The 2014 Chevrolet SS was introduced to the press today, to mixed reaction. With the same LS3 V-8 (with automatic transmission only), the car in our opinion is no more than a slightly improved Pontiac G8 (2008-2009). The suspension specs are all but identical (same front Brembos, and rear standard 1-piston), differing only slightly in tuning. And the latest generation GM V-8, the LT1, is nowhere to be seen. What’s perplexing is that the Gen V engine, with direct injection, was announced by Holden in April 2010 for this car… our question is – what happened?
Convenience improvements include a navigation system, which the G8 was criticized for lacking, and numerous (and likely intrusive) safety features abound.
And, just as we didn’t like the grill on the Holden Commodore Calais, we believe the front end of this car looks even more feminine here. Nor are we fans of the golden bowtie, which seems to get bigger and bigger with every iteration.
What do we like? The seats look supportive, although wide. The Alcantara on the seats, dash, steering wheel looks great. And the steering wheel is appropriately fat and grippy. And the basic chassis (albeit all but unchanged) retains the 50%/50% fr/rr weight balance that makes this car (along with the stablemate Camaro) work very well.
In our opinion, the Pontiac G8, especially in GXP trim, is now even more collectible than it already is.
Chevrolet Press Release and images follow:
2014 Chevrolet SS: Performance Sedan with Racing DNA
DAYTONA, Fla. – As Chevrolet’s first V-8, rear-wheel-drive performance sedan since 1996, the new Chevrolet SS is designed to deliver performance on the street and on the track. The 2014 Chevrolet SS will debut this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway as the SS racecar makes its NASCAR debut during the Daytona 500.
“The Chevrolet brand was largely built on the strength of rear-drive performance sedans, yet it’s been 17 years since we’ve offered one,” said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America. “The all-new Chevrolet SS fills that void and fills it better than any other vehicle in the brand’s rich history. The comfort, convenience, spaciousness and V-8 power make the SS a total performance package unlike any other on the road today.”
The Chevrolet SS benefits from the proven, race-tested, global rear-wheel drive architecture that is the foundation for the Camaro, Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle and Holden’s VF Commodore.
The Chevrolet SS is powered by the LS3 Chevrolet V-8, expected to deliver 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. Also used in the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette, the LS3 displaces 6.2 liters, more than the 5.5-liter V-8 powering the Chevrolet SS NASCAR competitors.
The LS3 is married to a six-speed automatic transmission, which can be shifted manually using TAPshift paddles mounted on the steering wheel. With an aggressive 3.27 final-drive ratio, the Chevrolet SS accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about five seconds – making it one of the quickest sedans on the market.
To ensure that it turns and stops as well as it accelerates; the Chevrolet SS also features a sport-tuned chassis, including:
- MacPherson strut front and multilink independent rear suspension geometry
- Electronic power steering system, optimized for sport driving
- Standard Brembo brakes, with ventilated, 355-mm rotors and two-piece, four-piston front calipers
- Forged aluminum wheels, wrapped in ultra-high-performance Bridgestone tires: 19 x 8.5 inch wheels with 245/40ZR19 tires in front; 19 x 9.0 inch wheels with 275/35ZR19 tires rear
Handling is also improved by a near 50/50 weight distribution, and a low center of gravity – made possible in part by the aluminum hood and rear deck lid that are 30 percent lighter than traditional steel panels.
“Our goal was to create a car that delivers incredible grip and handling balance while cornering, while still being comfortable to drive on the road,” said David Leone, executive chief engineer GM global programs. “The perfect weight balance and lower center of gravity were a big part of that goal because it enabled the team to tune for a more comfortable highway ride without sacrificing handling or driver confidence while cornering at the limits.”
Similarly, the design of the SS blends performance cues and premium details.
“From every angle, the Chevrolet SS says power and performance,” said John Cafaro design director Chevrolet passenger cars and small crossovers. “The combination of an aggressive rear-wheel drive stance and body-side attitude with the right balance of detail and refinement inside and out are the perfect home for Chevrolet’s V-8 performance package.”
The staggered front and rear wheels, which are pushed out to the corners, enhance the sporting, muscular stance of the SS. Up front, the aluminum hood features a subtle “power bulge” hinting at the power of the engine underneath. At the rear, the tapered, tear-drop shape contributes to improved aerodynamic performance. Premium cues include jewel-like chrome accents, standard high-intensity discharge headlamps and light-emitting diode daytime running lights.
The spacious interior of the SS will comfortably accommodate five adults, with 42 inches of front legroom, and 39 inches of rear legroom. Leather seating surfaces are standard, as are eight-way power adjustable front bucket seats with additional side bolstering that hug the driver and front passenger in tight-handling situations. The SS emblem is prominently stitched onto the soft-touch instrument panel which features two types of chrome finishes – a satin gloss and a bright chrome. At night, the interior is illuminated by ice blue ambient lighting.
An integrated center stack includes infotainment, climate and other vehicle controls. The Chevrolet SS also offers a long list of technology features as standard equipment including:
- Color, in-dashboard touch screen that supports Chevrolet MyLink and the next-generation navigation system
- Bose® Nine-speaker premium sound system
- Color heads-up display
- Push-button start
- StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control
- Forward Collision Alert
- Lane Departure Warning
- Side Blind Zone Alert
- Rear-vision camera Rear Cross Traffic Alert
The SS is also the first Chevrolet to offer Automatic Parking Assist, which provides hands-free parking help. This efficient ‘hands-free’ parking assistant uses the ultrasonic sensing system to detect the width and depth of either parallel or reverse right-angle parking spaces. While the driver controls the throttle, transmission, and brake, the Automatic Parking Assist controls the steering inputs necessary to neatly park the Chevrolet SS.
The 2014 Chevrolet SS will be available in the fourth quarter of 2013, with prices set closer to the on-sale date. When it arrives in showrooms, the SS will join the Corvette and Camaro, whose combined sales have made Chevrolet America’s favorite performance brand for the last two years.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at http://www.chevrolet.com/.
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The 2013 Holden VF Commodore was unveiled for the first time today in Australia (one day ahead of us on their Sunday afternoon) to an audience of automotive press and Holden workers, as well as to 185 worldwide viewers watching live on YouTube (a worryingly small number).
Technical specs were not revealed yet, but will be part of the production launch in a couple of months. The heavily revised rear-wheel drive Commodore is vital to Holden as it tries again to make a sustaining business case for an “orphan” car – that is, the only use of this particular chassis in the world (not counting the older version of it used under the current Camaro – but not the next). It’s a difficult financial case, but with help from the Australian Government Holden will benefit the Australian economy to the tune of $2B AUS to put the car into production and run the production line over the next few years. And the launch of the rebadged Commodore as the Chevy SS in the United States later this year as well as sales to existing markets in the middle East will hopefully be enough to keep the car in production – and Australian workers employed.
Watch the replay of the announcement here:
Mike Devereux, Chairman and Managing Director of Holden (clearly not from Oz himself, as his pronunciation of “aluminum” revealed), launched the car in front of an enormous slideshow. The interior of the car (featuring perforated leather French-seamed seats) was shown as the light blue Commodore was rolled out, but almost no details were released other than the use of aluminum for the hood and trunk (bonnet and boot).
The Commodore apparently uses a version of the Cadillac Cue system, to be known locally as “Mylink”.
We see a little of bit of Infiniti in the large creases running down the length of the hood. And the grill is, almost, feminine in a way. It will be hard to imagine this new body being used in a performance version, as the current Commodore offers in the very masculine “Z Series”.
And some influences from BMW in the side windows and trunk lid. And perhaps a little from Jaguar in the vent behind the front wheels. The Commodore has clearly moved upscale.
The platform used by the Commodore was designed from the start to meet U.S. crash standards, which is not the case with the Ford Falcon. This allows GM to export it to several markets worldwide. The Commodore is currently sold in several foreign markets, including the Middle East in long wheelbase form as the Chevrolet Caprice, in stripped-down and prepped form in the United States as the Chevrolet Caprice police car (not available to civilians), and in Europe in performance variants via special order as the Holden Commodore. It was also formerly sold in the United States as the Pontiac G8, cancelled when GM declared bankruptcy and eliminated the Pontiac brand.
An updated Ford Falcon has also been announced, although only the briefest (and fuzziest) picture of the front has been shown. The Falcon, however, is sold solely in Australia and has no chance of getting to the United States in any possible future. Ford has all but confirmed that it will be replaced with the next-generation Taurus platform, thankfully lighter and much more modern than the current Taurus. But things could change, or at least drag out on the current platform, and similar investments by the Australian Government will certainly be offered to keep Ford manufacturing and jobs in Australian.
GM today confirmed the return of the Holden Commodore to the United States. Last sold as the Pontiac G8, sales suffered because of Pontiac dealer training failures, lack of advertising, and the general decline of GM. The G8 was, as is the Holden Commodore, based on the technologically advanced “Zeta” platform which is also used underneath the Chevrolet Camaro.
This is great news for driving enthusiasts since the Holden is first and foremost a driver’s car. The Commodore is offered in Australia with a range of V-6 and V-8 engines along with modern engines and a dynamic suspension. And several variants are offered including the “Redline” series with a higher performance V-8, 6-speed manual, 19″ tires, and Brembo brakes. We saw several of these on our last trip to Australia and were very impressed. It’s not known if those will come to the U.S.
The existence of the Chevrolet SS sedan has been one of the worst kept secrets in GM over the past few months. The use of the Commodore body for NASCAR had been all but confirmed, and that alone confirmed the importation of the Commodore as the SS. A press image of the disguised SS testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway would have confirmed the SS if Chevrolet hadn’t finally confirmed it in the press announcement today.
Open questions remain… apparently both six-speed and manual transmissions will be offered, but on which V-8s? The current 6- and 6.2-liter engines, or the upcoming 5.5 liter? Furthermore, it is understood that the Camaro will move off the Zeta platform in the 2016 timeframe to the new Alpha platform (used in the Cadillac ATS). The Alpha is a more modern platform, with a particular emphasis on weight reduction (much needed by the porky Camaro). Will Holden then continue to build the Commodore on the Zeta platform, or will that be replaced by the Alpha? The implication in the wording below is that the SS Sedan would move to the Alpha platform along with the Camaro if sales are as expected.
Now that the news is out, it will be interesting to see what Ford has to offer along these lines… the Australian Falcon as it currently exists cannot be Federalized… but an opportunity is coming up for it and the new Mustang to share a chassis in the 2015-2016 timeframe. Will Ford step up to the plate and play?
And in 2013 when the Australian V-8 Supercars series comes to the United States, and fans at the new Circuit of the Americas racetrack outside of Austin Texas are watching the SS-labeled Commodores battle the Falcons, and where Chevrolet will undoubtedly show the production SS, what will Ford have to say?
GM Press Release follows:
Chevrolet Announces New SS Performance Sedan
Will compete in 2013 NASCAR and arrive in showrooms as 2014 model
DETROIT – Chevrolet today announced the return of a V-8 powered, rear-wheel-drive performance sedan to the U.S. lineup, the Chevrolet SS. The SS will also be Chevrolet’s next NASCAR Sprint Cup racecar and will debut in its race configuration at the 2013 Daytona 500.
The limited production version of the Chevrolet SS will be a 2014 model and will arrive in dealer showrooms in late 2013. It is the first time in 17 years that Chevrolet will offer a rear-wheel-drive sedan for sale in the United States.
Chevrolet has a long history of using the SS (Super Sport) designation on high-performance models of some of its most enduring nameplates. The SS designation first appeared in 1957 on a Corvette prototype race car built under the guidance of Zora Arkus-Duntov with the plan to enter it in the Le Mans 24-hour race.
The first production vehicle offered with an SS option was the 1961 Impala – 453 were built with the performance upgrades which included a modified chassis and suspension, power brakes, a steering column mounted tachometer and unique wheels and tires. The latest SS model in the Chevrolet lineup is the fifth-generation Camaro, which debuted in 2010.
The Chevrolet SS will be a derivative of the award-winning global rear-wheel-drive architecture that spawns performance vehicles like Chevrolet Camaro and Holden’s upcoming VF Commodore. The much anticipated Australian-built car will benefit from significant technology advances which enhance overall performance.
“As a passionate race fan and performance enthusiast, I am thrilled that Chevrolet will deliver a true rear-wheel-drive NASCAR racecar in the SS that is closely linked to the performance sedan that will be available for sale,” said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. “The Chevrolet SS is a great example of how GM is able to leverage its global product portfolio to deliver a unique performance experience that extends beyond the track. I am personally looking forward to driving it.”
Chevrolet was America’s best-selling performance car brand in 2011 with Camaro and Corvette accounting for one out of every three sports cars sold in the United States. The addition of the SS should strengthen Chevrolet’s position as a leading performance brand.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
Lots of rumors floating around the internet – and one leak – seem to indicate that Chevrolet will bring a version of the current Holden Commodore to the North American market in the model year 2014. We previously saw this same car as the Pontiac G8. GM Inside News has the latest thoughts.
A long wheelbase version of this same car is currently sold to police agencies in the United States. But the shorter wheelbase Commodore is sold in Australia and is exported to Middle Eastern markets under Chevrolet branding.
Styling may change slightly, but the mechanicals will apparently be current (leaving us to wonder where the new 5.5 liter direct-injected V-8 is in the production schedule).
There is an in interesting opportunity here… the Australian V8 Supercars race is coming to the United States in 2013, featuring the Holden Commodore and the Ford Falcon. Neither of these cars are sold in the United States… and if the rumor of the arrival of the Commodore here in 2014 is true, then Chevrolet has a unique marketing opportunity to show the car with Chevrolet badging. And a chance to one-up Ford… where the current and aging Falcon will continue as-is until 2016 under the current plan (and thanks to Australian Government subsidies). It uses a dated platform that was never designed to meet US crash standards – making its own arrival in North America impossible.
Kudos to Chevrolet if these rumors are true!