Chevy SS versus Chrysler 200: Real muscle confronts gay muscle


FLEX-OFF | The Chevrolet SS, left, is a strong road hog, while the Chrysler 200, below, has a softer side.

CASEY WILLIAMS  | Auto Reviewer

There’s gay muscle — like the kind you get working out in that air-conditioned cruise-by gym downtown — and real muscle — like your dad earned working in a hot factory or heaving bales of hay on the ranch.

Gay muscle looks good and usually gleams under tanned pecs and guns. Real muscle is shaded by God’s tanning booth. One is perhaps a bit more femme than the other … just like the Chrysler 200 and Chevy SS.


Pumped muscles:
200: Comes standard with a 184 horsepower 4-cylinder, but you’ll want to work out the optional 295 horsepower Pentastar V6 — taken to the mat through a class-exclusive 9-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission.
SS: Stout and strong, it’s only available with a 415 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 — nothing “pretend” here. With enough torque to choke your goat, it routes power through a paddle-shifted 6-speed automatic.

Versatile boys:
200: The sport setting stiffens the steering and calibrates transmission, throttle and traction control for jogging and flogging. Get it in front- or all-wheel-drive.
SS: Doesn’t need technical trickery because the chassis, powertrain, and Brembo disc brakes are born of piss and vinegar (or aluminum and carbon). Power comes from the rear, as it should.

Fly bridge:
200: Baby-easy infotainment, fly-bridge console, rotary shifter, and colors inspired by American locations like New York’s 5th Avenue, Sausalito, Calif. and Detroit are more stylish than two boys’ loft.
SS: All black and chrome, there’s no doubt this car wants to skip the pleasantries and get dirty. Grab the meaty leather-wrapped steering wheel, slip into the rib-hugging seats and prepare for the ride of your life.

Plastic surgery:
200: Has about the most pleasing rump ever implanted on an American sedan. The smoother, sleeker shnoz announces the new face of Chrysler.
SS: From tip to tail, the sedan conveys its old-school power and new-age capabilities. Squint a little and you see the Pontiac G8 it used to be.

Suck it dry:
200: Fabulous and frugal, the sleek Chrysler goes up to 35-MPG hwy with a 4-cylinder.
SS: Hire a personal tanker because you’ll need him often with 14/21-MPG city/hwy. Apparently, hard-working men need lots of nourishment. And this pissy bitch prefers premium.

Closely related:
200: Shares ancestry with other Alfa Romeo-derived vehicles like the Jeep Cherokee, Fiat 500L and Dodge Dart.
SS: Essentially a 4-door Camaro, the SS was raised down under alongside the deceased Pontiac G8 and home-market Holden Commodore.

Home gayborhood:
200: Detroit by way of Italy. A tumbled city boy with Euro manners.
SS: Australia by way of Holden. Explaining how a V8-powered muscle car with a Chevy emblem was bred and raised in Oz is too complicated to contemplate.

Cool tricks:
200: Automatically disconnects the rear axle from its all-wheel-drive system to conserve fuel. It can also parallel and perpendicular park itself. Alpine audio sings like mountain cherubs.
SS: Besides toasting its prowess with long strips of black rubber, Chevy’s swift kick flaunts a color heads-up display and 220-watt Bose audio system. Yeah, and it can park itself too, pretty boy.

Laying green:
200: A cheap trick for just $21,700, but add beauty and brawn, and you’ll see $30,000 stickers.
SS: You may be able to get the 200’s fancy pants at the discount mall, but the muscular Chevy’s $43,475 base price is commensurate with its authenticity and capability.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 19, 2014.