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Auto Test Drives

Cobalt SS Supercharged Conquers Autocross
By Andrew Gardner
Nov 6, 2006, 13:37 PST
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Watch the Cobalt SS Supercharged in action on the autocross track by clicking here.

 

 

The king of SS reigns. The Cobalt SS Supercharged, by far Chevy's best all-around SS vehicle, proved it has earned its crown by more than divine right through autocross flogging. The Pirelli Corsa grip supporting simple but great suspension setup begetting great handling supported by positive steering and gobs of power made for a thrill ride sure to make any kid from 15 to 55 squeel in joy.

The steering is sensitive and direct which is a must for closely packed series of tight turns, and the aggressive front roll bar and taught suspension ensure the body and chassis are quickly settled after any attempted direction change to ensure stable grip. The Cobalt dives in towards the apex with eagerness and determination when setup properly, making it an autocross king.

When you are still learning the course and, in my case, too quickly driving the car too fast thus resulting in overdriving it, the Cobalt SS shows itself to be a very loving, forgiving car as it remains planted and just scrubs off speed while drifting. It plows when thrown into a corner too tight for its momentum but not too much - it will quickly correct your mistakes. The beauty of front wheel drive means stability no matter how much you mash the throttle in the middle of a corner...you just spin the tires into plumes of smoke and increase your turning radius. Unfortunately throttle lift-off does not have much affect on decreasing the radius; when proper or less throttle is applied you just obtain a correct radius for your speed. This means the rear end will not likely be brought out wide to help point the nose to the straight early, unless maybe you utilize the parking brake...maybe we'll try that some other time.

The Cobalt SS Supercharged is quick, stable, and very communicative...there is no mystery as to what the tires are doing. You won't be staying up late at night wondering where they are, whether they are misbehaving and what mess they are getting themselves into. The steering gives good feedback.

Additionally, the interior supports the driving effort. Pedal spacing, shifter location, and seat height all optimize driver access to controls. The car just fits well. And it has debatably the best seats inside GM for performance driving. Those SS-badged Recaro seats have enough lateral support to keep you in place should you ever end up inside a tornado. This Cobalt doesn't quite have enough grip to equal those G-forces, but with this level of grip good seats are a must. You are held so nicely in place so you can just focus on driving. Lovely.

Upon leaving the track, we missed the Cobalt already - it is most certainly time to do some more hot laps.

 

 

 

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