Given its recent financial troubles and resultant period of government oversight, it’s no surprise that GM has hewed to a fairly conservative course in preparing the latest (and now just plain late) new Corvette. As hard as it might be for us to understand, the idea of GM spending gobs of money to radically reengineer its screaming, tire-smoking supercar could in some circles be seen as less than prudent, especially when the current Vette is already a world-class performer. So, the upcoming new Corvette — the C7 for short — retains the current mechanical layout. Instead, efforts have gone into lowering weight, downsizing powertrains, and improving efficiency. We’re still looking at a V-8 engine, however, and the numbers bandied about for the base model are 5.5 liters and 440 hp — so this downsizing is evidently nothing too drastic. The V-8 will be direct-injected and the transmissions will add more gears, giving the Vette an eight-speed automatic and a seven-speed manual like the one in the new Porsche 911. The car will also be trimmed in size, and that, frankly, is welcome, but not quite as much as the promised higher-quality interior. Also welcome is a more adventurous design, considering the play-it-safe recent efforts. Chevrolet released a teaser in the form of the Stingray concept back in 2009, but that show car is pretty far off from the production version. Instead, we’re expecting something along the lines of what you see above, with the creases of today’s car more pronounced, a vaguely Ferrari 599 look to the profile, and a hint of Camaro in the taillights to build the Chevy family resemblance. It won’t be long before we’ll know how close this is to the real thing. We’ll get our first look at the next-generation Corvette in less than a year at the 2013 Detroit auto show before the car goes on sale as a 2014 model.