Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

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Thread: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

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    News Contributor 91 s-10baja's Avatar
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    Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

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    By John Huffman
    Date posted: 01-19-2005




    With the new 2005 Cobalt SS Supercharged, Chevrolet has created something truly unique: The sport compact muscle car. By size and specification it's a sport compact, but by temperament and ability it's a good old American muscle car.

    The Cobalt replaces the archaic Cavalier in Chevy's lineup and it's on the same "Delta" front-wheel-drive platform as Saturn's Ion. Chevy, however, uses steel body panels and gives the Cobalt coupe just two doors instead of the Ion Quad Coupe's four. Also like the Ion, all Cobalts have a MacPherson strut front suspension, a semi-independent torsion beam in the rear and electrically assisted rack and pinion steering.

    Although the Cobalt SS Supercharged shares these basic elements, it's powered by a 205-horsepower, supercharged 2.0-liter Ecotec four-cylinder and uses the same five-speed manual as a Saab 9-3. Ordinary Cobalt coupes and sedans are powered by a normally aspirated 145-hp, 2.2-liter Ecotec backed by a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. And to make things even more confusing, a non-supercharged SS model with a normally aspirated 2.4-liter Ecotec will debut in mid-2005 as a 2006 model. It will be available as a coupe or sedan.

    SS models also get four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, an interior with standard leather upholstery and phony metal trim instead of phony wood, a mild body kit, an oversize rear wing and cool-looking 18-inch wheels wrapped in P215/45R18 Pirelli PZero tires. The only significant option is a performance package bundling an effective limited-slip differential with truly great Recaro front seats. Don't buy a Cobalt SS without them.

    Sizewise the Cobalt SS Supercharged, which is only available as a coupe, is barely small. It's 5.1 inches longer and 1.3 inches wider than a Honda Civic Coupe. However, the Cobalt's 103.3-inch wheelbase is just 0.2 inch longer than the Civic's.

    At nearly 3,000 pounds the Cobalt SS isn't light either, and it feels heavy on the road. Plus its acceleration is tempered by those big, heavy (25 pounds each) wheels. Chevy says it will trail the Ion Red Line, which is powered by the same supercharged engine, in the quarter-mile by two-tenths of a second.

    To put the muscle car thing in perspective, however, consider that the Cobalt SS Supercharged weighs less than a five-speed 1987 IROC-Z, and almost matches the output of the Camaro's 5.0-liter V8. Fact is the Cobalt SS is likely quicker than the IROC, although it'll get spanked by a 230-hp, turbocharged Dodge Neon SRT-4 which costs about the same.

    The Cobalt SS also drives much like that old Camaro, and we mean that as a compliment, mostly. It tracks beautifully, pulls hard through corners and its electric steering has a heavy, numb feel reminiscent of the third-generation F-body. That kind of steering worked in heavy muscle cars cranking Huey Lewis and the News, but the 2005 tuner market wants, and expects, improved feel and feedback.

    With its excellent torque down low (its peak is 200 pound-feet at 4,400 rpm), the supercharged Ecotec even feels like a small V8, pulling with authority. It would be nice if it sounded like a V8, but blower whine has an appeal of its own.

    We're also fond of the Cobalt SS' stiff structure, and its firmly tuned suspension that produces a tight ride and flat cornering. On some California mountain roads the Cobalt SS proved to be an entertaining drive, but there's a bit too much understeer dialed into the chassis. This is partly due to its beam rear suspension, but it's really a balance issue. One look under the hood and you can see how the engine actually sits in front of the axle line, putting too much weight too far forward.

    Inside, the Cobalt SS is straightforward and attractive, but it still suffers from quality lapses in part fitment and plastic casting flash. The dials are easy to read, the AutoMeter boost gauge is a neat touch and the steering wheel and shift knob are encased in leather. Carrying on the Camaro tradition, the rear seat is tight.

    If Chevy is going to build a mini-muscle machine, it ought to embrace the concept more completely: Drop the vision-blocking rear spoiler in favor of a classic Camaro ducktail and throw on some rally stripes. The $21,995 Cobalt SS Supercharged may use parts from around the world but its feel is as American as the Super Bowl. And that is something unique.

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    Last edited by Branden; 01-25-2005 at 07:52 PM. Reason: Fix Title
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    4.4 Liter Supercharged Northstar dav305z's Avatar
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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a little Muscle car..

    Sometimes when I'm writing a college paper, I figure out exactly what I want to write, and then just find research that seems to support my predetermined thesis. That's what really seems to be going on here. The guy thought, hmm, wouldn't it be a cool angle if I compared the Cobalt to the Camaro? While testing it, he pulled out inane bits of supporting fact - like that its handling feels like a third gen, and that it pulls the same way. Right I don't know what this car drives like personally, but I think its safe to say that this small 205 HP FWD car does not feel much like a big, 300+HP RWD live axle car. Just isn't likely.
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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a little Muscle car..

    Not to take anything away from the Cobalt, but I don't think it was first to the sport compact muscle car punch. I still think it's a great little car though. And no, I haven't driven one, but 200+hp in a Cobalt sized vehicle with a good looking interior and attractive coupe, it's a powerful little car.
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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a little Muscle car..

    Quote Originally Posted by dav305z
    Sometimes when I'm writing a college paper, I figure out exactly what I want to write, and then just find research that seems to support my predetermined thesis. That's what really seems to be going on here. The guy thought, hmm, wouldn't it be a cool angle if I compared the Cobalt to the Camaro? While testing it, he pulled out inane bits of supporting fact - like that its handling feels like a third gen, and that it pulls the same way. Right I don't know what this car drives like personally, but I think its safe to say that this small 205 HP FWD car does not feel much like a big, 300+HP RWD live axle car. Just isn't likely.
    Well, an '87 IROC-Z had only 190hp...



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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a little Muscle car..

    Quote Originally Posted by Smaart Aas Saabr
    Well, an '87 IROC-Z had only 190hp...
    Yes, but how much torque?

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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

    another baised review. why dont they complain about the lancer eveolution rear wing, or the suburu wrx wing, no when chevy puts one out there is a problem. haha

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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

    Quote Originally Posted by 91 s-10baja
    And to make things even more confusing, a non-supercharged SS model with a normally aspirated 2.4-liter Ecotec will debut in mid-2005 as a 2006 model. It will be available as a coupe or sedan.[/url]
    They ARE going to make the SS Sedan? Am I the only one that didn't know that? that is awesome!...I love the SS Sedan!!!
    Last edited by GM_Fanatic; 01-25-2005 at 10:05 PM.

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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

    I love the SS in general. I'm really looking forward for them being at the dealerships.

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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

    Yawn, for 22K I would hope for more than 200HP in a 3000lbs car. Hell my '79 Camaro only weighs 500 more. The "rally stripe" Idea is really lame, there is no way around the fact that GM doesn't make a Camaro anymore.

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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

    i dont want a comaro feel alike i want the real deal **************** it!!

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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

    the 87 Iroc Z28 with the L98 had 245HP.... L98= 350ci the 305 version was 190HP though. (a friend of mine has an 87 Iroc Z/28 it came with a factory 350TPI engine)
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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

    My buddy's 1985 Z28 (305 TPI) got smoked by a Taurus SHO
    that was pulling a jetski once. Now that was humiliating.
    Turbocharged 4.3 S10

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    Thumbs up Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

    I usually knock the GM suits block off but for once they did it right. This is a fine little car. Now it just came out so you have to wait and see on the quality issue but if the quality is there this car is can go head to head with Civic/Corolla and the SS blows the Si/XRS/TC away, period. I hope this is where they are taking the rest of the Chevy auto lineup in the future.

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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

    I like the cobalt SS. Unforunately the interior to me is a letdown and seems really cheap/lowquality. A live axle is also unacceptable when you compare it to its competition and price point. for 21k I would expect an IRS. Mini, focus, civic, Mazda3, TC, all have it.

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    Re: Cobalt SS Supercharged: Chevy builds a Little Muscle Car

    Quote Originally Posted by DemonKnightDK
    the 87 Iroc Z28 with the L98 had 245HP.... L98= 350ci the 305 version was 190HP though. (a friend of mine has an 87 Iroc Z/28 it came with a factory 350TPI engine)
    The TPI 305 actually was rated @225HP when equiped with a manual T-5 tranny. GM detuned the 305 for use with the 700-R4 transmission. Comparing the two cars is useless. The cobalt is 20 years newer and is supercharged. If you adjust a '87 IROC MSRP for inflation its actually around the same price as a Cobalt, just a whole lot more car.

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