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2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Coupe Preview

2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Coupe Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2007
Critical Knowledge:
  • Engineered and developed by GM Performance Division

  • 2.0-liter turbocharged 260-hp powerplant

  • 5-speed short-throw manual transmission

  • 18-inch forged aluminum wheels

  • Brembo fixed-caliper front disc brakes

  • Holds class record at Germany's famed N�rburgring racetrack

  • Available mid-2008


Introduction
New for 2008, the turbocharged 2008 Cobalt SS Coupe replaces the supercharged 2007 Cobalt SS Coupe as the performance leader in Chevrolet's Cobalt lineup. Developed by the GM Performance Division (GMPD), the Cobalt SS is a compact coupe highly upgraded with powertrain and chassis enhancements similar to those found on Chevrolet's performance-oriented HHR SS. Once the mechanicals were in place, engineers refined the Cobalt SS Coupe on racetracks throughout North America and Europe. The result: The turbocharged 2008 Cobalt SS Coupe set a new track record for front-drive sport compact cars on Germany's famed N�rburgring racing circuit setting.

Model Lineup
Available only as a 2-door for the 2008 model year, the performance-oriented 5-passenger Cobalt SS Coupe has been designed to deliver maximum functionality and driver satisfaction through premium features and refinement. The "high performance" theme is represented both inside and out. The driver and front passenger seats offer bolsters and "winged" bottom cushions designed to hold the occupant in place during spirited driving. The upholstery is a contemporary, mesh-style impression cloth with suede-like UltraLux inserts for additional grip. Interior colors contrast, contributing to the sporty interior appearance. The instrument panel, unique to the SS model, features a 160-mph readout and large, easy-to-view graphics. To the left of the driver, a turbo boost gauge has been mounted on the A-pillar. SS-specific satin nickel trim accents the cabin to enhance the distinctiveness and reinforce the performance-oriented theme of this model.

Standard on the 2008 Cobalt SS Coupe is a Driver Information Center. Located in the gauge cluster, the switches are designed to allow the driver to engage several SS-specific features. These include a "competition mode" for closed-course driving, and chassis controls-including the ability to defeat the traction control. Unique to the Cobalt SS Coupe is a "launch control" function that enables consistent acceleration performance.
The exterior of the Cobalt SS Coupe is distinguished from other models by a new front splitter with integrated projector-beam fog lamps and a diamond-mesh appearance. The body sides are adorned by special rockers while the rear of the SS features a prominent bright-tip exhaust outlet. A rear deck lid spoiler is standard with a high "racecar-look" wing-style spoiler optional. Standard safety features include front and head curtain side-impact air bags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control.

Hardware
The 2008 Cobalt SS Coupe was designed for maximum competitiveness on the racetrack. The engine is an all-aluminum, 2.0-liter, turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder. With direct ignition and a standard air-to-air intercooler, the engine is rated at 260 hp with an available 260 lb.-ft. of torque. The standard transmission is a special short-throw 5-speed manual with a "No-Lift shift" feature. No-Lift shift adds a special algorithm to the engine's controller to allow upshifts to be performed without lifting the throttle. According to Chevrolet, the result is 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds with a top speed in excess of 160 mph.

Disc brakes are standard at all four wheels. The front brakes are manufactured by Brembo, and are of a performance-oriented fixed-caliper design over a large ventilated disc. The rear brakes are also ventilated for better heat dissipation. Polished 5-spoke forged 18-inch aluminum wheels, with special performance tires, are standard.

Tuned Suspension
The 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Coupe is equipped with an FE5 sport suspension system. Starting with an independent front MacPherson strut system, chassis engineers added SS-specific gas-charged twin-tube struts, unique steering knuckles with optimized geometry, 27 N/mm linear coil springs, and a solid 24-mm stabilizer bar. The rear suspension features a semi-trailing twist beam axle with monotube gas-charged shocks. A 24-mm stabilizer bar, stiffer axle bushings, and multi-rate coil springs complete the package.

Engineers addressed torque steer and axle hop-common concerns with high-performance front-wheel-drive vehicles-by tuning the chassis to mitigate these conditions. Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control and traction control are standard. A limited-slip differential is on the options list. The suspension elements give the Cobalt SS Coupe a surprisingly agile ride with excellent handling, according to the manufacturer. The Cobalt SS Coupe is capable of a maximum lateral acceleration rate of .9 g.

Technology
A recent engine advancement finding its way into production automobiles is called direct ignition. Engineers at Chevrolet applied this technology to the engine in the 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Coupe to help it produce more power while using less fuel. Most cars offer port-injection engines with fuel injectors mounted in the intake manifold. With direct ignition, the fuel is delivered directly into the combustion chamber to allow a more complete burn of the air/fuel mixture. The direct-ignition system uses special high-pressure fuel pumps to take fuel directly to cylinder-head-mounted fuel injectors. The fuel is precisely metered and then delivered into the combustion chamber as atomized droplets-this optimizing of the combustion process is credited with increasing horsepower and reducing fuel consumption.

More information on the 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe
Ratings for the 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe
Photos of the 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe
Read More Previews
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