This is the best preview yet of the new Chevrolet SS large car that will debut in February 2013 as the American twin of the 2013 Holden Commodore.
The computer-generated illustrations are based on inside information and spy photos of the new VF Holden Commodore that will go on sale in the first half of 2013.
Holden has already admitted the Holden Cruze small car, which is built alongside the Commodore, will have an influence on the Commodore’s design, though the front end and tail-lights also owe design cues to the forthcoming Malibu medium car (pictured bottom of story).
If the roofline and door shapes look familiar, that’s because they will be carried over from the current (VE) Commodore.
The VF Commodore’s sheetmetal isn’t entirely all-new and the ‘Zeta’ rear-wheel-drive platform sitting underneath features significant development but is not a major architectural change.
The Holden VE Commodore was a $1 billion development, but this generation of Holden’s large car will have a shorter lifecycle than the current model.
With the smaller budget Holden has for the VF Commodore, much will be focused on improving fuel efficiency through reduced body mass and revised engines and gearboxes.
Aluminium – likely for the bonnet and bootlid – will help to trim some kilos, while more fuel consumption gains can be expected to be achieved through improve aerodynamics and enhanced drivetrains.
Lower-end models are likely to retain 3.0-litre and 3.6-litre V6s, while the Commodore’s V8 engine is expected to switch from the current 6.0-litre to the 6.2-litre ‘LS3’ V8 found in the current, Commodore-based Chevrolet Camaro muscle car.
The 6.2-litre could put out as much as 310kW, giving V8 Commodore owners a 40kW power hike over the current eight-cylinder model.
Holden sources say an all-new interior, however, will be "an exciting and significant change" compared with the existing Commodore cabin. Higher-quality materials and more advanced infotainment systems are expected to be part of the mix.
The new Holden Commodore/Chevrolet SS will make its public debut at the Daytona 500 in February 2013.
It’s a natural launch setting for the SS that will form the basis of Chevrolet’s NASCAR challenger in 2013.
The 2013 Holden Commodore will be shipped to the US to become a Chevrolet SS in a smaller quantity – likely a few thousand – than the current Commodore when it was briefly exported to America as a rebadged Pontiac G8.
US motoring media report that parent company General Motors will switch to a North American-built large car from 2015, based on new-generation Zeta underpinnings, though CarAdvice’s Holden sources suggest this isn’t the case.
Holden has yet to commit itself to another Commodore beyond the VF, however.
Holden announced earlier this year that it will build two global GM cars from mid decade until at least 2022. One of those is certain to be the next-generation Cruze, leaving a question mark against the second model.
Holden boss Mike Devereux wouldn’t back the Commodore when CarAdvice asked him at the time of the announcement whether he was committed to vehicles bigger than a medium-size car.
It strengthens speculation that the VF Holden Commodore will be the last of the famous nameplate to be entirely designed, developed and built in Australia.