After biting our tongues for the last few days while (accurate) speculation surrounding the successor to the Chevy Cobalt SS Supercharged bounced around the web, we're finally able to come clean. This is the turbocharged 2008 Chevy Cobalt SS, and it's being introduced to the world at SEMA this week. Chevy went to great lengths to ensure that the SS badge means more than what it had become in recent years.
Coming in at 260 HP / 260 lb-ft, the SS/TC gains a full 55 horses over the now-defunct SS/SC. Power, of course, is sourced from the same 2.0L direct-injected, turbocharged, intercooled sledgehammer found under the bonnets of the Pontiac Solstice GXP, Saturn Sky Red Line, and forthcoming Chevy HHR SS. The GM Performance Division was tasked with making sure the improved Cobalt SS is well-sorted, and John Heinricy and company dialed in the FE5 sport suspension on the undulating twists and turns of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The result, says GM, is a track-capable suspension that's still comfortable on the street, and which helps mitigate FWD performance foibles like torque steer.
Follow the jump for more, plus all the official GM press materials.
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The standard transmission is the GM Powertrain Sweden F35 short-throw 5-speed manual with a "no-lift shift" feature. This, combined with the punchy turbo four, helps propel the Cobalt SS Turbocharged from 0 to 60 in a scant 5.7 seconds. In fact, GM set a Nürburgring class record for FWD sport compacts with the turbo Cobalt, lapping the Green Hell in 8:22.85. Better braking accompanies the added power with 4-piston fixed-caliper Brembos in front and vented discs with single-piston calipers in the rear. A driver-selectable competition mode with launch control can be enabled from the cockpit. Beyond that, the traction control system can be completely disabled.
Appearance-wise, the Cobalt SS Turbocharged sports a unique front fascia, model-specific rocker panels, forged 18" alloys, a polished exhaust outlet, and a choice of rear wings (low or high). Inside, a boost gauge peeks at the driver from the A-pillar while SS-exclusive sport seats and interior trim dress up the cabin. The Chevy Cobalt SS Turbocharged goes on sale in Q2 of 2008, and if the coupe doesn't strike your fancy, no worries: a sedan version will follow a couple of months later. Honda, Mazda and all the rest are now on notice. There's a new player at the table, and that SS medallion he's rocking is no longer costume jewelery.
2008 CHEVROLET COBALT SS FAST FACTS
* Engineered and developed by GM Performance Division
* 2.0L Ecotec turbocharged and intercooled engine with 260 horsepower (194 kW)
* GM Powertrain Sweden five-speed transmission with short-throw shifter
* Nürburgring-tuned FE5 Sport suspension delivers 0.9 g grip
* Brembo fixed-caliper front discs and vented rear disc brakes
* SS-specific appearance with unique fascias and rear spoiler – including available high wing
* 18-inch high-polished forged aluminum wheels and Y-rated performance tires
* SS-specific interior with new sport seats, A-pillar boost gauge and more
* On sale: second quarter of 2008
TURBOCHARGED CHEVROLET COBALT SS GIVES A BOOST OF FUN TO THE COMPACT SEGMENT
LAS VEGAS – Celebrating the performance community that comprises SEMA, Chevrolet used the annual convention of all things high-performance to announce the 2008 Cobalt SS coupe. True to its legendary moniker, the Cobalt SS delivers a balance of track-proven performance capability, driving refinement and premium features – along with an undeniably fun and youthful character.
Developed by GM Performance Division (GMPD) and powered by a 260-horsepower (194 kW) turbocharged and intercooled 2.0L Ecotec engine, the Cobalt SS delivers 55 horses (41 kW) more than the previous Cobalt SS Supercharged, and its driving experience was validated on racetracks throughout North America and Europe, including Germany's legendary Nürburgring circuit.
"The Cobalt SS is the very essence of Chevrolet's fun spirit and serious performance," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "The horsepower will put a permanent smile on your face and you'll find yourself wanting to turn around and zip through your favorite stretch of twisty roads again."
The Cobalt SS coupe arrives in dealerships in the second quarter of 2008. A Cobalt SS sedan, with all of the same high-performance features of the coupe, follows a couple of months later.
Maximum performance – on the street or track
The Cobalt SS was developed by GM Performance Division (GMPD), with a team of engineers and designers dedicated to crafting high-performance vehicles. It features powertrain and chassis enhancements that are similar to the new HHR SS, but with larger Brembo brakes, a slightly "taller" final-drive ratio and other variances that emphasize the Cobalt SS's pure performance ethic, as well as maximize its competitiveness on the track.
Engineered to offer more than merely a turbocharged rush of power, an all-new FE5 Sport suspension was developed and includes specific stabilizer bars, spring rates and damper tuning – all designed to complement the high-output turbocharged powertrain and mitigate afflictions such as torque steer. Driver-selectable modes help maximize performance whether on the street or track. The unique "no-lift shift" feature enables manual-transmission-equipped models to achieve the best acceleration time via an algorithm in the engine controller.
Ensuring the car stops as confidently as it accelerates and corners are four-wheel disc brakes with standard ABS. The front brakes are from Brembo and have a performance-oriented fixed-caliper design, which resist fade better than floating caliper designs; the rear discs are vented for better heat dissipation. Along with these high-performance attributes, the Cobalt SS comes standard with a host of safety features, including the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system and side-impact air bags.
With its balanced tuning, the Cobalt SS delivers a quick 0-60 time of approximately 5.7 seconds – thanks to the manual transmission's "no-lift shift" feature – and a sports car-like maximum lateral grip of 0.9 g. This combination enabled the Cobalt SS to set a new class record while circulating the famed Nürburgring racing circuit, posting a time of 8:22.85 minutes.
The Cobalt SS is distinguished on the exterior with several unique features, including a distinctive, air dam-style front fascia with integrated projector-beam fog lamps. The new fascia's grille and the Cobalt's upper grille sport a new, SS-specific diamond-mesh appearance.
SS-specific rockers and badging adorn the body sides, while a standard deck lid spoiler adds the requisite sporty touch to the rear of the car. The standard spoiler can be replaced with an optional high wing-style aero enhancement that gives the Cobalt SS the look of a racecar. Also at the rear is a prominent, bright-tip exhaust outlet.
Large, five-spoke 18-inch polished forged aluminum wheels and performance tires are standard and are tailored with the specific body enhancements to give the Cobalt SS a lower, performance-oriented stance – while also showing off the large Brembo front brake calipers. They're mounted on 225/40-series summer tires. Likewise, the available exterior colors enhance the sporty nature of the vehicle. They include Victory Red, Black, Ultra Silver Metallic, Imperial Blue, Rally Yellow, Sport Red Tintcoat and White.
Like the exterior, the interior is unique to the Cobalt SS, including SS-embroidered sport seats with suede-like UltraLux inserts, a specific gauge cluster, an A-pillar-mounted turbo boost gauge and a new shifter arrangement. Three interior color combinations are available: Ebony, Light Grey and Victory Red.
Chevrolet is one of America's best-known and best-selling automotive brands. With the largest dealer network in the United States, Chevy is the leader in full-size trucks and the leader in sales of vehicles priced $35,000 and above. Chevrolet delivers more-than-expected value in every vehicle category, offering cars and trucks priced from $9,995 to $83,175. Chevy delivers expressive design, spirited performance and great value with standard features usually found only on more expensive vehicles. More information on Chevrolet can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
GERMANY'S NÜRBURGRING RACETRACK WAS THE PROVING GROUND FOR THE '08 COBALT SS
DETROIT – The Cobalt SS is at home on the boulevard or starting grid, thanks to development at Germany's famed Nürburgring racing circuit – a winding, undulated road course of approximately 14 miles in length (22 km) and with more than 170 turns. It is considered by many professional racers and auto manufacturers as the ultimate test of a car's mettle.
In fact, the Cobalt SS set a lap record for front-drive sport-compact cars at the "'Ring," posting a time of 8:22.85 minutes – besting the previous record by more than 13 seconds.
"The Cobalt SS delivers an integrated driving experience that balances a strong, satisfying feeling of acceleration with a precise, responsive chassis," said John Heinricy, GM Performance Division executive. "It has been tuned to deliver confident handling and road manners, while also maintaining overall ride comfort."
GM Performance Division (GMPD) is responsible for the "go, stop and turn" capability of Chevrolet's high-performance SS models, and its team of enthusiastic engineers made sure that the new, 2008 Cobalt SS not only achieved stellar performance on the track, it delivered it with a grin-inducing level of driving satisfaction.
Specific performance features include:
* FE5 sport suspension
* Standard F35 five-speed manual transmission with short-throw shifter
* Quicker-ratio steering
* Brembo fixed-caliper front disc brakes
* Vented rear disc brakes
* Eighteen-inch wheels and performance tires
* Driver Information Center "Competition" mode with launch control function
* Available limited-slip differential
Conveying the Cobalt SS's turbocharged horsepower to the pavement is an FE5 sport suspension that includes a host of other chassis, steering and braking revisions – and a set of gorgeous, 18-inch forged aluminum wheels. The elements pull together to give the vehicle surprisingly agile ride and handling characteristics, as well as an enviable maximum lateral acceleration rate of 0.9 g – making it one of the best-handling cars in the segment.
"There was a concerted effort to tune the Cobalt SS for competitive track performance," said Heinricy. "This makes the car not only formidable in sanctioned competition, but it puts a finer edge on street performance."
The MacPherson strut independent front suspension uses SS-specific gas-charged twin-tube struts; unique steering knuckles with optimized geometry; 27 N/mm linear coil springs with specific damper tuning; stiffer control arm handling and stabilizer bar bushings; and a direct-acting, 24-mm solid stabilizer bar. At the rear, the SS's semi-trailing twist beam axle uses monotube gas-charged shocks with specific damper tuning, a 24-mm solid stabilizer bar, stiffer axle bushings and multi-rate coil springs (28-40 N/mm). StabiliTrak electronic stability control and traction control are standard.
More than cornering capability, the Cobalt SS's chassis – along with the available limited-slip differential – also is tuned to mitigate conditions often associated with high-performance front-wheel-drive vehicles, such as torque steer and axle hop. The result is smooth application of the car's full performance potential, quickening acceleration and/or lap times and ensuring a smooth, comfortable driving experience on the way to the office.
An improved electric power steering (EPS) system is tuned to match the SS's handling prowess. The rack-and-pinion gear has a quick 14.8:1 ratio, which is 20-percent quicker than other Cobalt models, and the new EPS provides improved precision and a more viscous feel.
Brembo fixed-caliper brakes
Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard. They consist of large, 12.4-inch-diameter (315 mm) Brembo front vented rotors with premium, high-performance, four-piston fixed calipers in the front and 11.5-inch-diameter (292 mm) rear vented discs with single-piston calipers.
During spirited drives, this gives the Cobalt SS a more precise and consistent braking feel that resists fading, even after repeated occurrences of hard braking, such as the driving experience on a racetrack.
The Brembo calipers are visible behind one of the Cobalt SS's most distinguishing features: a set of 18- x 7.5-inch polished forged aluminum wheels. The wheels ride on SS-specific 225/40-series Y-rated summer tires.
The standard anti-lock brakes are connected to the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system to enhance stopping and handling in emergency driving situations.
TURBOCHARGER FORCE-FEEDS THE COBALT SS 2.0L ECOTEC ENGINE FOR 260 HP (194 kW)
DETROIT – The Cobalt SS is powered by a turbocharged and intercooled 2.0L Ecotec DI engine that delivers 260 horsepower (194 kW) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (353 Nm) with the standard five-speed manual transmission.
"Chevrolets are about fun and the SS models are the most fun of all," said John Heinricy, GM Performance Division executive. "With the Cobalt SS, fun is balanced with a serious degree of capability, on both the street and racetrack."
Features such as "no-lift shift" and other driver-selectable performance modes help the Cobalt SS achieve 0-60 mph performance in approximately 5.7 seconds and cover the quarter-mile in approximately 14.1 seconds, with minimal torque steer. The top speed is more than 160 mph.
2.0L Ecotec DI turbo engine details
The Cobalt SS's Ecotec 2.0L turbo engine is the same that powers the recently introduced HHR SS. It produces 2.1 horsepower per cubic inch of displacement (130 hp / 97 kW per liter) and is the most powerful engine in the Ecotec family. Gasoline direct-injection technology helps the engine produce more power while maintaining the lower fuel consumption of a small displacement port-injected engine.
With direct injection, fuel is delivered directly to the combustion chamber to create a more complete burn of the air/fuel mixture. Less fuel is required to produce the equivalent horsepower, especially at normal cruising speeds, of a conventional port-injection combustion system. Direct-injection technology works well with turbocharging and helps deliver a great balance of power and economy.
Highlights of the Cobalt SS's Ecotec 2.0L DI turbo engine include:
* Steel crankshaft
* Forged connecting rods
* Oil-spray piston cooling
* 9.2:1 compression ratio
* Aluminum cylinder head with stainless steel intake valves and sodium-filled exhaust valves
* High-pressure engine-driven fuel pump
* Mobil 1 synthetic oil
Components including the steel crankshaft and forged connecting rods are high-strength items that provide strength and enhance durability. Oil-spray piston cooling helps reduce cylinder temperatures and promotes longevity by delivering pressurized oil that continuously lubricates the pistons, which reduces friction. To enhance combustion, the piston tops feature a dish shape that deflects incoming fuel toward the spark plugs.
To accommodate the direct-injection system, the Ecotec 2.0L DI turbo has a unique cylinder head and intake manifold. The cylinder head incorporates mounting locations for the fuel injectors – items that are typically mounted in the intake manifold on port-injection engines. Specialized and extremely precise multi-hole fuel injectors are used to meter fuel and deliver it in a finely atomized manner. They are supported by an engine-mounted high-pressure fuel pump.
Apart from the mounting positions of the fuel injectors, the cylinder head has conventional port and combustion chamber designs. Large stainless steel intake valves and sodium-filled exhaust valves are durable components designed to stand up to the high-performance capability of the engine.
The unique cylinder head, fuel system, pistons and intake manifold are the major components that differentiate the 2.0L DI turbo from other members of the Ecotec engine family. Mobil 1 synthetic engine oil is installed at the factory. Synthetic oil was selected for its friction-reducing capabilities and high-temperature performance.
Turbocharger and charge air cooler
Pumping up the Cobalt SS's 2.0L Ecotec engine is an intercooled turbocharger system. The turbo blows pressurized air into the combustion chambers to enhance horsepower and torque, while the system's intercooler circuit cools the turbocharged air charge to maximize its effect. The turbocharger is sized to deliver a significant horsepower boost and almost no spool-up lag. Maximum pressure is almost 20 psi.
Because the pressurized air pushed by a turbocharger becomes heated, the Cobalt SS's system employs an air-to-air intercooling system. With it, the pressurized air passes through a heat exchanger mounted behind the grille in the lower front fascia, where it is cooled before it enters the engine. Cooler air is denser, enabling the combustion chambers to draw in more air for maximum power. The cooler air also staves off the possibility of detonation at higher temperature, which allowed engineers to tune the engine for maximum power and ensure consistent performance in all driving conditions.
Backing the turbocharged engine is a standard GM Powertrain Sweden F35 five-speed manual transmission. Semi-synthetic transmission fluid is used for its capability of absorbing heat and resisting breakdown during high-performance driving.
A performance-oriented feature referred to as "no-lift shift" allows maximum performance – upshifts can be performed very quickly without lifting the throttle. An algorithm in the engine's controller enables this high-performance feature, which helps maximize acceleration and gear changes.
A short-throw shifter with stiffened shifter bushings and modified cables and attachments enhances confidence behind the wheel, giving the driver a firmer, more direct and quicker shift feel. A limited-slip differential is available with the manual transmission.
3.82:1 final drive ratio
The Cobalt SS's powertrain has a 3.82:1 final drive ratio, which was selected because it allows the turbocharged engine to remain in the optimal section of the torque band during shifts and while driving competitively on a racetrack. This enhances both the car's tangible performance measures and intangible fun-to-drive quotient.
PERFORMANCE-ORIENTED COCKPIT HIGHLIGHTS THE '08 COBALT SS INTERIOR
DETROIT – Every driver's element – from the highly bolstered seats to the A-pillar-mounted boost gauge – is designed to match the performance capability delivered by the 2008 Cobalt SS's 260-horsepower (194 kW) turbocharged engine and FE5 sport suspension deliver. In short, the cabin delivers maximum functionality and driver satisfaction.
The features that comprise the Cobalt SS's driver-focused interior include:
Sport seats: The Cobalt SS's seats don't just look sporty; modified seatback bolsters and "winged" bottom-cushion bolsters provide excellent support during spirited driving. The seat features contemporary, mesh-style impression cloth coverings with suede-like UltraLux inserts in the center section for additional grip. "SS" logos are embroidered on the front seats.
Contrasting interior colors, including Ebony, Victory Red and Light Grey, contribute to the sporty look and are offered in SS-only combinations. Color-matched door panel inserts complete the theme. The rear seat is trimmed to match the front seats and features enhanced bolster styling to also match the front seats.
Shifter: Compared with other Cobalt models equipped with a manual transmission, the SS features a shifter that has shorter throws between gears and a more precise feel.
No-lift shift: An algorithm in the engine's controller allows upshifts to be performed very quickly without lifting the throttle.
Steering: The Cobalt SS has a quicker-acting, more precise steering system consisting of a modified steering knuckle and a new steering gear (14.8:1 ratio).
160-mph speedometer: A unique instrument panel gauge cluster is standard; it includes a 160-mph readout (255 km/h) illustrated with large, easy-to-view graphics.
A-pillar gauge: In what is now a signature feature of models with the turbocharged 2.0L Ecotec, the Cobalt SS comes with a standard A-pillar-mounted turbo boost gauge.
Driver Information Center: The standard Driver Information Center located in the gauge cluster allows the driver to engage several SS-specific features, including a "competition" mode that is designed for closed-course performance driving and adjusts chassis controls (including turning off traction control) in controlled driving conditions. A launch control function is part of the competition mode and enables consistent acceleration performance.
Additional changes: SS-specific satin nickel trim accents the cabin, enhancing the distinctive and performance-oriented theme of the SS's driver environment.