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TMR Team | Feb, 16 2013 | 16 Comments

Holden's newly-refreshed Commodore has returned at last to the US market, with this weekend's unveiling of the new Chevrolet SS performance sedan.

The new model, to make its North American sales debut later this year, is Chevy's first V8 rear-wheel-drive sedan in 17 years.

The Commodore SS-based performer will fill the void left when the Pontiac G8 bowed out of the US market with the retirement of the Pontiac badge in 2009.

It was the development of the Chevrolet SS for the US market that ensured the inclusion of such a broad suite of safety and feature advancements announced with the local Commodore.

"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," Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America, said.

"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."

Built in Australia, the Chevrolet SS will go on sale following the June launch of the VF Commodore locally.

Developed and engineered by Holden Australia, with weight-saving and fuel efficiency technologies, this is a coup for Holden and its highly-respected Australian engineering arm.

"Holden can, and will, continue to pursue targeted, profitable export programs that add value to Holden and GM," Holden Australia engineering boss Greg Tyus said.

“We continue to export our engineering and design capability around the GM world and we have significant vehicle export programs to the Middle East, New Zealand and North America."

GM North America boss Mark Reuss (who for 18 months until September 2009 headed up Holden) said that the company expects to sell around 5000 SS cars each year, although Holden Australia has capacity for around 9000 units if demand is there.

Holden Product Communications Manager Kate Lonsdale said last year that the export program "is expected to fit within the current production capabilities and plant capacity" at GM Holden's SA Elizabeth plant, and with no changes to current shifts.

What's under the bonnet?

Powertrain details for Australia's VF Commodore SS are still to be announced, but it is known that the Chev SS will get the same 6.2 litre V8 engine that drives Australia's HSV models, the Corvette, and the 'old' Pontiac G8 GXP flagship.

As it did in the G8 GXP, the engine in the SS produces 309kW and 563Nm of torque.

Braking is managed by a Brembo package that includes ventilated 355mm rotors and two-piece, four-piston front calipers.

GM says handling in the new model - or updated, in the case of the VF version - is improved both by a near-50/50 weight distribution and a lower centre of gravity, thanks in part to the aluminium bonnet and boot lid.

"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," David Leone, executive chief engineer GM global programs, said.

"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."

The new Commodore range, revealed so far in Calais V and Commodore SS form, is due to launch in Australia in the coming months.

MORE: VF Commodore Pricing Announced
MORE: HSV Gen-F Pricing Announced
MORE: Unveiled: VF Calais V | Commodore SS | VF Ute | WN Caprice
MORE: HSV Gen-F range revealed

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