|2014 Chevy SS Sport Sedan|
Chevrolet is returning to its performance roots with its upcoming SS, the brand's first rear-wheel-drive performance sedan since the mid-1990s Impala SS sedan - and a challenger to Chrysler/Fiat's Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 V-8 powered family sedan models.
General Motors says the SS will produce 415 horsepower from its 6.2 liter V-8 and have a six-speed automatic transmission only (no manual transmission will be offered - a strange decision for such a sporting car, IMHO). Chevy says 0 to 60 mph should happen in 5 seconds. 19 inch wheels, a full leather interior, and a full set of electronic safety nannies (traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, lane-departure warning, electronic brake force distribution) are standard equipment.
The four-door SS was introduced today at Daytona International Speedway in Florida, where the NASCAR race car version will make its track debut during the Daytona 500 on Feb. 24.
GM wants to enhance Chevy's performance credibility by adding the SS sedan to a lineup that already includes the Camaro and Corvette.
It should please rear-wheel drive enthusiasts who lamented the loss of the Pontiac G8, another Holden Commodore based sedan on the same platform that garnered solid sales and critical praise from the automotive press before GM killed off the Pontiac brand altogether in 2010.
GM isn't counting on big sales volumes from the SS, which will be imported from Holden in Australia. Consumer demand for big rear wheel drive cars -- luxury or mainstream -- has been declining for years in America, but Chrysler currently has the market all to itself and is realizing substantial profits from its Charger and 300 model line-up.
GM expects the vast majority of Chevy customers who want a large family sedan to choose the new generation front-wheel-drive Impala (based on the current Buick Lacrosse's platform, which is also used by Cadillac for their XTS luxury sedan), which has been completely redesigned for the 2014 model year and will be in American Chevy dealerships in a few months.
The SS moniker comes from the label that designated many high-performance Chevys over the years, starting with a 1957 Corvette prototype race car, and was applied to numerous performance-oriented Chevrolets in the 1960s and 1970s.
Chevy will compete with the Charger SRT8, Chrysler 300 SRT, and the Ford Taurus SHO in the small market for domestic performance sedans. The Charger and 300 both use a 6.4-liter V-8 to produce 470 hp and 470 pounds-feet of torque - the Taurus SHO has a 350 horsepower twin-turbocharged V-6 with an all-wheel drive powertrain.
The SS shares its rear wheel drive platform with the Chevy Camaro, Holden's brand new Commodore, and the Chevy Caprice PPV (which GM imports for sale to U.S. law-enforcement and municipal fleets). Buick also sells a luxury version of the Commodore in China as the Buick Park Avenue.
GM sold more than 23,000 Pontiac G8 sedans in 2009 and said SS sales should be approximately 10,000 next year. Auto industry analysts say that GM's break-even point on the Chevy SS is about 8000 units per year in North America. Prices are expected to be in the $40,000 to $45,000 range when the SS appears at Chevrolet dealers later this year.
|2014 Chevy SS rear-quarter|
|2014 Chevy SS interior|