Web app that lets users record themselves making "vroom-vroom" and screeching noises, which the technology then translates into a custom video of a virtual Golf R racing around a track, drifting and braking.
To demonstrate the concept, Deutsch created an ad with the assistance of actor Michael Winslow, the "Man of 10,000 Sound Effects," and professional racer and stunt driver Tanner Foust.
In another ad, Foust gives it a try without Winslow's help.
Volkswagen says the Web app utilizes deep learning, an artificial-intelligence subset of machine learning, to analyze each user's individual take on car noises. It then matches those sounds with samples from a pool of hundreds of video clips.
For example, if a user goes "vroom," the Golf R might accelerate down a straightaway, while a loud screech could result in the virtual Volkswagen braking or drifting madly through a turn.
"The idea behind the Golf R 'Unleash Your Rrrr' was simple — imagination," said Vinay Shahani, vice president of marketing for Volkswagen of America, in a statement. "As children, we've all played with toy cars, and the power of our imaginations allowed us to turn rugs into expressways and wooden floors into slick racetracks. Our voice would act as the engine. Fast forward to today where we now have the power of technology to enhance our imagination, and to visualize the power of our voice."
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque driving all four wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Volkswagen says the Golf R can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph.
The 2015 Golf R is available now from Volkswagen dealers with prices starting at $37,415, including a destination fee of $820.
Edmunds says: Volkswagen and Deutsch have come up with an innovative way to engage performance-minded consumers.