Though Chevrolet isn’t releasing many details, General Motors has confirmed that it will introduce a V8-powered, rear-wheel drive performance sedan for the 2014 model year, to be named the Chevrolet SS. Chevrolet notes in a statement that 2014 will be the first time in 17 years that the brand has offered a rear-wheel drive sedan in U.S. showrooms.

The introduction of the new Chevrolet SS is big news to automotive enthusiasts, who regard rear-wheel drive as crucial to performance and balanced handling. Currently, most of Chevrolet’s lineup of cars is front-wheel drive, excluding the Camaro and Corvette. Plus, the SS badge has historically denoted a sporty model. The Chevrolet Camaro SS, Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS and Chevrolet Trailblazer SS have all offered more power and sportier handling than their base models.

“GM hasn't yet detailed specific powertrain or performance numbers for the brand's upcoming halo sedan, but we’d be stunned if it wasn’t a version of the automaker’s 6.2-liter V-8 with at least 400 hp,” predicts Motor Trend.

The 2014 Chevrolet SS will likely compete with the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300, which are currently the only rear-wheel drive, non-luxury sedans available. That leaves brands like Ford and Toyota in the dust, since their non-luxury large-car offerings are front-wheel drive.

Details about the 2014 Chevrolet SS will be slow to leak out, but the automaker says the sedan will be available in showrooms in late 2013. “GM says it will produce the new Chevrolet SS in limited numbers, but did not specify the amount of the production run,” notes CNET.

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