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http://www.yourcobalt.com/photoplog/images/2/medium/1_cobalt-ss-430-0308.jpgBUTTONWILLOW, Calif. — It’s hard for many of us to see a Chevy Cobalt as a real performance car—even when it’s wearing low-profile tires, a body kit and a big rear wing. But swing the 2008 Cobalt SS into a 100-mph sweeper at the raceway here, and some of those preconceptions blow right out the window.

The new SS differs from the previous supercharged SS in a number of significant ways: For 2008, the Cobalt gets a turbocharged version of the 2.0-liter Ecotec four, complete with direct fuel injection and a relatively high 9.2:1 compression ratio.

This combination provides a high specific output (260 hp at 5300 rpm and 260 lb.-ft of torque from 2000 rpm) with rather economical performance—Chevy is claiming 22 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. Controlled by an electronic wastegate, the Borg-Warner twin-scroll turbo supplies boost at very low revs, yet can pump as much as 22 psi when required for maximum power.

And the results are impressive: If you can avoid excessive wheelspin off the line (difficult even with the optional Torsen limited-slip diff installed), the new Cobalt SS will snarl to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Because of the rapid arrival of boost and the likelihood of wheelspin, GM has fitted the SS with a launch control system. Simply tap the Stabilitrak button twice for the competitive mode, wait for the words “launch control” to appear on the info panel, and you’re set.

Standing on the throttle gets you a surging response that tops out at no more than 5100 rpm. Then you can release the clutch normally for a run down the strip that will result in times to 60 mph within a few tenths of Chevy’s claim. And check this out: As you’re ripping through the gears, there’s no need to pull off the throttle, thanks to the Cobalt’s no-lift shift capability that allows full-throttle shifts. All you hear is a crackling exhaust note as the electronics cut power, then it’s back on the gas to the red line.

Direct injection, launch control, and no-lift shift on a Chevy Cobalt? What’s going on? Well, it doesn’t end there. This cheeky new Chevy has a chassis tuned on the famous Nurburgring’s Nordschleife (northern loop), resulting in the adoption of a new front suspension knuckle, monotube Sachs rear shocks, specially valved Delphi struts, 30-percent stiffer springs and beefed-up stabilizer bars.

To keep a rein on the spunky turbo 2.0-liter, Chevy engineers adopted Brembo four-piston fixed calipers on 12.4-in. vented rotors on the front wheels. In combination with a firm pedal feel, the system worked great in all circumstances.

As a result of all this tuning, the little Cobalt performs like a serious race car at the track. It turns in predictably and clings to the line with a tenacity that speaks volumes for its 225/40ZR-18 Continental Sportcontact 2 summer tires. (The company claims 0.9g of skidpad grip.) Left-right transitions can be finessed beautifully by throttle and steering sequences that allow the car to rotate and then drive out of bends with no lost effort thanks to the Torsen diff and Stabilitrak system. The diff sends torque to the wheel with the most grip, while the traction control system gently brakes the wheel wanting to spin.

The Cobalt chassis team discovered that the suspension worked better on the Nordschleife with somewhat less rebound control than initially estimated, but with firmer spring and stabilizer bar rates. The result is a reasonable ride out in the real world, with plenty of body-motion control for fast track or road work. We circulated at Buttonwillow with the Stabilitrak system in “competitive mode,” where it was completely unnoticeable unless the driver seriously overcooked a corner.

And here’s something to write home about: The electric power steering system feels more natural than the one in Toyota’s Corolla. Plus, the supportive seats, with their grippy ultrasuede inserts, are trumped only by the Pontiac G8 in GM’s sporty car lineup.

While we considered the cable-operated gearshift mechanism a bit stiff and balky for our taste, that concern disappeared on the track, where all control inputs tend to be firm and decisive. It certainly facilitated double-clutched downshifts with no problems. Besides, the cars were all low-mileage examples, so perhaps the linkage will lighten up with use.

The Cobalt SS was called a compact musclecar in its previous iteration, and while you might have argued with that appellation at that time, you have to admit that there isn’t a better way to describe this one. At $22,995, it’s a performance bargain. —Barry Winfield







Original Article:
2008 Chevy Cobalt SS Test Drive: 260-hp Barnstormer Is GM's Best Sport Compact Ever - Popular Mechanics
 

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/me in heaven
 

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i love the seats thats about the only thing i like about the car
 

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What's not to like? It's a badass car...

People on cobaltss.net do this too, the anti-SS/TC group. Stupid if you ask me, they're all Cobalts and this is the new king.
whats so amazing about a car you cant mod..? the only way to get more horse power out of this car is if you install a larger turbo, trans, intercooler, intercooler piping, and tune. dont even get me started on tuning.."609 parameters good lord what a nightmare" why do you think hahn has had nothing but problems with there solstice. its maxed out from the factory.. thats why there are NO stage kits .. NON.. its not even a future option.
look at the facts.
 

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whats so amazing about a car you cant mod..? the only way to get more horse power out of this car is if you install a larger turbo, trans, intercooler, intercooler piping, and tune. dont even get me started on tuning.."609 parameters good lord what a nightmare" why do you think hahn has had nothing but problems with there solstice. its maxed out from the factory.. thats why there are NO stage kits .. NON.. its not even a future option.
look at the facts.
What's so amazing about a car you can't mod?! huh?
You just said yourself; turbo, trans, intercooler, intercooler piping, and tune.... what are those? downgrades?
Some people are perfectly happy with a car that is fast and stock.
I see there being one major issue with upgrades on the SS/TC and that is the transmission. It is only rated for a few hp more then the horsepower of the motor. Once that gets fixed (stronger, upgraded, or just a new one all together) then I can see upgrades being a factory option but till the I don't think it'll happen.
IMO I'd give the car a year or two and then buy it... Let GM work all the kinks out.
 

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What's so amazing about a car you can't mod?! huh?
You just said yourself; turbo, trans, intercooler, intercooler piping, and tune.... what are those? downgrades?
Some people are perfectly happy with a car that is fast and stock.
I see there being one major issue with upgrades on the SS/TC and that is the transmission. It is only rated for a few hp more then the horsepower of the motor. Once that gets fixed (stronger, upgraded, or just a new one all together) then I can see upgrades being a factory option but till the I don't think it'll happen.
IMO I'd give the car a year or two and then buy it... Let GM work all the kinks out.
Even with all of those upgrades good luck. The direct injection has created quite a few problems for tuners. So far the only real effective mods for the Solstice/Sky guys are intercooler upgrades. I have talked to a few at the track already this year that have picked up 20-30hp by upgrading that which is a very nice pick up. Of course, you don't have to tune for that so that's why it works. They are all really cussing the ECU though because the amount of fuel parameters alone is just absurd.

As it stands right now, the LNF has not proven to be a great tuner platform and keep in mind it's been around a while just not stateside. Unless something ground breaking happens as it stands right now the LSJ is still the superior tuning platform. If you want out of the box performance though you'd be silly not to look at the LNF.

I do wish they would have restyled it though.
 

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I think they could've done a few things but over all I like how the cobalt looks. They should've done some remodeling to the SS at least to make it stand out (besides the wing)
 

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Even with all of those upgrades good luck. The direct injection has created quite a few problems for tuners. So far the only real effective mods for the Solstice/Sky guys are intercooler upgrades. I have talked to a few at the track already this year that have picked up 20-30hp by upgrading that which is a very nice pick up. Of course, you don't have to tune for that so that's why it works. They are all really cussing the ECU though because the amount of fuel parameters alone is just absurd.

As it stands right now, the LNF has not proven to be a great tuner platform and keep in mind it's been around a while just not stateside. Unless something ground breaking happens as it stands right now the LSJ is still the superior tuning platform. If you want out of the box performance though you'd be silly not to look at the LNF.

I do wish they would have restyled it though.

609 parameters. lulz
 

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Time to sell my 07 sssc to get the new sstc is all I got to say. I love it. The only thing I don't like is no leather seats yet. I know not full race but hey I have an acual dragster for that. My cobalt is simply my daily comute vehicle with class and I love cobalts. I am planning on trading mine in this fall to get a good deal when they clearence out the 08 cars. On second thought I might wate till next fall and get a 09 car. I am sure there will be bugs with the new engine set up that will need to be worked out. I only have 2000 miles on my car. It is extremly pampered but I work very hard and shelled out alot of cash for it so I try to take the best care and keep it nice. This new car commimg out kind of breaks my heart in a way I saved and wated forever to get my 07sssc to have the top cobalt with every option. Now there something even better. Oh well that just the way it goes I guess. Catch you all later.
 

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What's not to like? It's a badass car...

People on cobaltss.net do this too, the anti-SS/TC group. Stupid if you ask me, they're all Cobalts and this is the new king.
A lot of SS/SC owners are getting upset cause now they dont have the fastest class cobalts. They are like the dreaded 2.2 owners now...trying to keep up with the faster Cobalt...lol
 

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A lot of SS/SC owners are getting upset cause now they dont have the fastest class cobalts. They are like the dreaded 2.2 owners now...trying to keep up with the faster Cobalt...lol
et to Nugz? I expected a better response from you.

I think a lot of Cobalt owners in general know the truth and it might be some sore 2.2 owners that are getting over zealous about the LNF that are kind of looking silly right now. Look at the facts, you aren't going to be seeing 350hp LNF cobalts anytime soon or ever probably. 600 fuel parameters, an insanely stupid torque management system, and a small turbo alone are strikes against the cars. Of course turbos can be upgraded, but it sort of takes away the argument that it's an easy upgrade.

Also what is there to keep up with? With mounts alone the LSJ will be as fast if not faster then the LSJ balt. with a small pulley upgrade, good tune, and some spray it will be faster then the LNF cobalt will probably ever be in the quartermile.

Don't take my word for it though, according to blackbalt I don't know my ass from a hole in the ground, so go ask guys like Whit, NJHK, black06 and those guys who have done more for the Cobalt then anyone else has. They will tell you the same thing. Hell even GM says no stage kits.
 

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et to Nugz? I expected a better response from you.

I think a lot of Cobalt owners in general know the truth and it might be some sore 2.2 owners that are getting over zealous about the LNF that are kind of looking silly right now. Look at the facts, you aren't going to be seeing 350hp LNF cobalts anytime soon or ever probably. 600 fuel parameters, an insanely stupid torque management system, and a small turbo alone are strikes against the cars. Of course turbos can be upgraded, but it sort of takes away the argument that it's an easy upgrade.

Also what is there to keep up with? With mounts alone the LSJ will be as fast if not faster then the LSJ balt. with a small pulley upgrade, good tune, and some spray it will be faster then the LNF cobalt will probably ever be in the quartermile.

Don't take my word for it though, according to blackbalt I don't know my ass from a hole in the ground, so go ask guys like Whit, NJHK, black06 and those guys who have done more for the Cobalt then anyone else has. They will tell you the same thing. Hell even GM says no stage kits.
I agree about the 2.2 owners. I honestly could care less about the LNF, I'm not going to be able to afford it any time soon. Plus I've already promised myself I will never buy another GM car. But I know 5 SS/SC owners in my general area that don't have any upgrades at all and are excited about the LNF but are disappointed about it being faster than theirs. They have families and tons of bills (Bay Area living is very expensive) They have stock SS's cause they don't make enough money to do upgrades. Not everyone can afford to spray and tune. Im not referring to every single SS/SC owner. Just speaking from my personal experience with group of SS/SC owners that I know and what they told me. I guess I could have mentioned that.

And regardless of what Blackbalt says...I know better, and Im sure that everyone else here does too.
 
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