Our spy photographer didn’t have to wait that long after Chevrolet’s 2014 SS announcement to catch an early prototype out for some testing in Michigan. Ironically, engineers didn’t wait long after being photographed to turn around and hide the 2014 SS prototype shown here within the walls of the General Motors Proving Grounds.
A valiant effort on their part, but we still managed to gain a decent look at a performance-tuned variant of Holden’s upcoming VF Commodore – and, perhaps, one with Chevrolet sheet metal affixed to its exterior. Since the 2014 SS isn’t supposed to launch until late next year, it’s not surprising to see General Motors engineers have triple-wrapped this prototype in thick, dark camouflage, which only adds to the already mystery surrounding the 2014 SS.
As other VF Commodore spy shots have shown, this new car’s roofline and contour isn’t wildly different than the current VE Commodore, which was sold in our market as the Pontiac G8. A thick bra over the car’s nose and tail obscures most sheet metal revisions, as do temporary head- and taillamp units, which are designed to stand in until finished composite lamp assemblies can be readied for testing.
A number of cues, including the vertical fender vents, LED running lamps, and what appears to be a bulging, ventilated hood, echo those used on VE Commodore models modified by Holden’s HSV performance division. Is this just a Holden prototype performing a tour of duty in America? Perhaps, but the grille – which appears to boast several horizontal bar inserts – is more in keeping with Chevrolet standards than present HSV design DNA. Squint hard enough, and the grille opening almost resembles that of the Chevrolet SS NASCAR prototype, which General Motors officials claim “closely resembles” (but not mirrors) the production vehicle.
Determining exactly how much of this sheetmetal will actually be ported to the finished 2014 SS remains to be seen. Given that our only hints have been this test mule and a heavily camouflaged NASCAR prototype, and that early prototypes often share parts and components with several different parts bins, it’s hard to definitely say at this point in time. It does, however, suggest that development of Chevrolet’s VF Commodore may be paired with the hottest offerings Holden has under development – and that’s certainly good news for North American performance junkies.
At this point, exactly what lurks beneath that hood remains a mystery. Our photographer notes the beefy dual exhaust tips emitted quite a healthy V-8 growl, which is in keeping with Chevrolet’s promise that the 2014 SS would offer V-8 performance. There’s a good chance the new sedan could use General Motors’ all-new, fifth-generation small-block V-8, but some point to the Cadillac CTS-V that accompanied this SS prototype on its brief excursion as indication the two could share GM’s supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V-8. We’d wager the CTS-V was merely serving as a benchmark of sorts, and that the latest chapter of Chevrolet performance will use the latest chapter in the Chevrolet small-block V-8 saga.
Expect more details to emerge over the next 15 months: though General Motors calls the Chevrolet SS a 2014 model, it’s expected to be on-sale at Chevy dealers across North America by late 2013.