One of the most controversial aspects of the new mid-engine Corvette is the long vertical line of buttons on the center console.
But before you get too critical of the interior designers for their latest effort on the 2020 Stingray, take a listen to design manager Tristan Murphy who spoke with GearPatrol.com because there is definitely sound logic behind the new look.
“The whole point of [getting] that engine behind you is it allows you to have a much lower cowl…you no longer have to sit above the engine, and you can get these really great sightlines,” Murphy said. “And that’s what a mid-engine car does. The last thing we want to do was have this amazing downvision, then have this typical tall instrument panel. It was about, how do we change the game and how do we reconstruct a dashboard here to be as low and as thin as possible? That was the mission statement of the whole car.”
Designers didn’t just pull the new look out of their hats one day.
Murphy says they discussed the interior for months among each other and used design reviews and clay models to help them come up with the final look, not to mention sitting in impressive competitors like LaFerraris, Porsche 918s, and McLarens to get a feel for what it’s like to be in the cockpit of a million-dollar vehicle.
“Obviously, these are million-dollar hypercars,” Murphy said. “But you just get in and it feels special, right? So that was the whole thing: how do we make [the C8] feel special?”
Personally, we think they nailed it with the whole interior, including the debut of the thinnest air vents in the world.
“We’re 19 millimeters tall, and we had to invent that. Then we had to do a brand new HVAC system that controls that velocity [at that vent height]. Normal vents are usually about 36 to 40 millimeters tall, but every single millimeter that goes up the instrument panel, the dash has to go along, right?”
Designers could have just moved the row of HVAC buttons to the touchscreen, but Murphy says they quickly nixed that idea because it would be “really annoying” to have to search through these controls buried beneath layers of other information.
The whole idea was to make the C8 make the driver feel like he or she was in a fighter jet cockpit.
“[Corvette designers] discussed very early, “Okay, how do we remove off the center line and still have some hard controls?” Murphy said. “And that’s when we went to looking back at jet cockpits. These guys literally have controls wrapping around them.”
The final result, in the opinion of Murphy and his team, is a success.
“I never felt confined [by other departments],” he said. “If anything, we felt very intimidated…we need to still come in and surprise people. They need to get inside this thing and be like, ‘Holy —-.’
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