STOCK CAR RACER FOR THE STREET
The return of the Chevrolet SS
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Thu, May 1, 2014
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Roy Nakano
The opening scene in “Drive” has Ryan Gosling playing a Hollywood stunt performer and driving a late model front-wheel drive Impala. We’re led to believe it’s a stealth getaway car with extraordinary performance. It’s a hard sell. Gosling should have had this car: The Chevrolet SS. The new SS is the closest thing to a NASCAR racer that Chevy has ever produced for the street.
The SS packs a 6.2-liter, 415 horsepower LS3 Corvette V8. Delivering the power to the pavement is a rear-wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension Australian Holden VF Commodore chassis. And when you push the ignition button, you can hear the deep throaty burble of the high performance engine. Slide the 6-speed automatic into Sport mode, and you can continue to hear that baritone music as you toggle the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. If you happen to be negotiating a turn while shifting, you can toggle the shifter on the console for the same sequential operation.
Speaking of turns, the SS owns the twisties like no other American sedan of this size. If one didn’t know better, it’s easy to think the SS is a track car. It’s that good and responsive on the turns. It’s so responsive, in fact, that some drivers will want a bit more lateral support. It’s not an unfair criticism, but only if you plan on taking some hard turns on the streets.
That leaves only one other criticism of the SS, and it’s the one that makes this such a great getaway car for Ryan Gosling: It’s a bit too stealthy looking. Some may even say non-descript. If you’re not paying attention, one can mistaken the SS for a bread-and-butter Malibu or Impala. It’s just doesn’t say, “hey, look at me!”
If you look carefully, however, there are tell-tale signs that this is no ordinary car: There’s the four-inch diameter exhaust pipes, the 19-inch wheels with the ultra low-profile and ultra-wide 245/40ZR19 and 275/35ZR19 summer tires, the hunkered down stance, the front fender exhaust accent—and the front end that looks virtually identical to Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Daytona 500 winner. And while the SS looks stealthy, it’s by no means unattractive. It’s understatedly handsome in the way that the mid-1960s Impalas and Chevelles were. This car harkens back to that era like no other Chevrolet sedan in recent memory.
$43,475 (plus $1,300 for the EPA Gas Guzzler Tax) might seem expensive for a Chevy (of course, you can pay much more for a Corvette or certain Camaros). However, this is a near full-size sedan with all the amenities, including a great-looking interior with a minimum of plastics, full navigation, heated and ventilated eight-way power seats for the driver and front passenger, a Bose audio system with Bluetooth streaming, proximity smart key operation, and sonar all around (including a side blind spot alert system and rear-view camera). The only option on this car is a sunroof.
Then there’s the performance. This big bruiser rips through the quarter mile from a standing start in 13 seconds flat. It’ll go from zero to 60 mph in four-and-a-half seconds. A few moons ago, I owned the second-quickest accelerating American car on the road. This SS will leave that car in the dust. And as previously mentioned, the performance envelope is not limited to a straight line. All this comes from a sedan that comfortably seats five adults.
Fast forward 15 years into the future, and Hollywood is doing a remake of “Drive”. It’s the opening scene, and the stunt performer moonlights as a getaway driver with a 2014 Chevrolet SS. As legend has it, that car was an Australian Holden VF Commodore with a Corvette motor and a track-ready suspension. It’s a more believable getaway car than the one in the original movie. This time, Ryan Gosling plays the middle-aged mechanic—and he wishes they had this SS for the original movie.
Dale Earnhardt Jr’s NASCAR race car is now available at your local Chevy dealer.
For more information about Chevrolet products, go to chevrolet.com
Name of vehicle: 2014 Chevrolet SS
$44,375 (as tested)
Add $1,300 for the EPA Gas Guzzler Tax
EPA mileage estimates (city/highway):
14/21 miles per gallon
6.2 liter Corvette LS3 OHV 16-valve V8
415 at 5900 rpm
415 pound-feet at 4600 rpm
Six speed automatic with sequential shifting manual mode and paddle shifters
Front: Independent modified MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar
Rear: Independent multi-link with stabilizer bar
Wheels and tires:
19 X 9-inch polished alloy whets and 275/35R Z-rated summer tires
4-wheel disc with anti-lock braking system and stability control and front Brembo calipers
Dimensions Overall length: 195.5 inches Overall width: 74.7 inches Overall height: 57.9 inches Curb weight (lbs.): 3975 pounds Performance (published) Zero to 60 mph: 4.6 seconds Quarter mile: 13.0 seconds at 109 mph 60 to zero mph (braking): 105 feet A HISTORY OF SUPER SPORTS