The Chevrolet Corvette, America’s iconic supercar, will usher in the first application of GM’s next generation family of small-block V8 engines. When you are talking American small-block V8s though, it is a very relative concept compared to what the rest of the world considers to be a small capacity spliced eight-cylinder engine.Although the seventh generation Corvette is only expected to arrive at dealers by 2012, Chevrolet is cognisant of the fact that is will no longer be able to rage against global environmental hysteria with a range of 7l V8 engines – powering the current C6 cars.To this end the characteristic V8 configuration will remain, albeit in a downsized form. Small(er) is a relative conceptIndustry insiders expect the current Corvette V8s (6.2- and 7l) to shrink to a more environmentally friendly 5.5l capacity. For the Americans this is quite a profound change, marking the C7 as the first Corvette in nearly six decades to not sport an engine 5.7l or larger in terms of swept capacity as part of the product line-up.Other engineering changes should see a switch from port to direct-injection (finally), yet the characteristic centre-V camshaft arrangement will not be replaced by an overhead system. Two fundamental reasons GM is not keen to go the overhead camshaft route is the low manufacturing costs of a pushrod arrangement and the neater overall engine dimensions it renders. Despite shrinking in size from 7- to 5.5l, the C7’s V8 is expected to be boast negligibly more power - peaking at 385kW as opposed to the C6’s 377kW.