Skip to main content

V8 engine and rear-wheel drive make the 2014 Chevrolet SS a 21st century muscle car

2014 Chevrolet SS with Air Force Thunderbird F16The car has gotten a lot more high tech since a true stock car last raced at Daytona International Speedway, but Chevrolet is betting there are still a few enthusiasts out there who live by the mantra “there’s no replacement for displacement.” The 2014 Chevrolet SS, unveiled at Daytona over the weekend, marks the brand’s return to old-school, rear-wheel drive V8 performance.

The SS picks up where the departed Pontiac G8 GXP left off, leveraging General Motors’ Australian Holden division’s Commodore sedan platform. The Chevy is almost identical to the Holden VF Commodore, and shares many bits with the Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle and Camaro.

Related Videos

Under the hood is a 6.2-liter LS3 V8, which produces 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. The only available transmission is a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Chevy says the SS will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in “about five seconds,” not bad for a full-size four-door.

The other important part of the SS equation is rear-wheel drive. It helps the chassis to cope with those 415 horses without apocalyptic torque steer, and allows for some sideways fun.

A MacPherson strut front and independent multilink rear suspension, along with Brembo brakes should also provide a sporty ride. Chevy says the SS has an ideal 50/50 weight distribution, and a low center of gravity, thanks in part to a lightweight aluminum hood and rear decklid.

Since the SS is a big sedan, there are also plenty of creature comforts. The cabin comes trimmed in leather, and Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system is standard. Other standard equipment includes a Bose nine-speaker audio system, a color head-up display, and a rearview camera.

The 2014 SS will also be the first Chevy to get Automatic Parking Assist. Like other automatic parking systems available from Ford, Toyota, etc., Chevy’s allows a driver to back in or parallel park without touching the wheel. The car picks the spot and does the steering, while the driver controls speed with the throttle and brakes.

2014 Chevrolet SS rear three quarterWith its big V8 and practical sedan body, the SS is essentially a modern muscle car. That’s why it wears one of Chevy’s most hallowed nameplates. SS, or Super Sport, was the name applied to the Bow Tie’s performance models back in the muscle car heyday.

Back then, buyers looking for such a car had more choices. Today, the SS’ only real rivals are the Chrysler 300 SRT8 and Dodge Charger SRT8 twins. Both come with 6.4-liter Hemi V8s, with 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque.

While the SS is handsome, it’s also not quite as good to look at as the more extroverted Dodge and Chrysler.

The SS will go on sale later this year, and Chevy will announce pricing closer to the on-sale date. Considering that it will be somewhat of a niche product (Chevy has the Impala for buyers who don’t have gasoline in their veins), it will probably be affordable but not cheap. A base 300 SRT8 Core starts at $44,900, while a Charger SRT8 Super Bee starts at $42,990.

Fuel-sipping turbocharged four-cylinders are great, but once in awhile it’s nice to indulge in some big-bore American performance. Chevy and Chrysler have got the idea, so maybe Ford will come up with something to complete the set.

Editors' Recommendations

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray does 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds

Official performance figures for the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray are in, and this seventh-generation ‘Vette doesn’t disappoint.
Chevy says the Stingray will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and complete the quarter mile in 12 seconds at 119 mph. It will also brake from 60 to 0 mph in 107 feet and pull 1.03 g on the skidpad.
The officials stats match Chevy’s original claim of a 0 to 60 mph time of under four seconds. We’re still waiting to hear what the Stingray’s top speed is, though.
The 2014 Corvette will outrun a 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera S, which does 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds with a manual transmission, and 3.9 seconds with a dual-clutch PDK automatic in Sport Plus mode.
The Corvette also significantly undercuts the 911 in price. The Carrera S coupe starts at $98,900, while the Stingray coupe starts at $51,995, over $30,000 less than even the base (non-S) 911 Carrera.
Helping the Corvette achieve this impressive performance is a 6.2-liter V8 with 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, or 460 hp and 465 lb-ft with the optional performance exhaust system.
Chevy also said a nearly stock Corvette Stingray with the Z51 performance package (which includes an electronic limited-slip differential, dry sump oiling system, and other goodies) was able to lap Virginia International Raceway’s 4.2-mile “Grand Course” in 2:51.78. The only modifications were a racing seat and fire extinguisher.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray goes on sale in the third quarter of this year. With so much performance available for a (relatively) low price, they’ll probably be leaving dealer lots in under four seconds.

Read more
Holden VF Commodore SS V previews Chevy’s SS muscle car
Holden VF Commodore SS V front three quarter

With all the excitement over the shockingly new 2014 Corvette Stingray, Chevy enthusiasts might have forgotten that the Bow Tie brand is working on another performance car. The 2014 Chevrolet SS will be a classic muscle car: big, rear-wheel drive, and sporting a V8 engine.
It won’t be unveiled until this weekend, but the VF Commodore SS V show car from General Motors’ Australian division, Holden, gives us a good idea of what the SS will look like.
The SS will essentially be a Commodore tuned for the American market. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. GM has tried to leverage its Australian division’s rear-wheel drive performance expertise twice, with mixed results.
In 2004, the Holdern Monaro coupe was rebadged as a Pontiac GTO. The Australian GTO was actually a good car; it had the same small block V8 as a Corvette under the hood. However, the styling was considered too generic, especially for a car wearing the legendary GTO badge, and being sold at the height of the retro craze to boot.
Round two came a few years later with the four-door Pontiac G8. Again, the G8’s bona fides seemed to be in order: it had a small block V8, and much more sophisticated suspension than the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. However, it showed up at the nearly the exact moment of GM’s bankruptcy. The G8 was axed in 2009 along with the entire Pontiac division.
The G8 lives on, sort of, as the Chevy Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle. While the Commodore SS V in these pictures is based on a redesigned chassis, its styling still has a lot in common with the G8 and Caprice.
If the Chevy SS ends up looking like this Holden, there might be a problem. Like the G8 and GTO, the Commodore looks handsome but generic, with some added jewelry for this performance model.
Of course, what’s really important is what’s under the hood. Holden won’t reveal any technical details until the Chevy version is unveiled this weekend at Daytona, Florida but it’s a safe bet that both cars will have big V8s.
If the SS becomes a hit, we’re hoping that Chevy builds a modern version of the El Camino, in the form of a rebadged Holden Ute SS pickup.
Will it be third-time-lucky for GM’s Australian muscle car? We’ll find out soon.

Read more
Chicago Auto Show: SRT Core models make American muscle a little more affordable

Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) performance division says it wants to make performance more affordable and less complicated, something any gearhead should approve of. To do that, SRT launched three new models, appropriately branded Core, at the Chicago Auto Show.
The 2013 Dodge Challenger Core, Chrysler 300 SRT Core, and Dodge Charger Super Bee basically pick up where last year’s Charger Super Bee and (discontinued) Challenger Yellow Jacket left off. They offer fewer amenities, but the same performance, as SRT models, all at a lower price.
The important bits remain untouched. All three models retain their 6.4-liter Hemi V8s. All three produce 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, and feature cylinder deactivation for improved fuel economy.
The Hemi is coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission in the Charger and 300. The same transmission is optional on the Challenger; drivers can shift their own gears with a standard-issue six-speed manual.
SRT says all three models will do 0 to 60 mph in the “four-second range,” with quarter mile times in the “high 12-second range.”
To keep costs down, SRT installed “Ballistic” and “Axel” cloth in place of the standard models’ leather interior trim. The 300 SRT8 Core does retain the posher version’s piano black and matte carbon trim.
Each also gets some unique visual cues, including blacked-out badging and exterior trim, special wheels, and extroverted paint colors like Plum Crazy Pearl (Challenger), Billet Silver Metallic (300), and TorRed (Charger).
The best part of the deal, though, is the Core models’ lower prices. The 300 SRT8 Core will start at $44,900, $5,000 less than a regular 300 SRT8. At $39,980, the Challenger SRT8 Core will be $5,780 less than a regular SRT8 392. The 2013 Charger Super Bee will start at $42,990, which is $4,000 less than a non-Super Bee.
While there are cheaper performance cars out there, it’s hard to argue with a $4,000 to $5,000 price reduction on a car with rear-wheel drive and a Hemi. American muscle cars are supposed to be simple and cheap, after all.
The SRT Core models will go on sale this summer.

Read more