C/D - 2016 LS3 Chevrolet Super Sport, the most underrated car in America

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderador® Super Moderator

    Jul 6, 2001
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    Travessa das Lindas, Macau
    The last of GM's hot rods from Down Under


    The Chevrolet SS, on the surface, is among the most American of things: a big, comfy, rear-wheel-drive sedan powered by a burly small-block V-8. But it’s actually the latest—and almost certainly the last—in a line of powerful, rebadged imports from General Motors’ Australian subsidiary, Holden, which started with the 2004 Pontiac GTO and continued with the SS’s predecessor, the Pontiac G8. Known as the Holden Commodore in its home market, the SS shares some of its architecture with the previous-generation Chevrolet Camaro and is powered by a 415-hp 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 mated to either a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. Although its official purpose is as a low-volume, aspirational car that gives Chevy’s SS NASCAR racer a legitimate connection to the street, the SS is much more than a token gesture to the left-turn crowd. The SS is a true sports sedan imbued with a beautifully balanced chassis, tactile steering, and loads of cornering grip (0.97 g) from its standard Bridgestone Potenza performance tires.

    Manual-transmission cars like the one we drove for this review incur a $1000 gas-guzzler tax versus the standard automatic’s $1300 penalty; the EPA rates both versions at 14 mpg in the city, but opting for the manual grants the SS a 2-mpg boost on the highway to 22 mpg. Performance figures are similar regardless of transmission choice. The 2015 stick-shift model we tested reached 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and covered the quarter-mile in 13.0 at 111 mph, making it properly quick yet still slower in a straight line than the 485-hp Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack. Front and rear Brembo brakes and a pleasantly firm brake pedal can arrest the near-two-ton SS from 70 mph in an impressive 159 feet.

    What's New


    Introduced for 2014 with only the automatic gearbox, the SS possesses drivability and superior reflexes that allowed it to beat the more powerful Dodge Charger SRT8 392 in a comparison test. An update for 2015 added the manual transmission as a no-cost option, as well as standard driver-adjustable adaptive dampers. The SS looks a little less like a previous-generation Chevrolet Malibu on steroids for 2016, thanks to a revised front fascia with LED running lights, functional hood vents, and more tasteful 19-inch aluminum wheels that have dialed back on the bright-chrome look. Also new is the Slipstream Blue Metallic paint on our test car, as well as a dual-mode exhaust system that barks loudly upon startup. The small-block’s lumpy idle and full-throttle roar let anyone within earshot know the SS is not a normal family sedan.

    Expect only modest trim changes for the 2017 model, which likely will be the SS’s last as Holden shutters its production operations at the end of next year. While the Commodore name should live on in Australia, Holden’s transition to an import-only lineup means it will likely adorn a rebadged version of the front-drive-based Opel Insignia developed in Europe. (Ford is similarly closing its Australian manufacturing facilities). There have been some rumblings that a next-gen SS might be built in America, but GM has offered no indication that there actually will be a rear-drive successor to the current car; if that’s the case, Cadillac’s high-end V models would be the only hot-rod four-doors in the General’s fleet going forward.

    What We Like


    A lot. The Chevy SS is one of the most underappreciated driver’s cars on the market, a lazy-day cruiser in the softest of its three drive modes (Tour, which slots below Sport and Track) yet equally at home on a challenging mountain road in its more aggressive settings. The ride quality can be firm, but the chassis’s overall poise is reminiscent of some of the great BMW M cars from the 1990s and 2000s. Despite some on-center vagueness, the electrically assisted power steering is precise and rich in feedback as the chassis loads up in corners. While the big Chevy is well equipped for the tire-smokin’ muscle-car thing, its understated appearance is welcome in heavy traffic, as are its quiet cabin, comfortable seats, and myriad amenities. Leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, lane-departure warning, and much more are standard; besides transmission choice, the only options are paint color, a power sunroof ($900), and a full-size spare ($500) in place of the standard tire-inflation kit. And with a paltry 2895 sales in the U.S. last year, SS buyers are in an exclusive club.

    What We Don’t Like


    Mainly that GM’s intercontinental gem of a performance sedan will soon be gone forever and that more enthusiasts aren’t swayed by its greatness; numerous still-new 2015 models litter dealer lots. Plus, Chevy has yet to lend us an SS for our annual 10Best Cars event. There’s also too much chrome and bright metal trim, both inside and out, for some tastes. And the price—$48,870 to start—puts the SS out of reach of many potential buyers. Yet, despite the SS’s low-volume status, GM evidently feels some pressure from its lack of popularity: As of this writing, Chevrolet offers a 20 percent discount on 2016 models, which would make our test car a 415-hp steal at $39,096. Our advice? Grab one while you still can.

    Verdict: The most underrated car in America.

    BASE PRICE: $48,870


    Zero to 60 mph: 4.6 sec
    Zero to 100 mph: 10.7 sec
    Zero to 130 mph: 18.3 sec
    Zero to 150 mph: 31.1 sec
    Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 5.3 sec
    Top gear, 30-50 mph: 9.5 sec
    Top gear, 50-70 mph: 9.6 sec
    Standing ¼-mile: 13.0 sec @ 111 mph
    Top speed (governor limited): 165 mph
    Braking, 70-0 mph: 159 ft
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.97 g
    Curb weight: 3970 lb

    C/D observed fuel economy: 15 mpg

  2. Scottwax

    Scottwax Making detailing great again! Moderator

    May 5, 2000
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    Home of the Texas Rangers
    That mileage though...I know its a performance car but damn. The Hellcat has 300 hp more and same highway mpg.
  3. topcat

    topcat OT Supporter

    Aug 31, 2003
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    Tampa, FL
    put the lt1 in it and the new 10 speed tranny, and i'm in

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