Competes with: Hyundai Genesis R-Spec, Dodge Charger SRT8, Ford Taurus SHO
Looks like: A proper Pontiac G8 successor
Drivetrain: 415-hp, 6.2-liter V-8; six-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Late 2013
Chevrolet has unveiled its new top-of-the-line high-performance sedan based on the next-generation Holden VF Commodore from Australia. Shown just before the 2013 Daytona 500 NASCAR race in Florida — where it will compete on Feb. 24 — the new 2014 Chevrolet SS shares a platform with the Camaro and new Caprice police car. It will slot above the Impala in both performance and price when it goes on sale later this year. If the lines look somewhat familiar, they should — GM used to sell the last generation of this sedan through Pontiac outlets as the G8, where it was a favorite of car enthusiasts but relatively unknown among the general public.
The new rear-wheel-drive sedan will be a performance halo vehicle for the Chevrolet brand. It features the Corvette's LS3 V-8 engine: 6.2 liters of naturally aspirated muscle motor making 415 horsepower and 415 pounds-feet of torque routed through a six-speed automatic transmission. It is Chevrolet's first rear-wheel-drive performance sedan for the U.S. market since the demise of the last Impala SS in 1996.
Unlike the new Impala or the old Pontiac G8, however, the Chevy SS is going to be more expensive and focus almost entirely on performance. Standard will be a Brembo brake system, a sport suspension and forged-aluminum 19-inch wheels wrapped with Bridgestone ultra-high-performance tires. A paddle-shift system will allow drivers to select their own gears. An aluminum hood and trunk are 30% lighter than comparable steel panels and contribute to the car's near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution.
Inside, the SS will come fully equipped with standards like leather seats, a touch-screen center console with navigation and Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, a Bose nine-speaker sound system, push-button start, forward collision alert and lane departure warning, a color heads-up display on the windshield and the first application of an autonomous parking system for any Chevrolet in the U.S. Prominent SS script will be stitched into the leather interior as well.
Previously, the SS moniker (for Super Sport) was applied only to high-performance versions of existing Chevy nameplates (Camaro SS, Impala SS). This marks the first time the trim level will be used as a vehicle name by itself, and on paper at least, it seems a fitting name for what promises to be a monster.