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The New Muscle Car?

In Chevrolet-speak "SS" means "Super Sport," and it was once a label reserved for the brand's most wicked performance cars. Recently, however, Chevy has slapped SS badges on some real pretenders, namely the latest Impala SS and Monte Carlo SS.

Now GM wants us to believe the new 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged is the real deal, a hard-core competitive sport coupe with enough style and muscle to take on the Acura RSX Type-S and Dodge SRT-4. The funny thing is it might just be right.

Making the SS Super
The Cobalt is a radical departure for the world's largest automaker, thanks to stellar fit and finish and a sporty platform.

Its unibody architecture is based on the same Delta platform as the Saturn Ion, but it loses the Saturn's small rear doors, which makes the Cobalt's structure stronger. No squeaks or rattles here.

While standard Cobalt shoppers can choose a coupe or sedan, stick or automatic, the SS Supercharged is only available as a manually shifted two-door. We think Chevy may regret this move as four-door performance cars like the Dodge Neon SRT-4, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru Impreza WRX gain momentum in the market.

Firmer springs, performance shocks and thicker anti-sway bars are part of the package, as are 18-inch Pirelli PZero tires, five-spoke alloy wheels and a retune of the electric power steering.

GM's Ecotec four-cylinder gets a serious makeover in the SS. First its displacement was reduced from 2.2 liters to 2.0 liters, then an Eaton Supercharger blowing through an air-to-water intercooler was installed. Other improvements include revised cylinder heads, sodium-filled valves, a forged steel crankshaft and oil-jet cooling for the pistons.

The result is an impressive 1.68 horsepower per cubic inch, or 205 hp and 200 pound-feet of torque. To put things in perspective, a 2004 Corvette Z06 cranks out 1.14 horsepower per cubic inch.

Every Cobalt SS is equipped with a heavy-duty Getrag five-speed manual transmission. A short-throw shifter quickens the shifts, and a steep 4.05-to-1 final drive ratio increases performance off the line. Our test car was also equipped with the G85 Performance Package, which includes a much needed limited-slip differential and sporty Recaro bucket seats.

Finally, the SS Supercharged is equipped with larger vented disc brakes and performance brake pads for improved stopping power.

Cleaner Is Better
We like the Cobalt's sleek lines. There's a touch of Cavalier mixed in there, but the new car is sleeker and cleaner, like an American compact with European panache.

The two-door Cobalt may look small, but at 180 inches it's more than half a foot longer than its two closest competitors, the Acura RSX Type-S and Dodge SRT-4.

The SS model gets attractive 18-inch alloy wheels, along with unique front and rear bumpers, lower rocker panels and sleek color-keyed side mirrors. And then there's the wing.

The big wing totally demolishes the stealth factor when rolling up to a stoplight next to a tricked-out Honda. It also blocks out the back window, which makes watching for flashing lights while exercising the car's supercharger nearly impossible.

Fit-and-Finished Cockpit
The Cobalt's cockpit is a huge step up from the Cavalier in fit and finish, comfort and ergonomics.

Both dash and door panels are covered in nicely textured plastic that looks upscale. Leather covers the fat steering wheel and shifter knob, and a sleek center stack houses the stereo and climate controls.

An arching instrument cluster provides an excellent view of the giant tachometer and speedometer, and a slick boost gauge is sunk into the A-pillar. Unfortunately there's no oil pressure gauge and the temp gauge is digital, neither of which is conducive to high-performance driving.

Trimmed in black leather with cloth inserts, the Recaro bucket seats look full-race. While the bolstered buckets kept us in place during flat-out slalom runs, they weren't very comfortable on long trips.

As one would expect in a sport compact, the backseat is cramped. With 32.2 inches of rear-seat legroom and 35.7 inches of rear headroom, the SS falls squarely between the RSX and the SRT-4. If you plan on carrying more than one passenger for anything other than trips around town, the four-door Dodge is a better choice.

The Cobalt's trunk is also small and it's accessed by a mail-slot opening.

On the Road
Now that we've gotten all the pesky details out of the way, let's get to the important stuff: how it drives.

The Cobalt SS Supercharged has absolutely explosive power. The little Ecotec is sedate until 3,500 rpm, when the boost kicks in like an afterburner and the front tires scream for mercy. We noted that the boost gauge maxed out at 11 pounds, but we've got no doubt that Chevy's 12-pound claim is accurate once the engine breaks in and loosens up.

Torque steer is a problem in front-wheel-drive cars with power, and the Cobalt SS is no exception. As soon as the boost hits, the steering wheel starts trying to yank itself out of your hands, so finesse and a firm grip are necessary to keep this beast under control.

At the track our test car ran zero to 60 in 7 seconds flat and sprinted the quarter-mile in 15.4 at 97 mph. In comparison, a similarly priced Dodge SRT-4 (which is turbocharged) that we recently tested went zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds and ran the quarter in 14.9 seconds at 94.3 mph.

Out in the real world, the SS nicely balances ride comfort and handling, and it was easy to drive in the slalom with minimal body roll and plenty of torque to pull out of the cones. But our tester could only run through the course at 63 mph, which is well short of the 65.7 mph we recently squeezed out of an Acura RSX Type-S.

Its huge 18-inch tires (the Acura we tested rolled on 17-inchers) just can't make up for the Cobalt's hefty curb weight, dated beam axle rear suspension and numb, feedback-free electric steering.

Although the steering system is supposedly tuned to feel sportier, it actually feels worse than the standard setup. In competing vehicles like the RSX Type-S and SRT-4 you can feel when the car is at its handling limit, but the Cobalt SS is eerily numb at speed.

The Bottom Line
The sport compact field is crowded, and GM has showed up late to the game.

Our $23,000 test car came loaded with every option available, including the Performance Package, XM radio and a power sunroof. A comparable SRT-4 is nearly identical in price, but if you order each vehicle in base trim the Dodge is actually a few hundred dollars cheaper. The high-end Acura RSX Type-S costs about $1,000 more.

Dodge's turbocharged four-door packs superior performance in every category for identical money. However, the Neon is a bit rough around the edges when compared to the Cobalt SS, which is more refined.

Fastest in its class or not, there's no arguing that the Cobalt SS Supercharged is the best Chevrolet compact to come along in decades. Thanks to snarling supercharged performance and a sleek new look, it can wear those SS badges with pride.

By Dan Kahn

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/d...d=104953?tid=edmunds.h..insideline.promo.2g.*
 

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dascrow said:
At the track our test car ran zero to 60 in 7 seconds flat and sprinted the quarter-mile in 15.4 at 97 mph. In comparison, a similarly priced Dodge SRT-4 (which is turbocharged) that we recently tested went zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds and ran the quarter in 14.9 seconds at 94.3 mph.
http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/d...d=104953?tid=edmunds.h..insideline.promo.2g.*
Not to be a jerk about these guys but their numbers SUCK BALLS!!!
My new Chevy high performance mag got their stats from Motor Trend and said that the SS ran a 6 sec FLAT 0-60 and a 14.5 1/4mile. And their SRT-4 numbers we won't even get into that!!! Other than that GREAT ARTICLE!!!
No magazines can ever be accurate on times, etc. we'll just have to wait til we get our own cars and see what WE can pull one em!!! :D
 

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87camaroPA said:
That proves it that the Cobalt SS is ready and that the SS is going to a blast to drive.
I dont understand why that proves its ready... do they just test cars that are hitting the markets as is VERY SOON or somethin??...hope so...

P.S. hey 87 are you plannin on gettin a Cobalt SS or are you stickin with your F-body???
 

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CoBIZZLE said:
I dont understand why that proves its ready... do they just test cars that are hitting the markets as is VERY SOON or somethin??...hope so...

P.S. hey 87 are you plannin on gettin a Cobalt SS or are you stickin with your F-body???
Well i am sicking with my Camaro (199,000+ miles original trany) untill it goes but i will be getting a Cobalt SS some time after December because of College is a little to expensive right now so i can't swing any payments.
 

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Understood. Im probably gonna have to wait til maybe as late as this fall for my CobaltSS. I dont wanna though. My S-10 will be paid for within a month from now. Thats a plus. I think I'll focus on payin of my waverunner before I get the Cobalt. I still owe almost $4K on the waverunner :eek: :eek: :eek:
:cool: Its really fast though :D
 

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I know what you mean i dont want to wait but i figure my Camaro might be able to make it but it will be hard for that car to make it because i really drive the doors off of it i average 300 - 400 miles of driven in a week!!! :eek:
And it is not cheap to keep feeding that car because i almost spend $50 dollars a week.
 

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87camaroPA said:
NO!!!!!! 2.8 V-6 Muilti Port Fuel Injection<====== GAS HOG that bastard loves to drink gas.
:mad: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

my bastard LOVES to drink it fast too!!!!!

-2.8L MP-FI V6

(same shit, different smell i guess) :D

.......actually, i assume is the exact same engine
 

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Anyone else pretty unimpressed by this? 0-60 in 7 seconds? That's not even close to sporty. Not at all what I had hoped for from a 205hp/200lbft car....
 

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KSE said:
:mad: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

my bastard LOVES to drink it fast too!!!!!

-2.8L MP-FI V6

(same shit, different smell i guess) :D

.......actually, i assume is the exact same engine
It might be but i think the Cavaler had a little bit of a different engine not sure my engine was rated at 135 hp and 160 ft-trqe. My engine may have more power because i hollwed out my CAT.
 

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CoBIZZLE said:
Yeah their numbers suck!!
Motor Trend and Chevy High Performance's numbers are 6.0 0-60 and 14.5 1/4mile.
I hope so. Because 7 secs for the SS is awful. A Civic Si w/ a naturally-aspirated 2.0L can to 7 secs. And it only makes 160hp and 130lbft. The Cobalt makes 25% more power, and more importantly, almost 50% more torque from the blower. It should be able to eat an Si for breakfast, unless it weighs 500 pounds more or something....
 

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DanM said:
I hope so. Because 7 secs for the SS is awful. A Civic Si w/ a naturally-aspirated 2.0L can to 7 secs. And it only makes 160hp and 130lbft. The Cobalt makes 25% more power, and more importantly, almost 50% more torque from the blower. It should be able to eat an Si for breakfast, unless it weighs 500 pounds more or something....
Yeah, but you also have to take into consideration that these guys are just magazine editors. Let them get out and let some people get some seat time in em to get used to them and THEN we'll see what they can really do stock. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see people hittin 5.9 0-60s once broken in, and the drivers have actually gotten experience in them. Heck mag editors have already clocked 6 flat 0-60s. And another thing... if you swap out those heavy wheels I KNOW it will run faster. Somebody said that those wheels weigh about 25lbs EACH!!!!! Thats a hundred pounds of wheels!!!!
 

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I heard somewhere that for every one pound of rim / wheel it was ten pounds of interior wieght. So that would make is 1000 lbs of interior wieght for 100 pounds worth of rims, right? Please someone clarify if this is correct.
 

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What do you mean by interior weight???
Do you mean the rotational mass forces/ inertia???
If so then well... no I dont know sorry. LOL

But seriously, not sure on what you mean???
 

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BlownSS said:
I heard somewhere that for every one pound of rim / wheel it was ten pounds of interior wieght. So that would make is 1000 lbs of interior wieght for 100 pounds worth of rims, right? Please someone clarify if this is correct.
That's probably correct. For a perfectly uniform disc, every pound of wheel mass is equivalent to adding TWO pounds of static mass (interior mass). A wheel isn't a perfectly uniform disc - more weight is concentrated on the outside of the wheel, so it will have a considerably higher moment of inertia. As to 10X ... can't say for sure, that would depend on the exact wheel shape, but I'd say it's plausible for sure.

Remember tire weight too (which is entirely concentrated at the outer diameter). A 25lb 18" wheel probably has a 25lb tire as well. Replace that with a 15" wheel that weighs 20lbs, and a lighter tire that weighs only 20lbs, and you're probably looking at an overall equivalent of removing 2-300lbs of static mass.
 

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DanM said:
That's probably correct. For a perfectly uniform disc, every pound of wheel mass is equivalent to adding TWO pounds of static mass (interior mass). A wheel isn't a perfectly uniform disc - more weight is concentrated on the outside of the wheel, so it will have a considerably higher moment of inertia. As to 10X ... can't say for sure, that would depend on the exact wheel shape, but I'd say it's plausible for sure.

Remember tire weight too (which is entirely concentrated at the outer diameter). A 25lb 18" wheel probably has a 25lb tire as well. Replace that with a 15" wheel that weighs 20lbs, and a lighter tire that weighs only 20lbs, and you're probably looking at an overall equivalent of removing 2-300lbs of static mass.
Its not a 1-10X relationship, more like 1-2.

I came across this same discussion on my board when someone found a carbonfiber rim that weighed 8 lbs. If you using big chrome rims that weigh in at say 25 LBS (just rim not tire) your saving 31 LBS. Now thats not going to lift 310 LBS off the chasis, but it will lift about 60-75 LBS off.

But it only works for the driving wheels, so if you want to take off the fasionable 18's and throw on some cheapo 15" hubcaps well feel free, personally I would take the better looks.


As for edmunds numbers, the Solstice is supposed to do 0-60 in around 7 seconds, its around the same weight but with 30 less HP. So have faith that edmunds cant drive for crap.
Oh FYI that CF rim was 17-18" also, but it cost $1500 a peice. :eek:
 

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Nocturn said:
Its not a 1-10X relationship, more like 1-2.

I came across this same discussion on my board when someone found a carbonfiber rim that weighed 8 lbs. If you using big chrome rims that weigh in at say 25 LBS (just rim not tire) your saving 31 LBS. Now thats not going to lift 310 LBS off the chasis, but it will lift about 60-75 LBS off.

But it only works for the driving wheels, so if you want to take off the fasionable 18's and throw on some cheapo 15" hubcaps well feel free, personally I would take the better looks.


As for edmunds numbers, the Solstice is supposed to do 0-60 in around 7 seconds, its around the same weight but with 30 less HP. So have faith that edmunds cant drive for crap.
Oh FYI that CF rim was 17-18" also, but it cost $1500 a peice. :eek:

It should be more than 2X. As I said, for a uniform disc with a moment of inertia of 0.5mr^2, wheel mass contributes the same as 2X static mass. Actual wheels are not uniform, they have a higher moment of inertia because the mass is concentrated more outboard, so it must be greater than 2X. Perhaps 10X is too high, that I don't know... depends on the moment of inertia of the wheel. But it's definitely greater than 2X. I can work out the physics if you like.... :)
 
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