In the last three years, automotive stylists have begun to pay more attention to interiors, especially instrument panels. That makes sense because car buyers probably spend more time looking at their instrument panels than any other part of the car. Here are five examples that turned our heads.
The instrument panel of the Ford GT is dominated by this rectangular cluster of analog gauges, featuring a large tachometer. The 2005 GT is an update of the GT40 of the 1960s. Modern versions of the original car's toggle switches, located below the gauges, operate key systems. The speedometer is at the far right, slightly angled for prime viewing.
Mercedes-Benz's ultraluxury Maybach unit teamed with German tire maker Fulda to create a V-12 turbocharged show car called the Exelero. Mercedes says the car, which was unveiled in Germany in May, "combines the elegance and first-class quality of a high-end limousine with the powerful suppleness of a sports coupe." That's apparent on the instrument panel. Glossy black and red carbon fiber is prominent. There are no plans to produce the Exelero.
|B9 or be square|
The 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca's curvaceous instrument panel flows around the driver and passenger. The area in front of the driver features large electroluminescent dials, with the tachometer and speedometer being dominant. Just to the right of the cluster is a 7-inch touch screen that provides information such as audio and climate settings, fuel efficiency information and navigation help.
|Sky's the limit|
Saturn and plastic have been inseparable since the first SL sedan rolled off the line in Spring Hill, Tenn., 16 years ago with plastic body panels. The abundance of plastic on the interiors may have turned off some consumers in the past, but they may see things differently when they look at the 2007 Saturn Sky roadster's instrument panel. While GM has not abandoned plastic, the Sky's interior has a more luxurious look than previous Saturns, in part because the plastic is not as glossy. GM says the bold new look of the Sky will influence Saturn's future product lineup.
|A poem in chrome|
Chrome accents help give the 2005 Toyota Avalon a sophisticated feel. The redesigned Avalon, which was styled at Calty Design Research Inc. in Newport Beach, Calif., went on sale in January.