CHICAGO - With next year's revival of the Impala SS nameplate, Chevrolet returns to the high-performance sedan market it abandoned when it killed the previous Impala SS in 1996.
In an interview at a 2003 model year truck introduction for dealers, John Middlebrook, General Motors vice president for vehicle brand marketing and corporate advertising, said the Impala SS would be back in the Chevrolet lineup by the middle of 2003. The car will have a supercharged 3.8-liter V-6 engine, he said. No horsepower figures are available, but the same engine in the Buick Regal and Pontiac Bonneville is rated at 240 hp.
Chevrolet spokesman Dan Hubbard confirmed the return of the Impala SS but would not disclose any details. The car will be a 2004 model.
Unlike the previous Impala SS, the new version, a variant of the current Impala sedan, will have front-wheel-drive. GM this month said it would boost production of the Impala and its sister car, the Monte Carlo coupe, by 100,000 units for the 2003 model year, 80,000 of which would be Impalas.
GM would not estimate the expected volume of the new Impala SS. Fans of the old car liked it for its rear-wheel drive and Corvette-derived 5.7-liter V-8 engine. For Chevrolet performance enthusiasts, the Impala SS will plug a hole in the lineup left by the discontinued Camaro. It also may give Chevrolet dealers a vehicle to fight the Mercury Marauder, a high-performance version of the Grand Marquis sedan set to go on sale this summer.