General Motors pulls the wraps off the new-for-’14 Chevrolet SS, a rear-wheel-drive performance sedan with modest sales expectations but big aspirations for creating a more tangible connection between the racetrack and the showroom.

“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,” GM North America President Mark Reuss says.

“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,” Reuss says in a statement ahead of the unveiling later today in Daytona, FL.

The last Chevrolet RWD performance sedan offered in the U.S. was the ’96 Impala SS, according to the WardsAuto Yearbook.

GM in November unveiled the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevy SS, which will replace the Chevy Impala on the U.S. racing circuit this season and more closely resemble the ’14 production model.

The production-model Chevy SS will be imported from Australia, where it shares production and its Zeta large-car architecture with the Port Elizabeth, Melbourne-built Holden VF Commodore and the Chevy Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle. Zeta also shoulders the Oshawa, ON, Canada-built Chevy Camaro.

Under the hood, the Chevy SS receives GM’s LS3 6.2L V-8 engine boasting a peak 415 hp and 415 lb.-ft. (563 Nm) of torque. The LS3 V-8 also sees duty in the ’13 Chevy Corvette. Ironically, the LS3 displaces more than the 5.5L V-8 powering the Chevy SS NASCAR model.

The ’14 SS sedan will not receive the all-new small-block 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine appearing in the ’14 Corvette Stingray.

GM mates the Chevy SS V-8 to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a tap-shift manual mode. The auto maker says to the car will reach 0-60 mph (100 km/h) in about five seconds, making it one of the quickest sedans on the market.

Key technical equipment includes a MacPherson-style strut front and multilink independent rear suspension geometries; electronic power steering system; standard Brembo brakes with ventilated, 14-in. (35 cm) rotors and 2-piece, 4-piston front calipers; and 19-in. forged aluminum wheels wrapped in ultra-high-performance Bridgestone tires.

GM uses aluminum for the hood and rear deck to shave weight.

Bulging rear wheels highlight its exterior styling, giving the Chevy SS a sporty, muscular stance. A bump in the hood hints at the V-8 power beneath and a tapered, teardrop rear end enhances aerodynamics.

Standard high-intensity discharge headlamps, light-emitting-diode daytime running lights and chrome accents provide a premium look, GM says in information provided ahead of the reveal.

The Chevy SS fits five adults comfortably, with 42 ins. (107 cm) of front legroom and 39 ins. (100 cm) of rear floor space. Leather-seating surfaces are standard, as well as 8-way power adjustable front bucket seats with extra side bolsters for spirited driving.

GM stitches the “SS” badge onto a soft-touch instrument panel, which features two types of chrome finishes: satin gloss and bright. At night, ice-blue ambient lighting illuminates the cabin.

Among the car’s standard equipment is a color, in-dashboard touchscreen for the optional Chevrolet MyLink infotainment and navigation system; a Bose-branded 9-speaker audio system; color head-up display; push-button start; forward-collision alert; lane-departure warning; side blind-zone alert; and rear-vision camera with rear cross-traffic alert.

Additionally, the SS sedan ranks as the first Chevrolet to offer automatic parking assist for hands-free parking.

The Chevy SS arrives in U.S. dealer showrooms in the fourth quarter.

GM most recently raced the Impala in NASCAR, but unlike the Chevy SS, the showroom model lacks performance credentials and most of its sales go to fleet and rental-car companies. A new-for-’14 Impala arrives this spring and arguably will emphasize premium comfort over performance.

In addition, the last few seasons of NASCAR featured the racing circuit’s “Car of Tomorrow,” which in a bid to make racing more competitive watered down the designs of the cars manufacturers in the competition.

Without racing numbers on the cars, the auto makers complained, fans could not tell the difference between a Ford, Chevy, Dodge or Toyota.

Auto makers spend billions of dollars every year to race in NASCAR and connect with its 75 million fans, who spend an estimated $3 billion annually on racing-related products.

Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president-Performance Vehicles and Motorsports at GM, recently called the switch to the new design “hugely important” for auto makers seeking greater differentiation between their NASCAR entries.

He credits Reuss for bringing executives from the Detroit Three and Toyota together to lobby NASCAR for the change this racing season.

The Chevy SS unveiling comes ahead of a week of racing activities at Daytona preceding the Feb. 24 running of the Daytona 500, which kicks off the 2013 NASCAR season.

Pricing on the Chevy SS will be announced closer to its on-sale date.

jamend@wardsauto.com