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.