Oh, V-8, it’s been too long. Not since the 1996 Impala has Chevrolet offered a rear-wheel-drive performance sedan. But that doesn’t mean Chevrolet has been sitting idle—no—the Chevy SS brings its racing DNA straight off the track. In its initial run, the newly debuted Chevrolet SS won in the Daytona 500 with Jimmie Johnson behind the wheel. And the showroom version is as close as you can get to its NASCAR cousin within the limits of the law. Or in other words, this is a race car you can actually drive on the street. No helmet required.
The Chevrolet SS is powered by the LS3 V-8, delivering 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. The LS3 displaces 6.2 liters (even more than its 5.5L NASCAR counterpart) and responds quickly and accurately to a six-speed automatic transmission, with TAPshift paddles mounted on the steering wheel for manual shifting. With a 0 to 60 mph time around five seconds, this is one of the quickest sedans on the market.
It’s also just as capable handling corners and reigning over four hundred horses to a halt. MacPherson strut front and multilink independent rear suspension geometry, electronic power steering, and large Brembo brakes, ventilated with 355-mm rotors. A near 50/50 weight distribution and low center of gravity allows for a comfortable highway ride and confident cornering alike.
Design cues, both bold and subtle, borrow from the aggressive rear-wheel-drive stance. Obvious cues like forged aluminum 19 inch wheels, with rear tires half an inch wider, meet the power bulge on the aluminum hood, stealthily hinting at the power inside.
As a full-size sedan, the SS offers versatility to match its performance. Additional side bolstering on the driver and passenger seats serve as something of a warning—this is a car that isn’t shy around corners. The interior is spacious, with 42 inches of legroom in the front and 39 inches in the back. Leather is standard, with the prominent SS emblem beautifully stitched into the seats and soft-touch instrument panel.
Like its brethren Chevrolets, the SS includes industry leading technology. It’s the first Chevrolet to offer Automatic Parking Assist, which provides hands-free parking help. While the driver controls the throttle, transmission, and brake, ultrasonic sensors provide the correct steering input in parallel or reverse right-angle parking scenarios. This is in addition to the color in-dash touch display, Bose nine-speaker sound system, push button start, Forward and blind spot collision alerts, and rear-vision camera.
Embracing the spirit of V-8 rear wheel drive sedans of the past, the SS brings Chevrolet back to its roots while racing forward. It goes on sale in fourth quarter 2013.