A sparkling new Corvette with as much Italian lines as American dash kicked off the annual North American Auto Show on Sunday, the first makeover in eight years for the iconic US sports car.
Six decades after the Chevrolet speedster came on the market, the new Corvette easily earned the respect of the Detroit automotive press, with one saying its "Italianate lines" suggested the class leader Ferrari.
"The soul of our company is sitting right here in Corvette," said Mark Reuss, president for the Americas of Chevrolet parent General Motors. "This car is the reason I work at GM."
GM, pulling out of an industry wide recession in 2008 to 2010, ordered a sweeping redesign of the current C6 model: a new platform, new 450 horsepower (330kW) motor, and new exterior and interior, held together with a good dose of carbon-fibre to keep it light and fast.
The company said it was the most powerful base model Corvette it had ever launched, capable of reaching 100km/h in four seconds flat.
But it is also, the company said, the most efficient Corvette ever, its emissions lower than the C6.
It should hit the market in the third quarter of 2013.