The Chevy Cobalt SS (Super Sport) was first released in 2004 as a 2005 model. This Cobalt featured a supercharged, inline four cylinder, 2.0 liter Ecotec engine mated to a F35 five-speed transmission from GM’s European division. SS Supercharged Cobalts were only available as coupes and came with an Eaton M62 Roots supercharger. With no modifications these engines produced 205 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. GM did offer “stage kits” though, which were dealer installed and added performance. The stage 1 kit added larger fuel injectors and reprogrammed the engine control unit (ECU) adding up to 30 horsepower (hp). The stage 2 kit was the same as the stage 1 with the addition of a smaller serpentine belt and a smaller pulley for the supercharger. This added up to 47 hp and 30 lb-ft of torque. Both the stage 1 and stage 2 kits increased the engines redline to 7000 RPMs. Finally, the stage 3 kit consisted of a smaller supercharger pulley, a 2-pass intercooler end plate, and a customizable ECU. The stage 3 kit’s ECU allowed for the use of a 50-shot of nitrous, 100 octane fuel, and made the redline adjustable from 6750 to 8000. With 93 octane fuel the engine produced 248 hp without nitrous and 298 while using nitrous. If you used 100 octane fuel the engine would produce 260 hp w/o nitrous and 310 with it. In 2005 there was also an available limited slip differential (LSD) which became standard in 2006 and newer models. Also in 2005 the high profile spoiler was standard, but in 2007 it was made optional. Recaro racing seats were also optional and replaced the all leather seats with colored inserts. In 2008 GM’s contract with Eaton had expired and the Ecotec engine did not meet emissions requirements, so production of the SS supercharged was halted.
A year later a naturally aspirated Cobalt SS was released as a 2006 model and was available as a coupe or sedan. The SS’s engine was larger, a 2.4 liter Ecotec, but produced 34 less hp because it had no supercharger. The Cobalt SS was renamed the Cobalt Sport in 2008 because Chevy planned on releasing a Cobalt SS Turbocharged later in the year. The 5 speed manual transmission is different than the SS Supercharged and turbocharged 5 speeds, and the SS/sport was the only model of the SS’s to have an automatic transmission (a 4 speed 4T45 transmission). Some other differences between the SS/sport and the SS Supercharged were 17 inch broad spoke wheels, FE3 suspension, optional white faced gauges, there is no lip on the front bumper, and the bottom of the rear bumper is slightly different. The Supercharged had 18 inch broad spoke wheels, an FE5 suspension, black faced gauges, and front and rear bumper lips. The brakes on the SS/sport and the SS Supercharged are exactly the same. The SS/sport was also notably slower than the SS Supercharged and SS Turbocharged cars.
In the fall of 2007, the Cobalt SS Turbocharged was first announced to be released in the second quarter of 2008. The turbocharged engine would be a 2.0 liter, Direct injected, Variable-valve timing, Ecotec. This engine put out 260 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and kept the same F35 5-speed transmission. New for 2008 was SS embroidered sport seats with suede like inserts and red/ebony or grey/ebony color options, new exterior colors, and wider 18 inch wheels with a split spoke design. Also new for the cobalt was the “no-lift shift”, which allowed the driver to hold the accelerator all the way down while depressing the clutch to shift. There was also a new “launch control” which held the engine at about 4800 RPMs until the clutch is engaged, this was enabled by pressing the traction control button twice. A sedan version of the SS Turbocharged was released in 2009 and GM also made an optional reconfigurable performance display (RPD). The RPD replaced the boost gauge on the A-pillar and allowed the driver to manage traction control, stability control, and competition mode. The RPD also displayed horsepower, torque, G-force, boost, air to fuel ratio, barometric pressure, temperature and battery voltage. In 2010 the RPD was made standard and so was a sunroof but interior color options and the sedan model were dropped. GM only offered a stage 1 kit for the SS Turbocharged which raised the hp to 280 and the torque to 320 lb-ft. The kit could be installed by the owner but later had to be taken to a GM dealer for reconfiguration of the engine control unit (ECU).
The SS Supercharged and Turbocharged were both very fast cars for what class they are in but the naturally aspirated SS lagged sufficiently. The SS Supercharged went 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, did the ¼ mile in 14.4 seconds at 100 MPH and its top speed was 158 MPH (govt. limited). The SS Turbocharged was even faster going 0-60 in 5.5 seconds and did a ¼ mile in 13.9 seconds at 103 MPH, and its top speed was limited at 155 MPH. The naturally aspirated SS went 0-60 in 7.1 seconds, went ¼ mile in 15.6 seconds at 90 MPH and its top speed was 129 MPH, much slower than the SS Supercharged and Turbocharged.
All production of Cobalts was ended in June of 2010 and was replaced with the new Cruze. No high performance version of the Cruze has yet been announced.
(all statistics for SS Turbocharged and SS from car and driver, SS Supercharged statistics from myself, I owned a 2007 Superchared).