For Release: Jan. 1, 2004, 12:01 a.m.
Interior Motives: A Look Inside the C6 Corvette Cockpit
The dual-cockpit theme of the C6 interior design was driven by three imperatives: Maintain or improve the C5s already excellent ergonomics, use high quality materials, and execute with precision.
The overall theme was inspired by Corvettes dual-cockpit heritage, with a flowing, wraparound upper feature line and two-tone split between the instrument panel upper and lower, said Eric Clough, lead interior designer. We wanted the surfacing to echo the high-tension character of the exterior to unify the whole car. The result lends spaciousness to the passenger and a nestled cluster pod for the driver. Switches and controls are located in modular groupings set into soft skin to reduce visual clutter.
Interior materials are significantly upgraded for comfort and aesthetics. The instrument panel and doors are covered with cast-skin foam-in-place trim that is soft to the touch with low gloss to minimize glare. To the eye, it looks like a leather-wrapped, padded panel. To the touch, it is warm and inviting. This advanced material has double the life of conventional automotive paneling materials, resists fading and sun damage, and minimizes interior fogging, which can occur as plasticizers migrate out of the material. Aluminum trim plates with a woven-type tactile surface add richness and emphasize features.
The interior is assembled with a high degree of precision, evidenced in the flush-fit radio and climate controls, the surrounding trim plates, and the instrument panel-to-door closure. Taken as a whole, the sum of these refinements adds up to a dramatically new – but distinctly Corvette – interior.
All the luxuries of a modern
A full-function OnStar system is available, offering Virtual Advisor, Personal Calling, emergency notification, stolen vehicle tracking, routing assistance, and automatic unlocking. And for the first time, Corvette offers onboard navigation as an option. Using a 6.5-inch color touch-screen display, the DVD-based system contains all the map data for the United States and Canada on one disc. Keeping with C6s global intentions, the navigation systems voice-recognition software supports multiple languages.
The traditional, easy-to-read analog gauges of C5 provided an excellent starting point for C6s designers to refine and enhance. White-on-black numerals inform the driver with clean, straightforward displays for speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure, water temperature, voltage, and fuel level. To reduce visual clutter, major telltales were moved from within the dominant tachometer and speedometer gauges to the area between them.
The speedometer and tachometer are larger in diameter by 5 mm (0.2-inch); the gauge graphics are simplified for increased legibility; and satin-finished aluminum bezels surround each gauge for visual punctuation.
While the analog gauges may appear traditional, the technology used to illuminate them is definitely cutting edge. Using new white LED technology, the gauges are backlit both day and night for a better contrast ratio, even in direct-sun conditions. In addition, the inks used for the graphics and the method of the layers and application are also new to General Motors.
The driver information center utilizes organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology. OLEDs make possible full-color, full-motion flat-panel displays with a level of brightness and sharpness not possible with other technologies and will be essential to the next wave of personal electronics such as PDAs, cell phones, and flat-screen TVs. Unlike traditional liquid-crystal displays OLEDs are self-luminous and do not require backlighting, eliminating bulky and environmentally undesirable mercury lamps.
The C6s DIC expands to a two-line display, which gives the driver more information including trip computer functions, fuel economy, range, tire pressure, and oil life remaining. OLEDs enable improved readability for the DIC – even in bright sunlight – and establish pleasing visual harmony with the rest of the gauges, the radio, and the HVAC controls.
Optional dual-mode head-up
There are two settings for the HUD: Street and Track; and each setting is preprogrammed to display information that is relevant for each respective – and very different – situation. In Street mode, the driver can select between several configurations that feature the speedometer and the turn signal indicators, and then add to it other information such as audio system data, automatic transmission gear position, and high-beam indicator. In Track mode, there is a larger tachometer, a speedometer, engine condition gauges, and a real-time lateral accelerometer that samples and displays the maximum g-force experienced during a turn. The HUD uses LCD pixels to construct the alphanumeric characters and graphics, allowing the HUD to change size and shape.
C6 utilizes a two-layer composite seat frame that is supported by an aluminum base, giving the seats outstanding structural support, especially in the stiffness of the seat backs themselves. Whether the owner chooses the standard seats or the optional sport versions, they will experience an uncompromising seat that offers comfort for long-distance driving as well as increased lateral support for performance driving.
The standard seat offers the driver six-way power adjustment with manual recline; side air bags are not available. The optional sport seat offers six-way power adjustment as well as a power lower-lumbar adjustment and lateral side bolsters for both driver and passenger. The sport seats also include head and torso side impact air bags that deploy through the side faces of the bolsters rather than through a bezel or a trim piece. Seat belt pretensioners are standard. And for the first time ever in a Corvette, heated seats are available.
High-performance cup holders
In addition to improved cup retention, the cupholders have a tambour (sectioned like a roll-top desk cover) door to close the holders when not in use. The door gives the center console and interior a neater, finished appearance, and allows the holder to serve as additional covered storage space when not being used to carry beverages.
Improved interior storage
There is now room in the center console for a cell phone, a pair of sunglasses, and six traditional-size CD jewel cases. The lid is easier to open, has more durable hinges, and lock placement improves accessibility regardless of the drivers seat position. Both doors have storage pockets to carry video/DVD cases, and the glove box grows from 0.14 cubic feet to 0.16 cubic feet. The hinges are damped to allow the door to open slowly, an upscale touch befitting a premium automobile.
In the rear cargo area, the doors for the storage pockets are integrated into the floor for a cleaner, more organized look. The doors are hinged, too, so they stay open for ease of access and stay closed during spirited driving. Thanks to the extended mobility tires, the lack of a spare tire gives the storage area more room and a neater appearance.