The car you see above is the 2014 Chevrolet SS, and it's important both because it is the first rear-wheel-drive performance sedan from Chevy in 17 years, and because it will be the nameplate the brand uses on NASCAR tracks all across the country starting this year.

Though it wears a name as American as baseball and apple pie, the machine was actually designed and built in Australia, sharing most of its parts with the brand-new VF-model Holden Commodore. That said, the basic chassis bits are shared with other Chevrolet models like the Camaro and Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle.

While Chevrolet is happy to sell a Malibu or Impala to anyone looking for a mainstream family sedan, but the SS is reserved for buyers interested first and foremost in performance. Most sedans sold these days are front-wheel drive, which is great for everyday driving and when the weather goes bad, but the SS is instead a rear-wheel-drive vehicle aimed at enthusiasts who love to drive and who prefer speed and performance above all else.

A 6.2-liter V8 engine making an impressive 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque sends all those ponies through a six-speed automatic transmission that can either be left in Drive or controlled using paddle shifters on either side of the steering wheel. It may not be quite as fast as a Corvette, but it's certainly no slouch: Chevrolet says the sedan will get from 0-to-60 miles per hour "in about five seconds."

Large Brembo brakes bring the SS down from speed, and the forged aluminum wheels are 19-inches all around. Optimum weight distribution and various aluminum bodywork allows for a low center of gravity, which should pay dividends in the car's ride and handling.

Inside, leather seating surfaces, eight-way power front seats and a dash made from premium soft-touch materials are standard for a cabin said to fit five adults comfortably with 42 inches of front legroom and 39 inches of rear legroom. We also expect a pretty sizable trunk.

Other high-end features found inside include a nine-speaker Bose sound system, a head-up display that projects important information on the windshield in front of the driver and safety tech like Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Zone alert. A marquee option will be Automatic Parking Assist that can parallel and right-angle park; this is the technology's first appearance on a Chevrolet.

Chevrolet has not yet indicated how much the 2014 SS sedan will cost, but it will be on sale before the end of the year. You can read more about the 2014 Chevrolet SS in the press release below.
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2014 Chevrolet SS: Performance Sedan with Racing DNA

DAYTONA, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m. EST – 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.

2014 CHEVROLET SS PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS

Overview
Model: Chevrolet SS
Body style / driveline: front-engine, rear-drive
Construction: unitized body structure and frame; two-sided galvanized steel (except roof)
EPA vehicle class: large
Manufacturing location: Elizabeth, Australia

Powertrain
Engine: 6.2L OHV V-8
Displacement (cu in / cc): 376 / 6162
Bore & stroke (in / mm): 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
Block material: cast aluminum w/ cast-in-place iron bore liners
Cylinder head material: aluminum
Valvetrain: overhead valve; two valves per cylinder; roller lifters
Ignition system: coil-near-plug ignition
Fuel: sequential fuel injection
Compression ratio: 10.7:1
Horsepower (hp/ kW @ rpm): 415 / 309 @ 5900
Torque (lb-ft / Nm @ rpm): 415 / 563 @ 4600
Fuel: premium recommended not required
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 6L80 6-speed automatic w/ TapShift

Chassis/Suspension
Front: multi-link MacPherson strut; direct-acting stabilizer bar; progressive-rate coil springs; fully adjustable camber, caster and toe
Rear: four-link independent; progressive-rate coil springs over shocks; stabilizer bar; fully adjustable camber and toe
Steering type: electric power

Brakes
Front
Type: ventilated disc
Rotor diameter x thickness (mm): 355 x 32
Caliper four-piston fixed
Rear
Type: ventilated disc
Rotor diameter x thickness (mm): 324 x 22
Caliper: single-piston sliding

Wheels/Tires
Wheel size and type: 19 x 8.5-inch forged, fully polished aluminum (front)
19 x 9-inch forged, fully polished aluminum (rear)
Tires: P245/40R19 (front)
P275/35R19 (rear)

Dimensions
Exterior
Wheelbase (in / mm): 114.8 / 2916
Overall length (in / mm): 195.5 / 5185
Overall width (in / mm): 74.7 / 1898
Overall height (in / mm): 57.9 / 1491
Track (in / mm): front: 62.6 / 1590
rear: 62.4 / 1612

Interior
front / rear
Seating capacity: 2 / 3
Legroom (in / mm): 42.3 / 1074 39.7 / 1008

*SAE certified.

Note: Information shown is current at time of publication.

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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 www.chevrolet.com.