Vehicle Preview: 2014 Chevrolet SS

Perfect performance

Not all the excitement took place on the track at this year’s inaugural race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Opening weekend at the Daytona International Speedway also saw the introduction of the all-new 2014 Chevrolet SS sport sedan, which debuted alongside its striking racecar counterpart, and is available here at Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Worthington, Ohio. The new Chevrolet SS is the first high-performance rear-wheel drive sedan from Chevy since the 1996 Impala SS, and it’s also the new Chevy entry in the Sprint Cup Series. Packing the same awe-inspiring LS3 V8 as the 2013 Corvette, the road-going SS boasts the power performance enthusiasts crave while serving as a showcase of contemporary design, luxurious accommodation and innovative technology.

The performance pedigree of the new 2014 Chevrolet SS (MSRP $43,475) is well established. In fact, the NASCAR and street-car versions of the SS share the same V8/rear-drive layout – the sole pairing to do so. The street-going versions of the Ford Taurus and Toyota Camry (the other competitors in the Sprint Cup Series) offer four- and six-cylinder engines only, and neither of those cars features full-time rear-wheel drive. Performance is just one component of the equation, however. With the SS, Chevrolet has designed a halo car so complete that when it appears in showrooms later this fall only two options will be available – a power sunroof and a full-size spare tire.

The term “SS” stands for “Super Sport,” a designation originally applied to a purpose-built Corvette race car, then adopted as the name for a high-performance package that was first available for the 1961 Impala and later for the Camaro, Monte Carlo and others. SS models have consistently delivered sharper handling, stronger brakes, enhanced styling, special badging and, of course, substantial power. According to Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, “Comfort, convenience, spaciousness and V8 power make the SS a total performance package unlike any other on the road today.”

The heart of the new SS, the aforementioned 6.2-liter all-aluminum V8, is good for 415 hp and 415 lb/ft of torque. Power pumps through a six-speed automatic transmission complete with TAPshift paddles mounted on the steering wheel. Thanks to an aggressive 3.27 final-drive ratio, the SS is expected to cover the sprint from zero-to 60 mph in about 5.0 seconds – on par with the $65,000 BMW 550i.

David Leone, executive chief engineer for GM global programs, explained that the goal in designing the new SS was to “create a car that delivers incredible grip and handling balance while cornering, while still being comfortable.” To that end, the SS incorporates a fully independent suspension with stabilizer bars front and rear, electronic variable-assist power steering and staggered, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped in ultra-high-performance Bridgestone tires.

Another key to the car’s handling prowess is the use of lightweight aluminum for the hood and rear deck lid, which helps to deliver a near perfect 50/50 weight balance front-to-rear. The result is lateral acceleration that reached 0.9 g on the skid pad. By comparison, the Taurus SHO managed just 0.86 g in a test conducted by Car and Driver magazine.

A limited-slip rear differential provides even greater control at speed, as does StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control. Superior stopping power is assured thanks to track-proven Brembo front brakes that feature two-piece, four-piston aluminum calipers and huge 14-inch ventilated rotors.

Taking safety to new heights is a suite of driver-assistance technology led by Forward Collision Alert, a camera-based system that alerts the driver when a crash is imminent. The list also includes a Rear Vision Camera, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which employs radar sensors and issues visual and audible warnings when it detects oncoming traffic during backing maneuvers.

A first for any Chevrolet model, the SS also features Automatic Parking Assist. This system uses ultrasonic sensors to measure a parking space, then takes command of the steering to guide the car into the spot. All the driver needs to do is operate the throttle and brake pedals.

Sporting a hunkered stance, a “power bulge” hood, a wind-cheating wedge shape and bright dual-exhaust tips, the new SS exudes its promise of exhilaration at speed even when parked. Premium design cues such as jewel-like chrome accents, High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps and light-emitting diode (LED) daytime running lights add elegance to the athletic appearance.

Inside the SS delivers an extraordinary degree of sophistication, boasting leather trim, cross-stitched cut-and-sew materials, satin-gloss and bright-chrome finishes, ice-blue ambient lighting, eight-way power front seats and the “SS” emblem stitched onto the soft-touch instrument panel. You can also expect such highlights as a nine-speaker Bose stereo, a full-color head-up display, a seven-inch touch-screen and the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system – winner of the “Best of CES” award in the car category at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.

Chevrolet likes to call the all-new 2014 SS sedan “the perfect mix of refinement, performance and technology.” Come in and experience the sophisticated new Chevrolet SS when it arrives later this year.

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