I just finished driving the SS (red with sunroof).
(Just for reference, my car is a Mercedes S55 AMG, so comparisons are inevitable and one must remember that $120,000 cars should be a lot better than $47,000 cars.)
We all know it's a refreshed Pontiac G8, but this seems like a completely different car. The Pontiac looked narrow, while the SS sits low and looks wide (just right). It looks great. It really does look better in real life than in pictures. Fit and finish couldn't be better. When you see one, take the time to notice the gaps between the doors, fenders, etc. It's impressive.
The interior is top notch. You've seen the pictures, so let me stick to the experience. After seeing the pictures, I wondered if the front seats would look oversized and awkward in real life. They look great and they're very comfortable. It's also hard to find good pictures of the back seat, so I was pleased to find that they are contoured nicely and they look good. The arm rest isn't anything exciting, but it works. For a useful comparison, Cadillac is doing really great interiors these days. This fits in that category. It's a little nicer than the new Impala, but perhaps a slight step below Cadillac's best. A strong 9.5/10.
Turn it on and go
Keyless go. I read everything I could about the SS, and I watched all the videos I could find of exhaust sounds, but when I finally got the chance to push the button and turn the engine on, it caught me off guard. Yeah! That sounds great. It sounds like a real muscle car! The sound is the first major sign that this isn't just a family sedan.
(This paragraph contains the only two negative impressions I had about the car, and these are minor.) Out on the road, the first thing I noticed is that the suspension is stiffer than expected. The suspension is tuned for handling. It's a harder ride than my S55, even though the S55 has a stiff suspension compared to the non-AMG S-Class. After a few seconds of getting used to the difference, the ride seemed fine. The SS also transmits more road noise than my S55 or my wife's E Class (probably not a fair comparison). It's a little louder than a new Impala as well.
Onto the freeway: This car is fast and fun. Here's where the reader of this forum may appreciate the comparison to the S55. The kick down, seat of the pants experience of the SS is very similar to that of the 500 bhp dual super-charged 5.5 liter AMG engine. Like the Mercedes, the SS has an awesome sound track coming from the engine compartment. I glanced at the speedometer at the end of the ramp and was surprised to note that we were going 80. There's nothing scary about it. The car is competent and strong all the way.
We shot to the number one lane and cruised a few miles down. The SS will make a good long distance cruiser. The return trip to the dealer involved a couple of tight clover leaf turns. In my peripheral vision I saw the salesman hanging on, but the SS never lost its composure. This car will be fun in the twisties.
Final thoughts. The SS is definitely on my short list. It's the first time I've seriously thought of having a non-Mercedes in my driveway in over 20 years. It's that good.
"The Driveway Test": Will I be happy seeing it every day when I walk out my front door? Yes. It's a handsome car. The proportions are just right. Holden benchmarked the 5 Series BMW, and it's hard to improve on the style of that, right down to the "Hofmeister kink" in the C pillar.
"The Daily Drive Test": Will I be happy driving the car every day? Yes. Every time one drives, it should be fun.
"The Car Wash Test": Will I be happy comparing it to other cars at the car wash? Yes. The SS proves that prestige is more than initial cash outlay. It will be the coolest car at the car wash, even among the Mercedes Benzes, BMWs, Audis, etc. There won't be many of them around, so it has the cool factor that comes from being unusual.