The SS is Chevrolet's long-awaited rear-wheel drive performance sedan. Built in Elizabeth, Australia, by General Motors' Holden division, it is essentially an Australia-only VF Commodore sporting a Bowtie emblem on the grille.
The SS rides on a modified version of the Zeta platform that also underpins the two-door Camaro. It stretches 195.6 inches long, 74.8 inches wide and 58.7 inches tall, making it roughly the same size as Cadillac's range-topping XTS.
To briskly move the SS' considerable mass, engineers dug around the Corvette parts bin and pulled out a LS3 6.2-liter V8 that makes 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft. of torque. It sends power to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.
A 3.27 final gear ratio helps the SS sprint from zero to 60 mph in a scant five seconds. Ventilated disc brakes manufactured by Brembo help ensure that the sedan stops as well as it goes.
Equipped with electric power steering, the SS is first and foremost a driver's car. It has a near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution, and the hood and trunk lid are both made out of aluminum in order to lower the center of gravity.
Looking the part
The SS wears an aggressive look thanks to high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, LED daytime running lights and staggered 19-inch alloy wheels. A bulging hood, sculpted body panels and a full body kit add a muscular touch and make the SS look fast even when it's not moving.
Out back, the SS is fitted with discreet trunk-mounted spoiler, black plastic trim on the bottom of the bumper and two chromed exhaust tips.
With ample room for up to five passengers, the SS' interior is better equipped than its performance-oriented drivetrain might suggest. Make no mistake: This is not a lightweight, no-frills race car.
Cleanly designed, the dashboard is finished with soft-touch materials, and two bucket seats with the SS logo stitched into the seat back come standard up front. Ice blue ambient lighting and two types of chrome trim add a premium touch to the appearance.
The instrument cluster consists of four analog gauges and 4.2-inch screen that provides navigation directions as well as vital information about what is going on under the hood.
The SS comes standard with Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system. Controlled by an eight-inch dash-mounted color touch, MyLink offers access to smartphone-based apps like Pandora radio and Stitcher radio. The system can connect up to 10 Bluetooth devices and store as many as 1,000 contacts.
Dashboard knobs and buttons mounted on the three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel gives users alternate options for controlling MyLink, and there is also a voice recognition system for hands-free calls, destination entering, song selection and more. Its "natural language" capability can recognize a staggering number of phrases - effectively eliminating the need for clunky and cumbersome memorized commands.
Standard equipment includes a Bose nine-speaker sound system, a color heads-up display and eight-way power adjustable seats up front.
The SS comes standard with ten airbags, including knee, side-impact and head curtain airbags. StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear-vision camera with Rear Cross Traffic Alert all come standard.
The SS is also the first Chevy to feature Automatic Parking Assist, which can steer the car into either a parallel or reverse right-angle parking spot without any input from the driver.
There are many large, V8-powered rear-wheel drive sedans on the market but most of them are more expensive or more luxury-oriented than the SS. The sedan's main rival is the 470-horsepower Dodge Charger SRT8.
The Ford Taurus SHO packs a similar concept in a less powerful, all-wheel drive package. The Hyundai Genesis is more of a luxury cruiser, but it is powered by a potent 5.0-liter V8 that is rated at 429 horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of twist.