Chevy restores rwd roar with 415-hp V-8 SS sedan
After Daytona debut, sales scheduled to start by year end
DETROIT -- General Motors says the new 2014 Chevrolet SS -- the brand's first V-8 rear-wheel-drive sedan since the 1990s -- will produce 415 hp and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 5 seconds.
GM was scheduled to unveil the four-door SS last weekend at Daytona International Speedway, where the race car version will make its debut during the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24.
GM wants to burnish Chevy's performance cred by adding the SS to a lineup that already includes the Camaro and Corvette. It should please rwd enthusiasts who lamented the loss of the Pontiac G8, a sedan on the same platform that garnered solid sales and critical praise before Pontiac's demise in early 2010.
GM isn't counting on big volumes from the SS, which will be imported from GM Holden in Australia. GM expects the vast majority of Chevy customers who want a large sedan to choose the front-wheel-drive Impala, which has been redesigned for the 2014 model year and will hit showrooms this spring.
GM North America President Mark Reuss noted that the Chevy brand was "built on" rwd performance sedans, but such a car has been absent from the lineup for 17 years, when Chevy sold an Impala SS.
"The all-new Chevrolet SS fills that void and fills it better than any other vehicle in the brand's rich history," Reuss said in a statement.
The SS moniker comes from the label that designated many high-performance Chevys over the years, starting with a 1957 Corvette prototype race car.
Chevy will take on Chrysler Group and its Charger SRT and 300 SRT in the narrow market for nonluxury rwd performance sedans. The SS shares a platform with the Camaro, Holden's VF Commodore and the Chevy Caprice, which GM imports for sale to U.S. law-enforcement fleets.
Next year, U.S. sales of the SS should total 8,000 to 10,000 units, according to forecasts from AutoPacific Inc. and LMC Automotive.
LMC analyst Jeff Schuster noted that GM sold more than 23,000 G8s in 2009 and said SS sales could eclipse 10,000 next year.
The SS will be priced higher than the G8 was, Schuster said. GM says pricing will be announced closer to the launch date in the fourth quarter.
The SS will be powered by the same 6.2-liter small-block V-8 engine used in the 2013 Corvette. It will deliver 415 pounds-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission, with manual shifters mounted on the steering wheel.
The car has a low stance, sinking its center of gravity to enhance handling. The styling tapers toward the rear in a teardrop shape for better aerodynamics.
Inside, bucket front seats will come in standard leather and have extra bolstering to "hug the driver and front passenger in tight-handling situations," GM says. Safety technologies include forward collision alert and lane departure warning.
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