What Chevy says: "Performance is in Chevrolet's DNA with Camaro and Corvette, but a lot of people would like four doors and a back seat and a trunk," says Russ Clark, marketing director for Chevy performance cars. "This gives them that option. It helps round out our performance portfolio."
Shortcomings and compromises: Enthusiasts who prefer to row their gears will be disappointed in the lack of a manual transmission option. (The G8 had one on the top-end V-8 model.) The MyLink infotainment system is an older, clunkier version, not the slick updated one found in the 2014 Impala, Corvette and Silverado.
The market: The Charger and 300 SRT models pretty much own the market for nonluxury four-door rwd performance sedans. GM figures Chrysler sold around a combined 3,000 units last year. Chrysler won't say. Clark says that for the SS, 3,000 to 5,000 units is in the ballpark, but he says GM can import thousands more if demand warrants it.
Analysts' forecasts vary widely. IHS Automotive projects U.S. sales of around 10,000 units next year, rising to around 12,500 units in 2015. AutoPacific Inc. is less bullish, forecasting 3,900 next year and 4,200 in 2015.
The skinny: Chevy has plenty of sports car momentum with the launch of the 2014 Corvette Stingray and the pending rollout of the Camaro Z/28. The SS should add to the showroom buzz while making its performance lineup accessible to a wider range of prospective buyers.