Edmunds 2014 Chevy SS Review

The Half-Price M5 Returns. As a Chevrolet.

The SS’s styling isn’t full of flourish but it is clean and mean.

Published: 12/19/2013 - by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

America, it seems, remains bent on ignoring some truly good stuff. Stuff like wagons, diesels and Parker Posey, not to mention big, fast sedans like the new 2014 Chevrolet Super Sport (SS).

This is, after all, the sort of car that built this country. Heck, it’s the car that built Chevrolet. So there’s some irony in the fact that the Chevrolet SS is from Australia, not to mention that it’s called the Holden VF Commodore in that country.

But there’s no irony in the fact that the Chevy SS is a for-real driver’s car and a genuine people hauler. After all, it’s a Pontiac G8 underneath the skin, which was a fun and respected machine. But you may already know that. What you don’t know is how it drives, how it rides and whether it’s worth the asking price. We’re here to tell you it does all of the above better than you might think.

Will Hold Its Own Against the BMW M5

The acceleration impresses, but the SS really shines on these types of roads.

With 48 percent of its mass on the rear axle, the SS has physics on its side when it comes to spreading out the load of hard driving. Also aiding that task are standard 19-inch Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires: 245/40 up front and 275/35 out back. Along with the balanced chassis, these meats aid the SS in a 0.92g circumnavigation of our skid pad, making it marginally less grippy than the wildly more costly 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport sedan.

The SS confidently slipped through our 600-foot slalom at 68.8 mph while exhibiting a level of control more often demonstrated by cars lighter than the SS’s 4,016 pounds. Also consider that both of these handling numbers are virtually identical to those of the last BMW M5 we tested.

Electrically assisted steering is used, but it hasn’t dulled this sedan’s responses compared to more traditional hydraulic setups. In fact, one of the SS’s biggest strengths is steering so well endowed with feedback that we’d confidently toss the big sedan into a powerslide with our mother-in-law in the passenger seat.

A Little Bit of Corvette Under the Hood

The LS3 makes it easy, even in higher gears.

GM’s proven LS3 V8 powers the 2014 Chevrolet SS. It was used in the last-generation Corvette and in this application it’s rated to produce 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. A standard 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission snaps off downshifts with aggressive rev matching actuated by wheel-mounted paddles. Power hits the ground through a clutch-type limited-slip differential, which also comes as standard equipment.

It’s no next gen LT1 but the use of the older engine became less of a downer after the SS ripped off a 13.2-second quarter-mile at 107.4 mph at our test track. In the process it hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds (4.7 seconds with a 1-foot rollout like at a drag strip). That’s a fast car, new V8 or not.

It has no trouble slowing down either. Four-piston Brembo calipers coupled with 14-inch front rotors combine to consistently haul the SS down from 60 mph in 110 feet with no fade.

All that and the engine still managed to match the EPA’s combined fuel economy rating of 17 mpg (14 city/21 highway) after 475 miles of driving.

A Firm Ride That You Will Like

Tuned for there, not here.

But it’s not the powertrain that validates the Chevy SS to enthusiasts and family haulers alike. Rather, it’s the chassis — MacPherson struts up front and a multilink arrangement in the rear — that deserves attention. Sure, these are essentially the same hard parts that have been around for the better part of the last decade in various Australian models that have been sold here before. But in this application they’ve been tuned specifically for hard-charging-sedan-loving Aussies.

Wait, what?

Sure, there might have been some development work done on the SS in the U.S., but this doesn’t feel like a sedan tuned for American roads. The SS feels like it’s built for shaking off pricey German hangers-on in one quick shot of back-road glory. From behind the wheel, where it matters, the SS is clearly dedicated to just that task.

There’s solidity to every response that was, for years, the sole domain of the Germans. Now, however, taut dampers and an unyielding structure are the realm of this performance sedan, a change that makes the SS’s ride a little busier than an equally capable German sedan.

Manson stands by the SS’s static suspension tuning, calling it a “solid compromise,” but he’s not shy in pointing out that GM’s Magnetic Selective ride control can be adapted to the SS. He says the car’s primary benchmark was the Dodge Charger SRT8, which comes with two-mode active dampers but even so lacks a compliant ride and can’t match the SS’s sophisticated feel or handling numbers.

The G8 That’s Not a G8

New look, same great taste.

If you remember the Pontiac G8 you’ll likely recognize the SS despite its different look and feel. The revisions are vast enough that Manson discounts comparisons to the former car sold in the U.S.

“People like to think because the SS shares hard parts with previous cars that it’s the same,” says Manson. “But so much is different. We’ve got an aluminum hood and trunk lid that save 22.1 pounds over the old Commodore, and we save another 27 pounds using high-grade steel in critical areas.”

The result of that latter change is a 5-6 percent gain in torsional rigidity. In non-engineering-speak, that means the chassis flexes less, which contributes to the more precise handling.

Spacious, High-Quality Interior

The SS’s interior is on a different level than the Pontiac G8. It’s easily competitive with cars priced in the upper-$40,000 range.

Possibly the most easily appreciated differences are inside the 2014 Chevrolet SS. The interior is an incredible leap forward. Leather-wrapped trim covers the dash and door panels. The heavily bolstered leather seats offer suede detailing, and a proprietary thick-rimmed steering wheel adds a sense of purpose. There’s an 8-inch touchscreen display for navigation, audio and other functions, plus two knobs to manage dual-zone climate control. Everything looks and feels great.

Possibly the only interior component of the G8 that remains was its biggest strength: ample rear-seat room. Whether you plan to haul full-size adults or install child seats you’ll find enough space to accommodate your needs. Rear access, thanks to wide door openings, doesn’t hurt, and neither does a massive 16.4-cubic-foot trunk.

Front collision and lane departure warning systems as well as Automatic Parking assist — which manages steering during parallel parking maneuvers — are standard equipment on the SS. Only two options are available: a $900 sunroof and a $500 full-size spare tire.

A Smoking Deal

Get it while it lasts.

In probably the least fortunate car-launch timing in history, GM announced — just as SS sedans rolled onto dealer lots this month — that it plans to close Holden’s Elizabeth, South Australia, plant that builds the Chevy SS in 2017.

Does this mean the end of the SS before it’s even had a chance to get started? We have no idea. After driving the 2014 Chevy SS we sure hope it finds a way to stick around. With a starting price of $44,470, the SS is a solid value among large performance sedans. Our test car fitted with both options, and including the $1,300 gas-guzzler tax, totaled $47,170.

That’s no small price for a Chevrolet sedan, but compare its capabilities to the competition and the value is clear. At that price, America’s wholesale rejection of good stuff (especially the V8-powered rear-drive sedan) looks even sillier.

It was all great until I got to the last couple paragraphs. I’m just not sure how big the market is for people looking spend almost 50k on a large sedan with a Chevy badge on the hood. At that price people are looking for a prestige brand as much as they are raw performance and “Chevy” just doesn’t run in the same social circles as BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Cadillac. That demographic doesn’t care that your 50k Chevy is X amount faster than their 50k BMW.

We’ll see what happens but my prediction is this won’t be a big seller for GM without a bunch of incentives to get it down to the mid to upper 30’s.

I would be interested in buying one of these but as JayS pointed out that is a bit more then most will expect price wise from a chevy. Did I miss it…this only comes in auto right?

What made the G8 so enticing was the price tag. I beleive sticker new was only about $35k. I dont see what theyve added to make this car so much more expensive.

No manual, no care.

And the M5 does the quarter in 11.9 seconds at 120.3 mph (per R&T) that’s a big difference.

So is $90k vs $47k. Not sure why they threw the M5 comparison in there honestly. It’s more like a budget 550i. Performance wise they’re a lot closer but the 550i starts at $63k.

I still say at $47k a lot of people will pick a 528i that starts at $49k and trade performance for status.

The market seems to be the “Murica!” guy who wants a Vette but can’t afford it as a 3rd car and has to settle on a Vette powered large sedan while saying, “I’d never drive one of them foreign jobs”. If so that’s a really small market they’re targeting.

I told people in the office about this and instantly the comments of, “chevy is not comparable to a BMW.”

These are guys that buy for luxury over everything. haha

I’m sure this will sell even at the higher price point.

All kinds of people pay 40k+ for loaded Silverados/F150s and never use it for a truck

I wonder what other sedans this actually compares to? 535i starts at 55k, A6 is around the same price, Q50 sport is 46ish.

Reign Supreme: SS meets SRT8 in a precipitous battle of modern-day muscle



Chevrolet laid its groundwork for the new Super Sport (SS) with a profile body for the 2013 NASCAR circuit. The racing Chevy SS and the racing Dodge Charger would have each been that rarest of things: a V-8 rear-drive Sprint Cup competitor modeled after a V-8 rear-drive production car. But the SS arrived just as Dodge quit the series, so fans were cheated.

Instead, the speedway rivalry that never was has simply moved out to the parking lot. The production SS squares off here, on a rainy weekend, against the Dodge Charger SRT8. The latter has strutted alone in Detroit’s arena of civilian rear-wheel-drive muscle sedans since 2009, when GM pulled Pontiac’s plug and with it the SS’s excellent predecessor, the G8. While both the Charger and SS are more sensible than their two-door siblings, the Challenger and the Camaro, these old-school tire smokers cement their relevance by not really giving a damn about it.

Still, Chevrolet wants you to know that its new halo sedan is the brand’s first rear-drive four-door V-8 in nearly 20 years. The SS is as American as can be for a Euro-inspired car built in Elizabeth, South Australia, which is absolutely nowhere near Sydney or any place with a working telephone. Known as the Holden Commodore SS in its home market, the Chevy SS is GM’s third attempt to domesticate one of its excellent Australian models—after the ill-fated Pontiac GTO coupe and G8 sedan.

The Commodore’s current VF chassis (so named for the Aussie fashion of giving each new version of a model its own two-letter code) has been updated from the VE structure that we loved in the G8, but it’s still the same bits that’s underneath the stubbier Chevrolet Camaro and the stretched Caprice PPV police cruiser. Additional aluminum in the suspension, subframes, hood, and trunklid helps the SS shed more than 100 pounds from the G8. The Aussies paid special attention to overall refinement and noise insulation, while a new electrical system supports all of the company’s latest safety and entertainment gear, including the feared switch to electric power steering.

A low-volume unicorn for the brand, the handful of SSs to be imported each year will all be pretty much fully equipped and ready to boogie for $45,770, including a $1300 gas-guzzler fee slapped on the sole engine—a 415-hp, 6.2-liter LS3 V-8. GM’s six-speed 6L80 automatic is sadly the only transmission offered. Although a power sunroof ($900) and a spare tire ($500) are optional, the sporty suspension, Brembo front brakes, and 19-inch wheels with performance tires are all standard.

The Charger SRT8 was last updated in 2012. It’s now a thoroughly modern muscle car, with a sinister mien, a 470-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, driver-adjustable adaptive suspension, and even larger Brembo brakes all around. The Charger also is automatic-only, with just an old five-speed unit until ZF’s ubiquitous eight-speed enters service.

Although budget Super Bee versions of the 2014 SRT start at $45,380 (including $1000 in guzzler tax), the regular SRT is $3000 more and closer to 50 grand when equipped like the Chevrolet. Our test car was a 2013 model mechanically identical to the 2014 SRT; it blossomed from its $47,475 base price to $55,150 with the 2013-only 392 Edition appearance package ($2495), as well as a Harman/Kardon audio system ($1995) and Laguna leather seats ($1495), plus summer performance rubber and a few electronic watchdogs and gizmos that are standard on the SS.

As chest-thumping totems for their respective makes, these cars are here to claim bragging rights. So, after the obligatory burnouts, we headed for the last vestiges of fall color in rain-soaked northern Michigan to see which car best re-imagines the great American performance sedan.

Second Place - Dodge Charger SRT8 392 HEMI


With roots in the DaimlerChrysler era, the Charger, like the Chevy, has global genes. (It’s imported, too, from an assembly plant in Ontario, Canada.) But as a proper Mopar, the SRT8 is simply bigger and badder looking than the Chevy ever will be.

The Charger’s extra-strength Hemi rumbles to life with authority and always feels ready to overwhelm the rear Goodyears with its 470 pound-feet of torque. Our best runs happened without the car’s launch-control software and required a careful throttle foot to optimize wheelspin. Get it right and 60 mph passes in 4.2 seconds, three ticks quicker than in the SS. A similar gap exists at the quarter-mile mark (12.6 seconds to 12.9), with the Charger reaching 114 mph to the Chevy’s 111. The momentum continues to a drag-limited 178 mph, long after the SS’s 160-mph governor kicks in.

While the SRT’s 0.90 g of grip on the skidpad can’t match the Chevrolet’s amazing 0.95-g effort, it did need one less foot to stop from 70 mph (in a short 152 feet). It almost tied the SS’s speed in our slalom test and returned the same 17-mpg average during our 700-mile road trip. Recognizing the importance of such figures to owners, Dodge includes a nifty performance meter in the Charger’s cluster, as well as cup-holder-like recesses in the underhood plastic for lengthy driveway debates about pushrods and engine-block paint.

The big Dodge looks the bruiser, too, particularly with our 392’s black accents and darkened 20-inch wheels. A numbered badge on the console lends some exclusivity, even though the black roof and rollers are available on all SRT-fettled Chargers. Combined with the beat of a large-displacement V-8, the SRT8 channels the old-timey vibe of the Pentastar’s Nixon-era classics.


But with 19 points separating it and the SS, along with higher base and as-tested prices, the Charger would need to actually transport us back to Woodward Avenue in its heyday to be considered the winner. At 4371 pounds, the Dodge is 440 pounds heavier than the Chevy and feels every ounce of it. Its dashboard is as wide as a Ram pickup’s, and the pinched windows and high cowl amplify the sense of corpulence.

An overly stiff suspension carries the bulk. Body roll is tolerable and the adjustable dampers give tight control with auto, sport, and track settings, but all the choices are excessively firm. The stiff legs unsettle the chassis over sections of road that didn’t faze the Chevrolet. Along with hydraulically assisted steering that’s somehow less communicative than the SS’s electric setup, the Charger is a blunt weapon that feels large and detached in rough use.

Despite the intuitive touch screen, heated-and-cooled cup holders, and adaptive cruise control, the Dodge’s inferiority creeps into its cabin like a haze of burnt rubber. Some of us preferred the support of the thickly bolstered SRT seats, but overall material quality, design and refinement fall well short of the overachieving Chevy’s.

The SRT’s loud-and-proud character is true to muscle-car tradition, and that’s sufficient for many in the Mopar choir. But the SS is simply the better car in every other measure.


Highs - A Hemi V-8, classic Mopar ’tude, user-friendly controls.

Lows - Brutal ride, brittle interior, feels massive, muted steering, can get expensive.

Verdict - A retro powerhouse proudly short on grace.

First Place - Chevrolet Super Sport


GM’s ex-executive car guy Bob Lutz said the Pontiac G8 was too good to waste and might return to the U.S. someday as a Chevrolet, and he did not lie. The SS is proof.

Largely inspired by the 1997–2003 E39 BMW 5-series, the SS’s Holden chassis is a monument to sports-sedan fundamentals. Whereas the Charger bucks about and struggles for grip on rough, twisty pavement, the Chevrolet’s nonadjustable, one-size-fits-all suspension keeps it compliant yet planted on sticky Bridgestones. The accelerator pedal can adjust the car’s cornering attitude as effectively as the precise steering, which progressively builds in feedback and effort despite some numbness on-center. With plenty of confidence, the SS’s lateral grip bests not only that from GM’s last Cadillac CTS-V, but the current Audi S6 and BMW M5 as well.

Much of the SS’s poise is due to good front-rear distribution of its 3931 pounds, barely 100 more than the latest front-drive Impala sedan with a V-6. The firm brakes feel more responsive managing the lower mass. The car also changes direction quickly and more assertively than Dodge’s freighter does.


Although the 6.2-liter small-block is down 55 horsepower to the big Hemi, the Chevy’s lighter weight and better traction make it easier to launch at the test track and just as quick as its rival out in the real world. The 12.9-second quarter-mile pass is a solid performance. A superior transmission helps to hurry things, with the six-speed shifting smoothly and never hunting for the proper ratio. The SS still deserves a true manual, but the 6L80’s “sport” setting wakes up the car without being annoying, and the wheel-mounted paddles click off rev-matched downshifts that the Charger’s smaller, slipperier spoke toggles can’t.

The Chevrolet is more pleasant to cruise in, too, with great seats all around and premium details. The SS doesn’t have the supercharged pull or the big price tag of the burly CTS-V, but it feels like the Caddy’s equal or better in refinement and overall quality. GM’s latest MyLink interface works well in the SS’s sensible layout, which no longer includes the odd, foreign-market quirks found in the old G8 and GTO.

While the LS3 gently rocks the car at idle and emits a rowdy snarl from its pipes, the SS lacks the Charger’s outright swagger on the street. It’s classier and more reserved in its athleticism, despite its purposeful stance. Having to correct the unacquainted that this is not a fancy Malibu is one of the SS driver’s very few irritants, along with the car’s limited availability. We expect that Chevy will import only a few thousand examples each year. After our time in both comparo cars, though, the SS’s 45 grand feels completely justified. Even a bargain for what you get.

The SS is a rare gem whose name underscores its well-deserved place in Chevy’s heritage. It may not be made in America, but the SS is perfectly at home here.


Highs - Excellent handling balance, refined interior, great looks, potent LS3 V-8.

Lows - Limited availability, could be mistaken for lesser Chevys, no manual offered.

Verdict - The gifted offspring of a BMW M5 and a Chevy Camaro SS.

Chevy builds the E39 M5 that BMW won’t



We’d barely left the parking spot before the Chevrolet SS had us saying, “That’s the stuff.” Push in the clutch, lift off the throttle for your first shift, and the 415-hp LS3 V-8 crackles through the tailpipes on the overrun.

Yes, we said clutch. The lack of a manual and the car’s limited availability were our top complaints about for 2014. Production volume is still low, but the Tremec six-speed manual (a no-cost option) further tailors this large, rear-drive sedan to the driver of serious intent. And choosing the manual avoids the gas-guzzler tax. While the stick comes with a 3.70:1 final drive versus the automatic’s 3.27:1 ratio, its 1-4 skip-shift function during light acceleration adds 1 mpg to the EPA city-mileage rating. Other goodies: Last year’s well-tuned suspension improves with standard Magnetic Ride Control, and rear brakes now come from Brembo, just like the fronts.

The SS arrives fully equipped at its $46,740 base price, but if you insist, Chevy will cut a $900 hole in the roof. We’d rather spend that money on an aftermarket solution to blot out the excess chrome.

Five new colors include the “Perfect Blue” on our test car and “Alchemy Purple,” suggesting that Chevy has its eye on the Dodge Charger’s palette of Candy Crush colors. In a head-to-head comparo [“Rain Supreme,” January 2014], we chose the balanced SS over the quicker Charger.


The onset of winter in November made it tough to warm up the summer Bridgestone Potenzas, but we saw strong track numbers. The run to 60 took only 4.6 seconds; the quarter-mile took 13.0. The automatic is a tenth of a second quicker in both measures because it’s easier to launch and lifting off the throttle isn’t necessary during shifts. That said, both the stick and the automatic clock 111 mph through the quarter.

Braking from 70 mph used 159 feet, an excellent performance, though six feet more than the SS we tested a year ago. But the pedal feels good, the brakes are easily modulated, and there was no fade. The skidpad result improved to 0.97 g (from 0.95), which is frankly stunning for a four-door.

This Holden-built Chevy is more than a muscle car; it’s a 21st-century sports sedan. Not as tossable as the Camaro, it nevertheless handles similarly. There’s plenty of power to kick the tail around and play NASCAR-racer-at-the-Glen, but, when you calm down, it’ll carry four adults in comfort.

It’s not perfect. Nonlinear clutch take-up annoys, and we found the electric-assist steering too light on-center. But on balance, the SS reminds us of the landmark E39 BMW M5 in ways that current BMWs don’t. We said the same about the Pontiac G8, and the SS is better for GM’s ongoing evolution of this platform. We know someone’s listening because there’s a manual now, which raises the question: When’s the Vette’s LT1 V-8 coming?

Highs: Manual makes it more fun, magnetic shocks do their usual magic, the LS3 V-8 still grunts.

Lows: Very limited availability, too many shiny bits.



Zero to 60 mph: 4.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 10.7 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 31.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 5.3 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 13.0 sec @ 111 mph
Top speed (gov ltd): 160 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 159 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.97 g
C/D observed: 15 mpg

TEST NOTES: Nicely balanced with predictable breakaway on the skidpad. It barks the rear tires on the 2-3 shift. Not too many sedans can do that.


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lol @ the E39 comment but it’s a fair statement. the new BMW M cars are very very technical and expensive. There is something to be said for 90% of the performance, 50% of the luxury, 40% of the price

I’d buy a slightly used BMW over a new bailout edition M5 personally. I think they are silly for acting/thinking like they can harvest anything from the M5 market.

I have never seen one of these in real life. I’m almost convinced that they don’t actually exist

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I’m impressed, the car looks slightly boring, but I love that they released a manual and I think those reviews really hit home for what many enthusiasts will be looking for.

46k msrp SEEMS a little steep, but all new car prices these days seem to be giving me sticker shock. Maybe used ones in the low 30s after a few years?

They’re out there, just not many of them.

So far, sales have been positive in lieu of being artificially low, reflected by General Motors’ importation targets of between 3,000 and 5,000 units annually. As of April 2014, Chevrolet has sold 1,148 SS models on the year, which is consistent with the automaker’s target.

You know how rare it is to see a Chevy Volt? Well in the same Jan-Apr 2014 time period GM sold 5154 Volts, or 4.5 times as many Volts.

I see Volts all over the place here in NC (Leafs too and a handful of Teslas), but I’ve definitely not seen an SS. Either that of the SS just doesn’t stand out enough to notice it…

I hate that GM is making this car, because I loathe GM. Now that this has had a couple of updates, (the 6 speed being one of them) it really plays to my interests though. I’m so conflicted. Alas, give this a couple of years and about 30K miles and it WILL fall apart spectacularly, just like all the other GM vehicles I have owned over the years…

Realistically that isn’t the case yes GM was shit in the late 80s and early 90s its not like that anymore.

The people who keep repeating shit like this are ones who owned a ragged out 90s cavalier and associate that with everything GM.

Lol. You jimmies. They rustled.

Anyway, don’t get me wrong, I like this car. I think I like the idea of it more than what I’m pretty sure the actual ownership experience will be. I could be very wrong, though and the M5 reference is a bit comical, you have to admit. It may give you close to the driving experience of the M5, but it will most likely not give you the OWNERSHIP experience. And yes, I have owned some of the older ragged out GM POSs, but I have also owned three more recent Chevys and have had just about as bad of an experience with the newer cars as with the old ones. While the products have gotten better over the years, there are still quite a few quality control issues that I feel need to be worked out.

Jimmies are not rustled I daily an Infiniti but everyone always shows up complaining about GM and its based on experiences with 80/90s cars or some 100k beater they got for a first car.