2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (© Rod Hatfield)

The night before press preview days of the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Chevrolet revealed the 2014 Corvette to a packed house of invite-only media and special guests. The secrecy surrounding the unveiling was effective, with photojournalists clambering over one another to get the first shots of the new car. MSN Autos was lucky enough to attend and bring back the freshest photographs and specs on the seventh-generation of the legendary Corvette.

Watch Video:  Chevrolet Corvette Debuts


2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

What is it? America's sports car and a halo for the Chevrolet brand.

What's hot? Chevrolet revives the storied Stingray name for the seventh generation of its sports car. Despite the legendary name, which was last used in 1976, the C7 Corvette does not go for a retro look. Instead, General Motors designers say the new version was inspired by the aerodynamic and purposeful look of fighter jets and stingray fish. The new body is 37 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, thanks to carbon fiber for the hood and roof panel and carbon-nano composite underbody panels. A new aluminum frame saves another 99 pounds and is 57 percent stiffer.

View Pictures:  Corvette Stingray

The suspension geometry is the same, but the C7 Corvette saves unsprung weight with hollow lower control arms, aluminum rear toe links, and narrower and lighter wheels and tires. Chevrolet says the reduced footprint and new electric-assist power steering should give the new Corvette greater agility, with more immediate steering response. Magnetic Ride Control returns, but this time it responds to road surfaces 40 percent faster. Buyers will be able to personalize the ride and handling through a new drive mode selector with Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track settings.

Under the hood, the Corvette gets a new 6.2-liter V8 engine, known as LT1, with direct injection, continuously variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation and a new combustion system. Horsepower is up by 20 to 450, and torque increases 50 lb-ft, which brings the total to 474. Chevrolet says zero to 60 mph will arrive in less than four seconds.

The current Corvette has been criticized for the quality of its interior appointments and seats, and Chevrolet is aiming to change that with the C7. Soft-touch materials wrap the dashboard and, depending on the model, buyers get carbon fiber, aluminum or real leather trim. Two new seat choices are also offered, one for cruising, the other for performance. Other interior features include Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, 8-inch displays for the instrument panel and center stack, and a color head-up display.

What's not? The 'Vette is getting pricey. We would also like to see a convertible.

How much and when? Starting at about $50,000 when it goes on sale in the third quarter of 2013.

MSN Autos' verdict: The C6 Corvette is already an accomplished sports car, offering power and handling to meet or beat far more expensive cars. The structural, suspension and engine changes of the C7 should make it perform even better. And the interior looks much nicer, too.

Kirk Bell has served as the associate publisher for Consumer Guide Automotive and editor of Scale Auto Enthusiast magazine. A Midwest native, Bell brings 18 years of automotive journalism experience to MSN, and currently contributes to JDPower.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.