The 2015 Chevrolet SS Sedan is one of those rare enthusiast cars that comes along once in a blue moon and then vanishes just when you think it's going to catch on. The V8-powered rear-drive SS is built in Australia at GM's Holden unit and it's no secret that production is being shuttered Down Under - the question is whether or not the SS, which is based on the Zeta platform that underpins the current Camaro, will survive. That's because Chevy's pony car will be shifting to the newer Alpha architecture and move to a new assembly plant in Michigan where it will be built alongside the Cadillac ATS.

So, there's a chance that SS may not be long for the world, but the good news is that they are in abundant supply, deliver incredible bang for the buck and now come with the option of either going with a 6-speed automatic or slick shifting 6-speed manual.

High curb appeal

Not only does the SS share the same looks as the NASCAR stockers driven by the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., but also it's the only street car that has the same kind of pushrod V8, manual gearbox and rear-drive layout that underpin the competition models. Our test car, painted in "Some Like it Hot Red Metallic" is a more subdued shade of red than you'd expect from the name, but also, there's plenty of chrome brightwork around the windows, on the door handles, fender vents and 19-inch alloy wheels to give the car some flash.

Inside, the SS benefits from firmly bolstered sport seats, more chrome trim and a tasteful blend of soft touch materials along with suede and leather upholstery on the seats, dash and doors to give this sedan an upscale aura. And despite sharing a platform with the Camaro, there is ample backseat room for two with seating for three in a pinch. The overall appearance of the SS is that of a more refined sport sedan than its erstwhile competitor, the 2015 Dodge Charger.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2015

V8 Magic

Push the stop/start button and the 6.2-liter V8 rumbles to life and idles with the kind of shake you'd expect from an engine with an aftermarket cam. The 415 horsepower and 415 lb ft of torque provide instant acceleration with a throaty roar and throttle lift pops between shifts. The 6-speed manual has fairly light clutch take-up and smooth, short throws for precise gear selection.

The Chevy SS is also equipped with Magnetic Ride Control, which uses electro-magnetic shocks that adjust to road conditions in real time, giving the car tremendous balance in ride and handling. A console mounted switch allows the driver to select tour, sport and performance modes, which alters the shock settings and steering feel, weighting the response the more aggressive you get with the settings. All told, the SS is both a consummate high speed cruiser and adept at handling the twisty bits.

Best of all is the sticker. Our test car had no options, but came fully equipped with features like a rearview camera, blind spot detection, remote vehicle start, leather, aluminum pedals, navigation, dual zone automatic climate control, HID headlamps, power seats and Bluetooth connectivity all for $45,745 plus $995 delivery. Buyers can opt for either the automatic or manual at no cost differential. For a car that offers all the visceral thrills of V8 power combined with the ability to shift it yourself, the 2015 Chevrolet SS not only has an edge over the Charger in refinement, but also in terms of value, blows away luxury performance competition ranging from the Lexus IS-F to the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.

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