Chevy SS gets SS-nazzier

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

The Australia-manufactured Chevrolet SS may soon be gone, but it won’t be ignored.

Due to cease production when the sun sets Down Under on Holden’s sister Commodore in 2017, Chevy’s flagship sedan gets a design update for the 2016 model year. But the minor changes won’t change its reputation as the market’s stealthiest muscle car. Curbside, the SS still looks like an oversized Chevy Cruze — until the driver turns the key and shatters the facade with the roar of its 415-horsepower V-8 engine.

The rear-wheel drive SS gets minor plastic surgery with vertical ducts that improve front-end aerodynamics, functional hood vents, LED-signature lighting, and fresh, 19-inch cast-aluminum wheels.

Unchanged is the SS’s ferocious power plant — the legendary LS3 small-block V-8 that the sedan shares with the last-generation Corvette C6 and the Camaro SS. However, Chevy boasts that a new, dual-mode exhaust system will make for an even stealthier, low-RPM purr and a throatier howl at full throttle.

Only Dodge’s Charger SRT Hellcat sedan can play in the SS’s performance league, yet the $46,740 SS also features remarkable .97 G-load skid-pad performance and a luxurious, standard leather interior that brings flattering comparisons to BMW’s luxury M5 performance sedan.

“The 2016 SS design changes more fully express the true driving character of the sedan while further enhancing the car’s overall performance,” says Todd Christensen, Chevy Performance Car marketing manager.

The design changes 2015 performance upgrades including a manual transmission and magnetic ride shocks. The SS will remain as Chevy’s NASCAR Sprint Cup car in 2016.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Email him at hpayne@detroitnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @HenryEPayne.