After years of conjecture and rumor, a new, rear-wheel-drive performance sedan has finally been unveiled for the bowtie brand, and it’s called the 2014 Chevrolet SS.
The new sports sedan makes its debut today at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida, where it will be showcased alongside its racing cousin, the Chevy SS NASCAR Sprint Cup race car that will contend the upcoming Daytona 500.
As we predicted, the new SS shares its design with the SS V, the performance variant of the latest Holden Commodore range, developed fully in Australia but built for both the local market and export (the only visual differences are the exhaust tips, which on the Chevy comes with a single-pipe design on either side of the vehicle).
This means that the new Chevy SS is just an update of the previous Pontiac G8, but the changes are significant enough to almost warrant this a brand new car. We’re just happy Chevy is selling a rear-wheel-drive sedan in the U.S. for the first time in 17 years.
So, starting with the important details, we can confirm that the 2014 Chevy SS will be powered by the 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 engine found in the Camaro SS, a car with which it shares its Zeta platform. Peak output of the Chevy SS will be slightly lower, registering at 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque versus the Camaro SS’ 426 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.
The engine will spin the rear wheels only, via a six-speed automatic transmission that has paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel for manual control. Unfortunately, there’s been no mention of a proper manual option just yet.
Nevertheless, the auto ‘box offers an aggressive 3.27 final-drive ratio, which means the big sports sedan will be able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in about five seconds--making it one of the quickest four-doors on the market.
To match that acceleration, the Chevy SS also benefits from a sports-tuned chassis, including stiff suspension with MacPherson struts up front and a multilink, independent setup in the rear. The car also comes with electronic power steering, tuned for sporty handling, a near-ideal 50/50 weight distribution and lightweight aluminum used for the hood and rear deck lid to help shed the pounds.
The wheels measure 19 inches in diameter and are made from forged aluminum and wrapped with sticky Bridgestone tires measuring up to 275/35ZR19 at the rear. Housed within these are Brembo brake calipers biting ventilated discs measuring 14 inches in diameter.
Inside is where the biggest improvements over the old G8 can be found. The spacious interior of the SS will comfortably accommodate five adults, with 42 inches of front legroom, and 39 inches of rear legroom.
Leather seating surfaces are standard, as are eight-way power adjustable front bucket seats with additional side bolstering that hug the driver and front passenger in tight-handling situations. An integrated center stack includes the latest MyLink infotainment system as well as climate and other vehicle controls.
Technological goodies include a nine-speaker Bose sound system, a heads-up display, an electronic park brake and keyless entry and push-button engine start. There is also the latest in safety technology, including reverse traffic alert, a backup camera, blind spot and lane departure warning, and a forward collision alert system.
The SS is also the first Chevrolet to offer automatic parking assist, where steering in either parallel or reverse right-angle parking can be handled automatically, with the driver need only adjust the brake, and the throttle in some situations.
Sales of the 2014 Chevrolet SS will commence in the fourth quarter of the year. When it arrives in showrooms, the SS will join the Corvette and Camaro, whose combined sales have made Chevrolet America’s favorite performance brand for the last two years.