Regular (and even irregular) readers already know this, so for those who are unfamiliar with this institution, an introduction: Hi, we’re Car and Driver, and we hate the seats in the Corvette. Today, Chevy’s plastic fantastic isn’t so much a sports car as it is a budget supercar. But, in our every encounter with it, we come away just as appalled at its seats as we are amazed at its capabilities.
Although the next-generation Vette is less than two years away, Chevrolet has nonetheless made some enhancements for 2012 models that include, at last, respectable thrones—specifically, the same ones found in the Centennial Edition Corvette. (But without the microfiber suede inserts, which will be optional.) With distinct lateral and shoulder bolsters, the seats should greatly help drivers and passengers enjoy the Corvette’s formidable performance without bouncing between armrest and center console.
Additional interior touch-ups include tweaks to the steering-wheel trim and additional padding on the center console and armrest areas. With two new tweeters on the dash, the optional Bose sound system ups its speaker count to nine, and for fancier tastes, the optional leather interior now offers contrasting stitching in red, blue, or yellow. Incidentally, the brake calipers can also be ordered in red, yellow, silver, or gray. How about one of each?
The 2012 Corvette also gets some performance-oriented upgrades as well, though the lion’s share of them go to the hard-core Z06 model, which arguably doesn’t need anything more than more grip to handle the 505 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque from its 7.0-liter V-8. Fortunately, additional grip it will get, in the form of newly available Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Zero Pressure tires. They will be available as part of the Z07 handling package for the Z06, and also for the ZR1 as part of its new PDE performance package. Measuring 285/30-19 in front and 335/25-20 in back, the new tires will help the Vette corner at more than 1.1g, according to Chevy. (That claim is not as outrageous as it may seem. We’ve recorded 1.07 in both a Z06 and a ZR1.) Also helpful are the new lightweight aluminum wheels paired with the new tires, which will be offered in satin black or machined finishes. More important, each wheel weighs about five pounds less than its counterpart on the current car.
Also new to the Z06 is Performance Traction Management, which, in a nutshell, is multiple, driver-selectable stability control programs and launch control. While we love tire smoke and yaw as much as anybody, the prospect of a more-controllable Z06 sounds good to us. Rounding out the changes for the 2012 Corvette are a newly available racing-style full-width rear spoiler for the Z06 and ZR1 as part of the Z07 and PDE packages, respectively. The Z06 also is available with a new carbon-fiber hood.
If you want to see these changes up close, your first opportunity will be a special event at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where production of the 2012 model commences this July. And if you’re us, you’re excited for another opportunity to belt in the test gear and head to the test track—this time, with better seats.
Thanks to: Car and Driver