Chevrolet SS

2016 Chevrolet SS

The Chevrolet SS is a full-size four-door sports sedan with one engine, a huge 6.2-liter V8. Theres really only one competitor to the SS, and its a worthy one, a Dodge Challenger with a 392 cubic-inch Hemi. There is also the 707-horsepower supercharged Challenger Hellcat, but thats in a tire-smoking world of its own.

The SS is Chevrolets first rear-wheel-drive sedan since the 1996 Impala, which lives today as a front-wheel-drive car. But its not the Impala that the SS has evolved from, its the 2008 Pontiac G8 that was developed Down Under. GM sent engineers from Detroit there to work on that car.

In Australia, GM calls itself Holden. There, the throaty Commodore SS is seen as the last muscle car, prestigious and high profile on those long flat highways. Despite the lack of corners, and the low speed limits enforced around the cities by Big Brother cameras, the Australian-built cars have always handled better than the American-built ones (just as the Australian V8 Supercar Series blows NASCAR off the track when it comes to road course execution and excitement). The SS benefits from its Australian experience, mainly in the excellent balance from 52/48 weight distribution, and carefully developed multi-link rear suspension.

Another thing about the SS: its a cop car. Its refined, and it has style, but a strip search will uncover a Chevrolet Caprice PPV (Police Patrol Vehicle). The Blues Brothers never had it so good.

With only the big V8 engine, the SS isnt intended to be a big seller. Chevrolet appears to build it just because it can, and to keep its tradition alive. Also to keep enthusiasts happy (as if they couldnt be happy with the stunning Corvette and dazzling Camaro SS). And perhaps to make the folks at Chevrolet happy, to see it here.

That V8 is a 415-horsepower version of the previous-generation Corvette LS3 engine (70 horsepower less than the Hemi engine in the Dodge Challenger). It comes with a solid 6-speed manual transmission (truly old school in a full-size sedan), or a 6-speed automatic that unfortunately isnt up to the task. It accelerates from zero to sixty in 4.7 seconds, and sounds nice doing so, a burble at zero and bark at sixty. Beefy Brembo brakes, Magnetic Ride Control dampers, and 19-inch forged aluminum wheels with Z-rated tires are standard. Cops need that stuff.

The SS hasnt been crash tested, because it is low volume. It gets an EPA-rated 17 miles per gallon Combined city and highway driving, with either the manual or automatic transmission; thats 15/21 mpg City/Highway with manual, 14/21 mpg City/Highway with automatic. However, the manual avoids the $1300 gas guzzler tax, dont ask us why.

Nice changes for 2016 include a revised front fascia with vertical ducts at the outer edges, LED front running lights, hood vents, alloy wheels with painted pockets, and standard navigation.


2014 Chevrolet SS

Fans of rear-wheel-drive compact sportscars will no doubt salivate over the all-new Chevrolet SS performance sedan, unveiled at the Daytona International Speedway as the pace car for the NASCAR season opener.

The four-door powerhouse is significant, because, as GM North America President Mark Reuss (and founder of Chevrolet's performance division) points out, it's been 17 years since the brand has built anything like it, despite the fact that sporty rear-wheel-drive vehicles were key in shaping Chevrolet's brand identity in earlier years.

Under the hood is Chevrolet's 6.2-liter V8 engine, the same one used in the outgoing Corvette. In the Chevrolet SS, it's expected to crank out 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. Estimates put the 0-60 mph time at about five seconds. Purists will bemoan the lack of a manual transmission. A 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters will be the only option.

An aluminum hood, rear deck lid and engine block help to keep the car light. A MacPherson suspension up front and a multi-link setup in back aim to keep the Chevrolet SS firmly planted. Chevrolet claims a near 50/50 weight distribution, a claim all-too-often reserved for luxury sportscars like BMW. The Chevrolet SS will ride on 19-inch alloy wheels with Bridgestone summer tires and big Brembo brakes.

The Chevrolet SS will be built in Australia on GM's global Zeta platform, and is largely based on the Holden Commodore, which is built in the same assembly plant for the Australian market.

Size-wise, the Chevrolet SS is 195.5 inches long and 74.7 inches wide, slightly larger than the Malibu, and shorter (but wider) than current-generation Impala, the latter of which was the last model to feature a variant with an SS badge.

Front legroom in the new SS sedan is about on par with these models at 42 inches, while the SS slightly bests both the Malibu and the Impala in rear legroom at an ample 39 inches.

Standard features will include leather upholstery with an eight-way power driver's seat, air conditioning, color display screen, color head-up display, 9-speaker Bose audio system, rearview camera and GM's MyLink infotainment system. Several electronic safety features also come standard, including lane departure warning, blind spot detection, forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert and an automatic parking assist system.

The 2014 Chevrolet SS goes on sale fourth quarter of 2013, according to Chevrolet. The 2014 Chevrolet SS will retail for $44,470, including $995 destination, Chevrolet said, and the only options will be a power sunroof ($900) and a full-size spare tire ($500).


 

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