First Look: 2014 Chevrolet SS

Devotees of grand, powerful, rear-wheel-drive sedans from domestic manufacturers will be thrilled with this weekend's announcement of the 2014 Chevrolet SS, a four-door of bruising potency and presumably enough interior roominess for the Baltimore Ravens offensive line.

The SS is being revealed to the press in a look-but-don't-drive event at Daytona International Speedway. The location is significant because Chevy will henceforth slap the SS name on its NASCAR entries, which had carried the Impala label.

Plugging a gaping hole in Chevy's lineup, the new car further amplifies the brand's sporting appeal just a month after the 2014 Corvette's debut. The SS is based on General Motors' global Zeta platform that is only a couple of years away from phase-out, so questions arise about the long-term course for this new program. Serious intent is expressed, though.

"The Chevrolet brand was largely built on the strength of rear-drive performance sedans, yet it's been seventeen years since we've offered one," said GM president Mark Reuss, a sheepish note evident even in this prepared statement.

"The all-new Chevrolet SS fills that void and fills it better than any other vehicle in the brand's rich history," the statement continued. "The comfort, convenience, spaciousness and V-8 power make the SS a total performance package unlike any other on the road today."

From Australia to the driveways of America

The SS is built in Australia alongside the bigger Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol and well-regarded Holden VF Commodore. Obviously, this portends somewhat limited availability after the SS reaches U.S. showrooms late this year. Nevertheless, it joins a niche that Chrysler has single-handedly expanded with its rear-wheel-drive Chrysler 300 as well as the Dodge Charger and Challenger. When all-wheel-drive variants are factored in, these nameplates combine to pull within sniffing distance of 200,000 units annually -- not bad for a type of car whose death was long ago foretold. With the departure of the Lincoln Town Car, Ford is now in the unusual position of odd man out, with no contemporary entry in this segment.

Chevy loyalists who have waited a generation for the new offering will be rewarded with a car that's as contemporary as stencil tattoos and stretched earlobes. (And no one is apologizing to those cranky old farts who have continually fomented for the return of archaic body-on-frame architecture.) The au courant aspect begins with appearance. Park the '14 SS beside the 1996 Impala SS, and you won't even know they come from the same planet. Early release photos depict the SS as trim and impeccable, whereas the old Impala SS was flabby and ungainly.

Related styling chops have been seen within the past decade, when GM offered Holden-derived, Aussie-built cars badged as the 2004 Pontiac GTO and the 2008 Pontiac G8. The lines of the SS are conventionally conservative, even somewhat mute. Whether this says "Chevy" to anyone is questionable, yet it's easy to foresee demand based solely on the application of today's Chevy grille along with the car's dimensions and standard equipment.

Pure American muscle with international-standard mechanicals

Chiefly notable here is the 6.2-liter V-8 engine. Familiar from the outgoing 2013 Vette, the LS3 powerplant is expected to deliver 415 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque, according to Chevy. Standard paddle shifters manually control the six-speed automatic transmission. A final drive ratio of 3.27:1 enables a 0-to-60 mph time of around five seconds, according to the company's estimate.

The aluminum engine helps the SS achieve weight distribution that's "near" 50/50. A low center of gravity and suspension by MacPherson struts up front and multiple links in the rear, with coil springs and stabilizer bars at both ends, add to the promise of greater agility in comparison to the Paleolithic Impala SS.

Large, ventilated Brembo brakes are gripped by four-piston calipers in front and floating single-piston ones in rear. The SS rides on 19-inch forged-alloy wheels that carry low-profile, sticky Bridgestone tires.

The wheelbase is 114.7 inches, and the SS is 74.7 inches wide and 195.5 inches long. Yet it's not particularly tall, measuring 57.9 inches high. The net result of these dimensions is a five-passenger interior providing front and rear legroom of 42 inches and 39 inches, which you expect from a big Chevy sedan.

Cushy trim is augmented by driving wizards

Standard amenities include leather upholstery, eight-way power seat adjustments, and a display screen for navigation and MyLink infotainment. A nine-speaker Bose stereo ought to overcome the rumbling V-8.

Yes, it's a driver's car, but the SS comes with a full complement of driver-assistance features, including Chevy's first parking assistant, potentially saving much embarrassment when you and a carload of passengers pull up at a tight spot.

The price will be announced close to the SS's on-sale date. Somewhere in the mid-thirties would be extraordinarily judicious.

On May 1, 1964, Chevy boss Bunkie Knudsen drove one of the first '65 Impala coupes equipped with the new 396-c.i. (6.5-liter) V-8 and an automatic transmission. "It sure is a nice combination," he wrote in his diary. How easy to anticipate even greater satisfaction from the new SS.

Powertrain
Engine:
6.2-liter OHV V-8
Power: 415 hp (est.) @ 5900 rpm
Torque: 415 lb-ft (est.) @ 4600 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel

Chassis
Steering:
Electrically assisted
Front suspension: MacPherson strut, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Rear suspension: Four-link independent, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Brakes: Four-wheel disc, ABS
Tires: P245/40R-19 front, P275/35R-19 rear Bridgestone

Measurements
L x W x H:
195.5 x 74.7 x 57.9 in
Wheelbase: 114.8 in
Track (F/R): 62.6/62.4 in
Weight: N/A
Cargo volume: N/A

Performance
0-60 mph:
5.0 seconds (est.)
Top Speed: N/A
EPA Mileage: N/A

Michael A Jones
Looks a lot like the Mercedes-Benz C Class in the front.
Daniel Tsirlin
Brian Kirkwood
George Sailor
Now if they can just do a Malibu SS without the 4-cylinder!!
Martin Meyer
Nice Chevy! I like it!
vellum0
No stick so it's another miss for GM.  GM and Chrysler need to wake up and offer a stick in this car and the Charger and 300.
Ashok Shete
nice car
Robert Bowers
just like the camaro, good mechanicals, ugly body. when will gm learn?
Reuben Day-Lopez
Same body lines of a G8 lol
Eric Zwart
It's Australian. They just took the Holden badges off and put on Chevy badges (GMs favorite thing to do)... It was designed, engineered and built in Australia. The only thing GM about it was the money spent to make it, which isn't a bad thing. The GTO and G8 were awesome cars because of that fact and the chassis used for the Camaro and CTS-V are Australian based as well. All tho for this "SS" they are not offering a Manual Option...
Geoff Ekenstam
doesn't look the least bit exciting...
Corey Rodgers
Looks like this could be a winner.Although the opinions expressed have been mixed,atleast Chevy has decided to fill a void that has been around for 17 years.
Scott Carmichael
just another rebadged Australian import that will be overpriced
Jason Pelton
i'm a car guy and i get excited about the v8 but aren't you tired of paying for gas? gas prices have gone up ~40-50 cents in the last few weeks and we get another v8 powered sedan. so frustrated.
Ben Walczak
When I saw the release photos of the Holden model, I wasnt exactly thrilled. But this looks much better! Id love to go check one out, as I test drove a few used G8 GT's, but Im sure dealers wont let anyone drive them of course! I see a lot of C63 AMG's sold at my work, hopefully GM levels up to that vehicle with this one. Yeah, I know you'll all say its still not a Mercedes, but a C-class doesnt exactly use Mercedes greatest materials either. I do remember the 90's era Impala SS's being a big hit, hopefully this car can bring those days back.
Marc Hamady
Ugly
David Barber
From Down Under no doubt!
Matthew Rodgers
Bring over the Ute and the Sportwagon too.
Scott Owen
no manual? booo!!!!!
Thomas Voelker
Is this a regression with lousy MPG?
RJ O'Connor
The G8 was a better looking car!
John Mundy
It's good looking, but no one's been waiting for this.
Bill Arseneau
On the exciting design meter, the 2014 Stingray is a 10 and this is a zero!
Butch Willis
Butch approved!
Thane Eisener
G8 was much better looking. The nose on the SS is ugly.
Bernie Sapitola
This must be based on the Holden Commodore.
Robert Rodriguez
This is a cheaper version of the Cadillac CTS
Anthony Rodriguez
This is stupid. It's just the Pontiac G8 again. A rebadged Holden they released and hyped up right before they killed Pontiac. It look outdated already!
Dammy Onafowokan
Understated, purposeful and muscular. I love it.
Jack Mehaff
yawn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! another ugly ass chevy
Richard Enstad
No body on frame = trash .
IVan Morgan
If they called this the impala ss the front drive car coming out should be called the caprice, although thats kind of backward since the police car version already came out and they call it the caprice. I'll take a caprice w/ out the lights and siren package. Its already understated in the styling department some ppl might sleep on it that aren't wise
Bill Veit
Interesting a Holden Commodore or a Pontiac G8 rebirth?
Mike Dunlap
*yaaaawn* yet they will still try to sell the cheaper-to-make FWD POS that is the majority of their fleet, push RWD buyers to caddy, call it a flop after a couple years, and kill it.
Michael Maron
It definately should have called it the Impala SS - It also looks a little understated for a performance auto - no black out trim - no spoiler? looks like a family sedan to me
Nathan Blew
I think they should've waited and used a newer or updated platform it. It looks cool, but it's kinda showing a little age already.
Matthew G Amack
GM should call it a Chevy Impala SS!!!!
Jason Ballantyne
Darn cops are gonna catch me now.
Jason Mosery
Will there be an SS SS?
Rudy Gonzalez
Chevy seem to ignore that a 4 door ss isn't really an SS in the eyes of the public.
Salvador Fonzarelli Ramirez
Oooh..now this I like..
Orin O'Neill
Except when it's a police car... in that case, it's a Caprice.
Jason Mosery
Yawn.
Matthew G Amack
About time G.M got there head out of their ass , and built a SS the four door Camaro, now if only Ford Motor Company would Keep Ford Falcon RWD & Export it , Ford Falcon is the Four door Mustang!!!
David Lapello
I was expecting more than an automatic transmission family sedan for a car called "SS"
IVan Morgan
This is a car to go up against the charger and for those who like the camaro but need more space. I hope its not on the same chassis as the pontiac g8/gto
Jay Skullangel Michael
Thats dumb. Another rebadged holden.
Alsson Mata
The new American muscle! Go Chevy
Justin Emerson
And its not such a looker; literally chevy badges where the Holden ones should be
Doug Maxwell
SS, they got a few vehicles with SS onthem...
Justin Emerson
No manual...

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