For those who care about the car side of the world, you know GM is expanding the legendary SS badge to vehicles like the Malibu, Cobalt, Impala, and Monte Carlo. Elsewhere in this issue, we've highlighted some of the power changes in the Silverado SS and SSR. Now, GM is reintroducing the TrailBlazer SS. Offered in all-wheel or rear-drive, the TrailBlazer SS uses the Corvette LS2 6.0-liter V-8, which puts out 391 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque. Backed up to the new motor are a redesigned 4L70-E four-speed transmission, a new all-wheel-drive transfer case, and a stronger rear axle, the last sporting a strengthened 9.5-inch ring and pinion.
The new setup is reported to send the sporty SUV to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, which would make it one of few SUVs to run that low. And to make sure we know this vehicle isn't just about straight-line capability, GM did all the final suspension testing on the famed 12.5-mile Nuerburgring racetrack in Germany. GM tells us the stiffer springs, grippy Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires, as well as specially tuned shocks, combine to bias this track racer for energetic romps. The ride height and center of gravity was lowered by almost two inches with a combination of springs and low-profile tires. Larger stabilizer bars and a newly calibrated StabiliTrak program keep the wheels spinning and gripping when pushed, while 12.8-inch rotors and twin-piston calipers give the SS its needed high-performance stopping power. Estimated braking distances from 60 are reported be near 130 feet. With these numbers, expect the TrailBlazer SS to compete with vehicles like the BMW X5, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 (see our "First Look" in this issue), and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Although pricing has not been announced, expect a hefty premium for the sporty engine and trans combination.
Given how other SS packages have been priced above their respective up-level-equipped models, the TrailBlazer SS will start somewhere around $38,000 and be in showrooms late this fall. For those looking for the perfect hot-rod tow vehicle, you'll be happy to know the TrailBlazer SS retains its full towing capacities of 6700 pounds for two-wheel-drive models and 6500 pounds for all-wheel drivers.
Interior styling is driver-oriented...
Interior styling is driver-oriented with thickly bolstered seats, a T-shaped brushed-aluminum shifter, and easy-to-read silver-face gauges. Other details include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and SS logos embroidered on the seatbacks.
Even though this is a new...
Even though this is a new engine for the TrailBlazer, engineers decided to keep the trademark halfshafts-through-the-oil-pan (for AWD models) feature to keep the center of gravity of the SS as low as possible.