The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray may be the most eagerly-anticipated American performance car since the relaunch of the Dodge Viper. Jay Leno recently traveled to Brown’s Classic Auto in Scottsdale, Arizona to meet with GM design head Ed Welburn and see this milestone Corvette up close and personal.

As Welburn explains, the new Corvette was designed to appeal to a younger market, which explains its European styling flair and its controversial square taillights (which are becoming a central design theme for Chevrolet). In Welburn’s words, the taillight shape was altered simply because “it was time for a change.”

As anyone who’s driven the current version of the Corvette will tell you, the interior was long overdue for a refresh as well. The C7 Corvette get a completely restyled cockpit, as well as more attention to detail in construction and materials.

The leather used in the seats has a better hand feel, and an available contrasting-color dash topper adds a sense of style. The LCD center instrument display is reconfigurable, too, and drivers can opt for a variety of tachometer and information displays to suit their needs and tastes.

If you need to justify the car to your significant other, it’s blessed with a generous hatchback for cargo and (should) even get reasonable fuel economy when not pressed hard. As Welburn so aptly puts it, the term “base model” isn’t applicable to the new Corvette, which explains the re-emergence of the Stingray name.

We’re not sure how much time behind the wheel Leno actually had, but we promise a full road test of the 2014 Corvette Stingray in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned.