The car you see above is the 2014 Chevrolet SS, and it’s important both because it is the first rear-wheel-drive performance sedan from Chevy in 17 years, and because it will be the nameplate the brand uses on NASCAR tracks all across the country starting this year.

Though it wears a name as American as baseball and apple pie, the machine was actually designed and built in Australia, sharing most of its parts with the brand-new VF-model Holden Commodore. That said, the basic chassis bits are shared with other Chevrolet models like the Camaro and Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle.

While Chevrolet is happy to sell a Malibu or Impala to anyone looking for a mainstream family sedan, but the SS is reserved for buyers interested first and foremost in performance. Most sedans sold these days are front-wheel drive, which is great for everyday driving and when the weather goes bad, but the SS is instead a rear-wheel-drive vehicle aimed at enthusiasts who love to drive and who prefer speed and performance above all else.

A 6.2-liter V8 engine making an impressive 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque sends all those ponies through a six-speed automatic transmission that can either be left in Drive or controlled using paddle shifters on either side of the steering wheel. It may not be quite as fast as a Corvette, but it’s certainly no slouch: Chevrolet says the sedan will get from 0-to-60 miles per hour “in about five seconds.”

Large Brembo brakes bring the SS down from speed, and the forged aluminum wheels are 19-inches all around. Optimum weight distribution and various aluminum bodywork allows for a low center of gravity, which should pay dividends in the car’s ride and handling.

Inside, leather seating surfaces, eight-way power front seats and a dash made from premium soft-touch materials are standard for a cabin said to fit five adults comfortably with 42 inches of front legroom and 39 inches of rear legroom. We also expect a pretty sizable trunk.

Other high-end features found inside include a nine-speaker Bose sound system, a head-up display that projects important information on the windshield in front of the driver and safety tech like Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Zone alert. A marquee option will be Automatic Parking Assist that can parallel and right-angle park; this is the technology’s first appearance on a Chevrolet.

Chevrolet has not yet indicated how much the 2014 SS sedan will cost, but it will be on sale before the end of the year. You can read more about the 2014 Chevrolet SS in the press release below.

Related Gallery2014 Chevrolet SS

By Jeremy Korzeniewski