SOPHISTICATED COBALT SETS NEW STANDARD FOR SPORT COMPACTS
The phrase 'no compromises' is a popular descriptor during a new-vehicle launch, but it has rarely meant as much as the freedom extended to the engineers challenged with developing the all-new 2005 Chevy Cobalt. To them, 'no compromises' has 150 meanings.
The engineers simply were told to develop the best compact car in the class and they soon drew up a list of 150 components, systems and other items determined to deliver the best package of performance, refinement, driving satisfaction and quality. The list included materials like Quiet Steel laminated sheetmetal – a premium material not typically found in vehicles in the compact segment – and electric power steering tuned separately for all four available tire combinations. Expecting their 'wish' list would be tempered by production compromises, the engineers were instead told to 'prove it.' And they did.
They developed a sporty new compact car that injects new levels of performance and refinement into the segment. Cobalt blends the premium attributes of Asian and European imports and wraps them in a uniquely American package.
'On our very first evaluation drive of prototypes, the Cobalt exceeded all the targets when judged against the list of competitive vehicles' strengths and market advantages,' said Lori Queen, small car vehicle line executive. 'The 150-point list was a sort of holy grail on which the engineers focused their attention and with such strong results, there was no going back. In other words, there truly were no compromises to the list.' Acclaimed foundation
For 2005, Cobalt is offered as a sedan or coupe in base, LS and LT models. An SS Supercharged model, with specific fascias and rear spoiler, is available as a racy- looking coupe. Cobalt is based on the Delta architecture and offers distinctive styling and segment-leading features, while delivering a fun, uncompromising driving experience.
Entering the hotly contested North American compact segment, Cobalt appeals to a wide, diverse audience – from those seeking a feature-packed, value-driven commuter to the youthful sport compact enthusiasts who view their car as a canvas for personalization. Cobalt answers the needs of these customers with an array of models and class-leading features, including:
Delta architecture, enabling responsive handling and precise build quality
Styling distinction among all trim levels
Distinct styling between sedan and coupe, with Corvette-style taillamps on coupe
Excellent exterior attention to detail, including 3.5-mm door-to-fender tolerances and jewel-like headlamps and taillamps
Extensive use of quality-enhancing materials including Quiet Steel® laminated steel, hydraulic bushings and acoustic insulation, making Cobalt one of the segment's quietest vehicles
Strut-type front suspension and twist beam rear axle; front and rear stabilizer bars on all models for uncompromising handling
ABS standard on LS, LT and SS Supercharged models; available on base model
Roof rail air bags available
Broad range of wheel designs and tire sizes, from 15 inches to 18 inches
Powerful Ecotec 2.2L 16-valve engine for base, LS and LT models makes 145 horsepower and 155 lb.-ft. of torque
5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Promise warranty on all models
Long-life and zero-maintenance features to reduce ownership costs, including GM Oil Life System (GMOLS) and stainless steel exhaust system
Three distinct interior trim levels with upscale materials and textures
Family of great sounding radios, including a CD/MP3 player and Pioneer Premium Audio System with seven speakers; CD radio standard on every model
SS Supercharged model with 205-horsepower 2.0 SC engine, sport-tuned suspension, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, 18-inch performance wheels and tires, unique exterior styling, and specific interior appointments including A-pillar boost gauge (See SS Supercharged section for more information.)
Pricing starts at $14,190 for base coupe and sedan models. The Cobalt LS coupe and sedan have a base price of $16,485, while the LT sedan begins at $18,760. Cobalt SS Supercharged's MSRP is $21,995. Pricing for all models includes destination and freight charges and all models come with a list of standard features that includes air conditioning, electric rear defogger, CD player, driver information center and a split-bench rear seat with a pass-through to the trunk area.
'You can't point a finger to one or two features – it's a cohesive package that delivers great handling, exciting performance and an exceptionally quiet ride,' said Queen.
The robust Delta architecture is the foundation for Cobalt's feeling of solidity. Its stiff structure allowed engineers to tune the MacPherson-strut front suspension and twist-beam rear suspension with long wheel travel and direct-acting components, enhancing Cobalt's responsive traits. It also meant the engineers didn't have to compromise the suspension settings to account for chassis flex.
Cobalt's Delta architecture also enabled the precise tolerances of the expressive exterior. Vertical door gaps, for example, are held to tight tolerances. Also, a one-piece body side stamping means less chance for assembly line variation. Cobalt's windshield and backlight are installed with exposed-edge glass rather than conventional sealing frames – a visual testament to the car's precise build quality and a production feature uncommon in the segment.
Other precise exterior details include front lighting elements (except foglamps) contained in a single unit, with the lamps mounted in a jewel-like setting that gives the Cobalt an upscale appearance. Each Cobalt model has distinguishing exterior features, but all wear a prominent Bowtie insignia in the grille and premium cues such as body-color door handles and roof rail moldings. The rear fascia of the coupe model carries Corvette-style four round taillamps. Powertrains
Chassis and suspension refinements are bolstered by an exciting powertrain lineup. Cobalt base, LS and LT models are equipped with the smooth, powerful Ecotec 2.2L four-cylinder. Featuring dual-overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, electronic throttle control and numerous long-life or maintenance-free features, the Ecotec 2.2L delivers 145 horsepower (108 kw) and 155 lb.-ft. of torque (210 Nm). The SS Supercharged model receives a 2.0 SC supercharged engine that produces 205 horsepower (152 kw) and 200 lb.-ft. of torque (271 Nm).
Transmissions available on the Cobalt include a standard Getrag five-speed manual and an optional Hydra-Matic 4T45E four-speed electronically controlled automatic. The Getrag manual is renowned for its smoothness and positive shift feel, while the Hydra-Matic 4T45E delivers almost imperceptible shifts. Enhanced traction system is standard on automatic-equipped vehicles with an ABS braking system. The enhanced traction system improves low-traction performance by detecting wheel slip and adjusting engine torque to limit slip-inducing power.
Cobalt SS Supercharged comes standard with an FGP five-speed, which is tailored specifically to complement the powerful supercharged engine's power bands and stand up to its torque. The SS Supercharged model has an added intermediate drive shaft to minimize torque steer.
'Performance is a very important consideration in this segment and the Ecotec-based powertrains deliver great, usable power and low-end torque while still providing great economy,' said Queen.
All Cobalt models come with a 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Promise warranty. Comfort, convenience and entertainment
Every Cobalt model is designed with a comfortable interior and driving environment that complement's the vehicle's distinct attributes. Four trim levels are available, each anchored by seats that were put through an exhaustive 2,000-hour development and validation process. Controls are logically placed and operate with a high-quality, tactile feel. Many upscale amenities are available, such as heated leather seats and a power-operated spoiler-type sunroof, giving Cobalt customers choices not generally found in other compact cars in its price segment.
SS Supercharged models receive a unique interior treatment that includes two-tone leather seating, specific gauge cluster treatment and an A-pillar boost gauge to monitor the performance of the 2.0 SC engine's supercharger. The placement of the boost gauge is a nod to the popular location of auxiliary instruments found in many sport compact 'tuner' cars.
A family of great sounding radio systems is available, too, with even the base model receiving a standard CD system. An uplevel CD radio is standard on LS and LT models, while a CD/MP3 radio and a Pioneer Premium Audio System with seven speakers are available (Pioneer system standard on SS Supercharged). XM Satellite Radio also is available. Safety
Cobalt is designed to meet stringent crash performance standards and GM subjected 75 prototypes to more than 100 crash tests. All Cobalt models feature an extensive package of standard and available safety and crash avoidance features, including:
Dual-stage air bags designed to help protect occupants sized between 5 th percentile women and 95 th percentile men in 30-degree angled frontal impacts
Front safety belt pretensioners, rear center shoulder belts and the LATCH (Lower Anchors & Tethers for CHildren) child seat retention system
Locking front seat open headrests
Roof capable of resisting 1.5 times gross vehicle weight crushing force, with impact protection in the pillars and roof
Energy management crumple zones in the front and rear designed to crush as efficiently as possible
Rear structure designed to absorb a 50-mph impact to help protect the fuel tank from rupturing
Side impact roof rail air bags available
Additionally, features such as delayed entry lighting, anti-lockout protection (with power locks), battery rundown protection and the engine immobilizing PASSlock III theft deterrent system contribute peace of mind to everyday driving. Quality
Cobalt's quality is built into every system and component. The powertrain features many long-life and zero-maintenance features, including the GM Oil Life System (GMOLS), which can extend the intervals between oil changes and reduce the amount of oil an owner buys over the operating life of the vehicle. With GMOLS, the need for an oil change is determined by an algorithm that measures engine starts, temperature and other factors. An indicator on the instrument panel illuminates when it's time for an oil change. Also, an innovative cast-in oil filter housing on the Ecotec engine eliminates the throwaway oil filter cans that retain oil.
Precise fit and finish contribute to the Cobalt's quality look and feel, too. Tight vertical door tolerances are the standard, thanks to the stiff Delta architecture and less-complex stampings. The door frames, for example, integrate into the exterior surface for a flush, aircraft-style fit. Quietness also is a measure of quality and to that end Cobalt features:
A dampened plenum made of sandwich steel to virtually eliminate resonance
Thicker windshield and backlight glass; 5.4 mm and 3.5 mm, respectively
Hydraulic bushings in the suspension to suppress noise transmission
Coated pistons and vibration reducing fuel line clips in the 2.2L Ecotec engine
The use of s ound-deadening Quiet Steel â between the dashboard and the engine compartment to reduce noise and vibration
Foam padding and full carpeting in the trunk area
Acoustically optimized engine cover
Quiet door latches
Tires optimized to minimize ride harshness and improve handling
Tuned induction system for flow restriction and sound quality
The Cobalt is built exclusively at the Lordstown ( Ohio ) Assembly Plant, which received a $1 billion revamping to ensure build quality to help ensure high build quality. A new, flexible manufacturing process is introduced with production, along with a new, 140,000-square-foot paint shop. Ramp-up to production is being carried out in record time, with one of the highest-quality launches for a high-volume compact car.Source - General Motors Corporation
Chevy Cobalt SS Supercharged Smokes Competition at Toyo Tires Time AttackFWD Cobalt finishes with fastest time overall besting AWD, FWD and RWD competitors
The Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged continued its Time Attack assault at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on Nov. 8, finishing with the fastest time overall (1:51) and first in the Front Engine Front Drive (FF) Únlimited Class at the Toyo Tires Time Attack presented by Super Street and eurotuner magazines. It is the second fastest time ever for a Time Attack run at Buttonwillow and eclipses the previous records set for FF Únlimited (1:57) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) Limited (1:54) classes.
Race-prepared by GM Performance Division for FF Únlimited Time Attack competition and driven by current SCCA driving champion John Heinricy, the Front-Wheel-Drive (FWD) Cobalt SS Supercharged bested more than 50 competitors driving such established AWD racecars as the Nissan Skyline and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution among others, and was one of only three domestic entries along with the Ford Mustang and Dodge Neon.
'Our team was outstanding and this win is further proof of the credentials GM Performance Division and Chevy are building with the street tuner crowd for the Cobalt SS and its Ecotec engine,' said Heinricy, director of High Performance Vehicle Operations for GM Performance Division. 'The competition was tough, but the graciousness in defeat shown by Tarzan Yamada, one of the preeminent drivers in Japanese street racing, was very telling as to how far GM has come in a relatively short period of time.'
Based on Chevy's new factory-built FWD 'tuner' car, the Cobalt SS Supercharged was also chronicled on the SPEED Channel's Street Tuner Challenge during its 13-week build in preparation for the show's Time Attack event on July 21. In that contest, the Cobalt bested an 801 hp twin-turbo Nissan Skyline and a nitrous-charged Volkswagen Jetta by seven and 15 seconds respectively with a posted time of 1:58 on Buttonwillow's #13 track configuration.
The Cobalt SS Supercharged has largely maintained its production roots from a parts standpoint, but was further tuned in preparation for the Nov. 8 event, including an added nitrous boost increasing the horsepower to 380 and torque to 387 lb.-ft. among other aerodynamic improvements and chassis tuning.
The premise behind Time Attack is to take a street vehicle and – using DOT approved tires – turn in the fastest lap on a racetrack for the vehicle class. The vehicle must be from a model originally produced for legal street use and it must have a silhouette largely faithful to the original.
The Cobalt SS Supercharged has strong performance credentials in factory trim. Powered by a supercharged and intercooled 205-horsepower, 2.0-liter Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine and equipped with a finely-tuned suspension developed on Germany's famed Nurburgring race track, the production Cobalt SS Supercharged has brought more heat to the already red-hot sport compact segment, and has been quite a dealer draw since its introduction in late 2004.
GM Performance Division in collaboration with Chevrolet, GM Powertrain, GM Performance Parts and GM Design created the Cobalt SS for Time Attack competition to demonstrate the ultimate capabilities of the Ecotec engine. Time Attack challenges involve multiple runs, so the engine must be powerful and durable.
The engine features an Eaton M-62 Gen 5 Hybrid supercharger, and delivers 283 horsepower at 6840 rpm and 243 lb.-ft. of torque at 4200 rpm without the nitrous. It is also Stage 2+ equipped, using a smaller pulley than the Stage 2 kit available soon through GM Performance Parts to achieve even greater torque.
Some of the production Cobalt elements were replaced with carbon fiber counterparts, including the hood, doors, roof, decklid, rear wing, side rocker extensions and Sparco car seat. The vehicle's glass has also been replaced with Lexan, and interior trim has been kept to a minimum. The end result is a vehicle weighing a mere 2,350 pounds.
Powell Motorsport, Lotus Engineering and Martin Technologies provided GM Performance Division with vehicle preparation, logistical support and engineering collaboration for the Toyo Tires Time Attack event.Source - GM