Chevrolet Cobalt SS

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Chevrolet Cobalt SS
ManufacturerGeneral Motors
Also calledChevrolet Cobalt
AssemblyLordstown, Ohio, United States[1]
PredecessorChevrolet Cavalier Z24/LS Sport
ClassSport compact
Body style(s)2-door coupe
4-door sedan[nb 1]
LayoutFF layout
PlatformGM Delta platform
Engine(s)2 L (1998 cc, 122 cu in)
2 L (1998 cc, 122 cu in)
Turbo LNF I4
2.4 L (2376 cc, 145 cu in)
LE5 I4
Transmission(s)5-speed F35 manual
5-speed Getrag F23 manual
4-speed 4T45 automatic
Curb weight2,815 lb - 3,001 lb
(1,277 kg - 1,361 kg)
RelatedChevrolet HHR
Pontiac G5
Saturn Ion
Opel Astra
ManualsService Manual

The Chevrolet Cobalt SS is a sport compact high performance version of the Chevrolet Cobalt, featuring three inline-4 Ecotec engines, built on the General Motors Delta platform. The car debuted with a 205 hp (153 kW) supercharged 2.0 L engine in late 2004, the only transmission option being the F35 manual of GM Europe. The engine had been first introduced one model year prior on the Saturn Ion Red Line. For 2006, a naturally-aspirated Cobalt SS with both automatic and manual transmission options was one of three Delta cars to carry GM's new 2.4 L,171 hp (128 kW) engine. A second 2.0 L engine exclusively mated to the F35, with power upped to 260 hp (194 kW) by way of a turbocharger, revived the Cobalt SS in the second quarter of 2008 after a brief hiatus (See timeline).

The powertrain of the Cobalt SS has received generally positive reviews, especially the turbocharged version, but the car has been criticized for poor interior quality and exterior styling that is too reminiscent of its predecessor, the Chevrolet Cavalier.[2] The Super Sport moniker had not been used on the Cavalier, a compact built on the widely used and now obsolete J platform. Though the car was produced until 2005, it saw its most powerful trim, the Z24 featuring a 2.4 L 150 hp (112 kW) engine, cancelled in 2002 as GM prepared to phase out the platform.[3] Chevrolet will end production of the Cobalt within a few years and replace it with the European-developed Cruze after producing the two simultaneously for the North American market, but a high performance version to directly replace the Cobalt SS has not yet been announced, nor any possible powertrains.[4]

Model details


The first Cobalt SS was launched in 2004 as a 2005 model with a new powertrain that had debuted one year earlier on the Saturn ION Red Line. It was available as a Supercharged coupe only.[5] The naturally-aspirated 2.4 L LE5 engine was the next SS to launch in late 2005 as a 2006 model.[6] However in late 2007, at the same time the announcement cancelling the SS Supercharged was made, GM also announced that the 2.4 L would be renamed "Cobalt Sport", but would be identical to the former SS vehicle. Like the supercharged car, the 2.0 L LNF turbocharged Cobalt launched in the second quarter of 2008 was initially available only as a coupe until a sedan option was offered for the 2009 model year. For its run from 2006-2008, the 2.4 L Cobalt was available as both a coupe and sedan.[7]

All three models of the Cobalt SS feature four wheel, anti-lock disc brakes. Compared to the base Cobalt, the SS has lower front and rear fascias for a more aggressive look with integrated foglamps, side rocker moldings, interior accents, and a chrome exhaust tip. Exclusive to the 2.0 L Cobalt are a titanium-faced sport analogue cluster with a 160 mph (260 km/h) speedometer, an A-pillar mounted boost gauge, reclining front bucket seats with two-tone leather-appointed seating surfaces, vertical adjusting head restraints and driver-side lumbar and height adjusters, and a sport-tuned F35 suspension with a 24 mm front stabilizer bar and 22 mm rear stabilizer bar.[8]

SS Supercharged

Available as a coupe only, the SS Supercharged featured the 2.0 L LSJ Ecotec engine with an Eaton M62 Roots type supercharger and air-to-liquid intercooler.[2] The engine makes 205 hp (153 kW) at 5600 rpm and 200 lb·ft (271 N·m) at 4400 rpm.[8] 18-inch broad-spoke wheels with P215/45R18 all-season Pirelli tires are standard. Optional for the LSJ was a performance package coded G85 that added Recaro bucket seats and a limited slip differential (LSD). The G85 option continues in the LNF Cobalt, but adds only the LSD. The car has become notable for a high profile spoiler that was standard in 2005, but optional from 2007 when a lower profile spoiler used on all other Cobalt coupes became an option.[9]

Supercharged coupe with standard high profile decklid spoiler

GM offers dealer-installed performance upgrade packages called "stage kits" that are covered by factory warranty.[10] The Stage 1 kit consists of new fuel injectors and a reprogram of the ECU, and yields up to a 30 hp (22 kW) improvement.[11] The Stage 2 kit consists of new fuel injectors and the same reprogram with a smaller serpentine belt and pulley for the supercharger, producing a 47 hp (35 kW) improvement and 30 lb·ft (41 N·m) of torque. Both stage 1 and 2 kits increase the engine redline to 7,000 rpm.[11] The Stage 3 kit consists of a smaller, 76 mm (3 in) supercharger pulley, a 2-pass intercooler end plate and a customizable replacement ECU.[12] The Stage 3 ECU allows for the use of a 50-shot of nitrous, 100 octane fuel and an adjustable redline from 6,750 to 8,000 rpm. Stage 3 produces 248 hp (185 kW) using 93 octane fuel, up to 260 hp (194 kW) using 100 octane fuel, and much higher power with nitrous. Stage 3 is for track use only, and to emphasize this, air conditioning is disabled with the Stage 3 ECU.[12]

A problem frequently encountered with the car, due to a combination of its high torque, front drive, and short first gear is wheel hop, wheelspin and a general lack of traction.[13] The GM Performance Division later tried to rectify these problems in the turbocharged car by providing wider, stickier tires and stronger axles.[14]

SS Turbocharged

2009 Cobalt SS turbocharged coupe, clockwise from top left: reconfigurable performance display (RPD) showing boost pressure in PSI; instrument panel and Driver's Information Center (DIC); head unit with XM Satellite Radio; red/ebony interior (one of three interior color options); RPD showing spark advance.

The LSJ engine did not meet emissions requirements for the 2008 model year, and General Motors' contract with Eaton had expired.[15][7] The non-supercharged 2.4 L Cobalt SS also lost its Super Sport designation for the 2008 model year and was renamed "Sport". However, in fall 2007, a more powerful Cobalt SS was announced for the second quarter of 2008.[16] The car would be equipped with the 2.0 L, turbocharged, direct injected, VVT, LNF Ecotec engine, making 260 hp (194 kW) at 5300 rpm and 260 lb·ft (353 N·m) at 2000 rpm, and remain mated to the F35 5-speed manual transmission.[17] The engine had been introduced in a rear wheel drive application for the 2007 GM Kappa platform, which includes the Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice, and Opel GT.[18]

Also new for the 2008 SS were SS-embroidered sport seats with suede-like UltraLux inserts, several new exterior colors, and wider 18-inch (460 mm) forged, split-spoke wheels with P225/40R18 Continental AG tires, reminiscent of those offered for the Chevrolet Corvette C6.[14] The car's electronics are also new, and along with greater assist in poor traction conditions, add a "no-lift-shift" feature which allows the driver to maintain turbocharger boost during upshifts. During a no-lift-shift, the driver shifts normally by depressing the clutch, but the accelerator pedal is held wide open.[14] Also new is "launch control", which feathers the throttle at roughly 4800 rpm until engagement of the clutch, allowing more consistent launches in competitive situations. To use the feature the driver presses twice on the traction control button which first turns off traction control, and then notifies the driver through the Driver's Information Center that the launch control of Competitive Mode has been enabled. However, turbocharged Cobalt owners have found that better times can be achieved while racing when the car is manually launched. These features help propel the car from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in a class-leading 5.5 seconds, and a quarter mile time of 13.9 seconds at 102.5 mph (165.0 km/h).[19]

New for 2009 is the aforementioned four-door sedan option, as well as an optional "reconfigurable performance display" (RPD) for the coupe only.[20] The $295 option replaces the boost gauge in the A-pillar, and allows the driver manipulation of traction control, stability control, and the engagement of Competition Mode, as well as well as information regarding the car's engine torque and horsepower, g-force, boost, wideband air fuel ratio, barometric pressure, temperature, and battery voltage.[20]

2.4 L Cobalt SS coupe, standard are 17 x 7-inch (180 mm) broad spoke polished wheels with an identical design to the 18 x 7-inch (180 mm) wheels on the SS Supercharged coupe

SS Naturally-aspirated

Chevrolet introduced a naturally-aspirated Cobalt SS in the fall of 2005, as a 2006 model available as both a coupe and sedan. It featured the 2.4 L LE5 Ecotec engine with variable valve timing, making 171 hp (128 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 163 lb·ft (221 N·m) at 5000 rpm, later upped to 167 lb·ft (226 N·m) at 4500 rpm. The LE5 engine was new for 2006 and was introduced on both the FWD Delta platform and RWD Kappa platform. For the 2006 and 2007 model years the car was called SS, or "1SS", but was replaced with the moniker "Cobalt Sport" for 2008 with the anticipated introduction of the turbocharged super sport car later on in the model year.[7] For the first time, a 4-speed automatic transmission was offered, the 4T45. The 5-speed manual is also different from the Cobalt SS Supercharged, it is the Getrag F23 transmission with different ratios that is offered for the 2.2 L L61 engine in the Cobalt LS and LT.[6]

Other changes over the supercharged car are notable but not drastic; 17-inch broad-spoke wheels with narrower P205/50R17 all-season Pirelli tires are standard, as is the low profile spoiler. 2.4 L and 2.2 L Sport Package Cobalts have a 140 mph (220 km/h) speedometer) with optional white face gauges. The car rides on the FE3 suspension, superior and more sport-tuned to that of base Cobalts but less refined than the FE5 on the supercharged and turbocharged cars. Brakes are identical to the SS Supercharged.[6] The front and rear bumpers are the same, but the front lacks a lip accessory and the bottom of the rear fascia is slightly different.[6] With the negligible exception of exterior styling and some interior trims, the vehicle is identical to the Pontiac G5 GT.[21]


Cobalt SS Supercharged coupe

Reviews of the supercharged Cobalt SS have been generally positive. While critics had harsh words for the Cavalier,[22] the supercharged Cobalt was seen as an infinitely superior vehicle and a worthy entry into the tuner market in 2004. However, the general fit and finish was poor, and power levels were not up to par with other competitors. Journalist Thom Blackett said, "When compared with more contemporary cars including the Dodge Neon SRT-4 and the Subaru WRX, that SS badge seems to lose some of its luster."[23] The F35 transmission has also been deemed inferior to that in the newest of generation of Honda's Civic Si.[14] Critics also disliked the heavy wheels which negatively affected handling, as well as the spoiler which obstructed rearward visibility.[22] Speaking of the high profile aero wing, automotive journalist Alexandra Straub said, "the deck-lid spoiler was directly in my line-of-sight when looking out of the rearview mirror. It's almost like it cut everything in half."[22] Some Cobalt SS owners have traded spoilers with lower trim owners to obtain a less aggressive look, or traded the entire trunklid with Cobalt LS owners, for whom a rear spoiler is merely optional.[8] The naturally-aspirated Cobalt SS has been seen as an improvement over the base models with its slightly more potent 2.4 L engine,[7] but notably inferior to the supercharged car.[24]

Turbocharged coupe with optional high profile decklid spoiler

The 2008 turbocharged Cobalt SS has received rave reviews. John Neff of Autoblog said, "The GM Performance Division completely reworked the Cobalt SS for 2008, swapping in a more powerful turbocharged engine, upgrading the rest of the mechanicals, and tweaking the entire package on the world's most demanding race tracks, including the famed Nürburgring in Germany. The result is – and we're not kidding here – the most impressive performance car to wear a bow-tie badge on sale today." Journalists were impressed with the performance of the car in relation to the price; Neff added that the "2009 Cobalt SS Turbo is freakishly good at going fast and the best bang-for-the-buck value below $30,000."[25] Ron Kiino of Motor Trend said, "at only $22,995, the SS could stand for Super Steal."[19] The MSRP was raised to $24,095 for the 2009 model year.

Standard on the turbocharged coupe are 18 x 7.5-inch (190 mm) wheels with P225/40R18 Continental AG ContiSportContact 2 tires, and Brembo fixed-caliper front disc brakes.

The Nürburgring-tuned suspension gives the SS some of the best handling characteristics of any General Motors front wheel drive vehicle,[15] and the suspension is stiffer and more refined than the supercharged car. Since the interior is hardly changed other than the seats, those quibbles remain. Of the interior in the turbocharged sedan, Car and Driver said it "is constructed primarily of plastics cheap enough to be rejected from a Chinese toy factory; the Tata Nano probably has a fancier parking-brake lever."[26] The new Cobalt was the winner in its price class (under $30,000) of Car and Driver's 2008 Lightning Lap competition at Virginia International Raceway, ousting several cars in the $30,000-$60,000 class.[27] When compared with the Honda Civic Si, Car and Driver said, "rife as the Cobalt’s [interior] is with cheap plastics, it’s still easier on some of our eyes than Honda’s postmodern mélange," and "the Civic Si starts about $1200 less than the Cobalt SS, but that money would have to go toward some sort of aftermarket steroids if the Civic Si is to keep pace with the new Cobalt SS."[28] When compared to the similarly powered and turbocharged 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT-4, they said, "What these cars don’t share is torque steer, something that makes the Caliber SRT4 nearly undrivable at full tilt but is pretty well eliminated by suspension and power-steering tuning in the Cobalt SS. And the Dodge features neither launch control nor no-lift shifting."[29]

See also


  1. The sedan body style was not available for the 2.0 LSJ supercharged engine from 2005-2007. It was not available for the 2008 Cobalt SS turbocharged, but was available for 2009.


  1. The Vindicator (2006-01-05). Cobalt ranks second in sales. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-09-20. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 BusinessWeek (2005-12-28). 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  3. Consumer Guide Automotive (2005-12-28). 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  4. Autoblog (2008-08-21). GM announces $350 million for Lordstown plant to bulid Chevy Cruze. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-30. 
  5. The Vindicator (2004-04-01). Chevrolet Hopes to Draw Young Consumers with New Fast, Powerful Car.. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 General Motors. 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-18. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "2008 Chevrolet Cobalt Review". 2007. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 General Motors. 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt: An all-new premium compact car. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  9. General Motors. 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-28. 
  10. AutoWeek (2005-09-05). Super boosted Chevys; supercharger kits push Cobalt to next stage. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-28. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 General Motors (2006-04-06). 2.0L Ecotec gets a boost from GM Performance Parts' Stage Kits. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-28. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Cobalt SS Stage 3 Q&A". Retrieved on 2008-10-28. 
  13. Gardner, Andrew (2006-03-21). "Cobalt SS Supercharged Provides Fantastic Four-Banger Fun". Retrieved on 2008-10-14. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Nunez, Alex (2007-10-27). "Officially Official: 2008 Chevy Cobalt SS Turbo with 260 HP bows at SEMA". Autoblog. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Johnson, Erik (2008). "2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS - First Drive Review". Car and Driver. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  16. The Vindicator (2008-01-19). Local GM plant begins work on new Cobalt SS. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  17. General Motors. Powertrain enhancements bring segment-leading fuel economy and new Cobalt SS sedan debuts. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  18. General Motors. 2007 Pontiac Solstice. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Kiino, Ron (2008). "Quick Test: 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS". Motor Trend. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Gale, Zach (2008-08-26). "GM's Reconfigurable Performance Display an option for '09 Cobalt SS and HHR SS". Motor Trend. Retrieved on 2008-10-13. 
  21. Gold, Aaron (2007). "2007 Pontiac G5 GT Test Drive". Retrieved on 2008-10-28. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Straub, Alexandra (2005-09-15). "2005 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Road Test". Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  23. Blackett, Thom (2005). "Chevy is anything but cavalier with its new supercharged coupe". Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  24. "2007 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged Road Test". 2006. Retrieved on 2008-10-27. 
  25. Neff, John (2008-10-13). "In the Autobog Garage: 2009 Chevy Cobalt SS Turbo production" (in English) (HTML). Autoblog. Retrieved on 2008-10-15. "The result is – and we're not kidding here – the most impressive performance car to wear a bow-tie badge on sale today." 
  26. Gall, Jared (2008). "2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Sedan - Short Take Road Test". Car and Driver. Retrieved on 2008-11-12. 
  27. Car and Driver (2008). LL1: 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS; The Lightning Lap, 2008. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  28. Car and Driver (2008). 2008 Honda Civic Si. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 
  29. Car and Driver (2008). 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-10-10. 

External links