You Need This: Cobalt SS

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Aug 1, 2017 | Chevrolet

It’s not perfect, but this non-sunroof 2009 Cobalt SS sedan is priced right at $4500. For a while there, the Cobalt SS was the hot car in IMSA street stock racing.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/1/17 11:16 a.m.

For a few minutes there, these were hot in IMSA racing. We did a feature on them. Is there still any interest in them or are we letting them just fade away?

TheV8Kid Reader
8/1/17 11:43 a.m.

I'd love to own one. I'd want a turbocharged one though.

A rear engine swap would be cool as well. Maybe someday.

pinchvalve MegaDork
8/1/17 12:32 p.m.

I think they are a real performance bargain, even the interior didn't make me want to cringe as much as other Domestics from the era. Here is an interesting tidbit, taken from C&D's lightning lap:

2014 Ford Fiesta ST - 3:20.4
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged 3:20.6
2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club 3:20.8
2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4 - 3:20.8
2006 Ford Mustang GT - 3:20.9
2013 Ford Focus ST - 3:21.4
2008 Volkswagen R32 - 3:21.8
2007 Mini Cooper S - 3:22.9
2013 Chevrolet Caprice PPV - 3:23.0
2012 Honda Civic Si - 3:24.1
2008 Honda Civic Si Mugen - 3:24.8
2007 Volkswagen GTI - 3:25.1
2006 Honda Civic Si - 3:26.5
2008 Volvo C30 Version 2.0 - 3:26.6
2013 Fiat 500 Abarth - 3:27.3
2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI - 3:27.3
2006 Mazda MX-5 - 3:29.3
2015 Honda Fit EX - 3:37.7

So it was faster around the track than any contemporary Miata, Mini, VW Golf, Civic Si or Caliber. Faster than the Mustang even! (also note that it beats the Focus ST, but not the Fiesta ST)

dculberson PowerDork
8/1/17 12:41 p.m.

In reply to TheV8Kid:

This one is turbocharged. They started with the turbo in 2008.

Sky_Render SuperDork
8/1/17 2:05 p.m.

Around here, all the used Cobalt SS were purchased by a particular type of individual that I want nothing to do with and no association with.

But they seemed like really cool cars at the time. How reliable are they if you up the bewst?

dj06482 GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/1/17 2:19 p.m.

The turbo one ran a 3:13 at the Lightning Lap:

trucke SuperDork
8/1/17 2:27 p.m.

Those are quite the performance bargain when equipped with the factory LSD.

4cylndrfury MegaDork
8/1/17 2:33 p.m.

I was a BIIIIG fan of the Cobalt SS when they were in production. They got a ton of good press, and I really liked the looks actually (aside from the Goliath-looking 1st gen SS wheels). When I saw the sedan, I really fell in love - SWMBO was convinced that we would need 4doors for child rearing purposes, so it was really a no brainer. Sadly, the Cobalt was phased out by the time I was in a financial place to actually make a purchase.

When I was car shopping, I really wished that my Cruze would have received just a pinch of the magic the Cobalt SS was given. Alas, the Gods of Detroit saw fit to emasculate the Cruze, even with the turbo/manual option.

Oh well, another few years, and they'll be challenge priced...

Snrub Reader
8/1/17 2:41 p.m.

They're a vehicle that didn't quite catch on and doesn't appear to have a cult following. When they were new they were one of the best performance bangs for the buck. They're an even better deal now.

jstein77 UltraDork
8/1/17 3:03 p.m.

I love the sleeper aspect of the Cobalt. It just doesn't look like it should perform as well as it does, especially in 4 door form. John Heinricy himself did much of the suspension development on it.

Snrub Reader
8/1/17 8:28 p.m.

^ That's actually the most surprising thing about the car. If you look at the Lightning lap results it beats more powerful cars. It's faster than a 335is.

TheV8Kid Reader
8/1/17 8:38 p.m.
dculberson wrote: In reply to TheV8Kid: This one is turbocharged. They started with the turbo in 2008.

I stand corrected. For some reason I thought the turbos started in 2010. Still can't afford it though.

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof PowerDork
8/2/17 4:44 a.m.

I've been telling you guys how capable these cars are for ten years, and you're just figuring it out now?

JeffHarbert GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/2/17 5:42 a.m.

This is the exact Cobalt SS model I'd like to have. David, these incessant posts of yours aren't helping me save to build a garage by the end of the year.

Snrub Reader
8/2/17 11:27 a.m.

Does anyone here track or regularly race one of these? If so, can you tell us how it holds up? It seems to me that it would be a pretty awesome low budget racecar.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/2/17 11:35 a.m.
JeffHarbert wrote: This is the exact Cobalt SS model I'd like to have. David, these incessant posts of yours aren't helping me save to build a garage by the end of the year.

Thank you. My work here is done.

8/2/17 5:33 p.m.

As a GM fan, this has my stamp of approval.

The Cobalt was under appreciated.

chuckles Dork
8/2/17 8:52 p.m.

In reply to Snrub:

I bought one of the last ones new, a 2010 coupe. It now has Powell's springs and rear bar, and a mild tune (281 whp, 311 torque.) I have a dozen track days on it and almost all mileage has been long trips. It is a third car and just turned 34,000 miles. It has had zero problems. The suspension work was a big improvement and it is a very easy and safe car to track. Quick, great-handling and bulletproof. I am very, very pleased.

wspohn HalfDork
8/3/17 2:34 p.m.

The engines hold up beautifully and can be tuned anywhere up to 500 bhp. The Cobalts (and HHR) can put a little more power to the road than the Solstice/Sky as they have less driveline loss, being FWD.

They have been known to get into the 9s in the 1/4......

parker Reader
8/4/17 5:49 p.m.

This car is the turbo and has LSD. Less than 500 4-door turbo SS's were made. Just sayin'

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