Our Modified Chevrolet Cobalt SS: A Turbocharged Sleeper That Surprised Us All

You might not think of the Chevrolet Cobalt as a performance car, but our experience with this modified 2009 Cobalt SS turbo proved that it has a lot to offer. With a range of performance upgrades and unique appearance enhancements, this little FWD car turned into a thrilling and fun-to-drive machine that left us grinning from ear to ear.

Black 2009 Turbocharged Cobalt SS on Driveway

The turbocharged 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS, days before it was sold.

Meet the Unassuming 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS

The stock 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS came with a 2.0-liter turbocharged Ecotec LNF engine producing 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a limited-slip differential, sport-tuned suspension, and Brembo front brakes, this unassuming compact car turned out to be a surprisingly capable performer right off the dealer's lot.

Boosting the Cobalt SS's Potential

Our modified Cobalt SS received several performance upgrades, including a Hahn 3-inch exhaust system, ZZP intercooler and charge pipes, K&N short ram air intake, and a Spec Stage 3+ clutch. Initially running a GM stage 1 tune, it was later switched to a Trifecta tune running 27 psi, which boosted the power output to over 300 hp. Talk about a little car with a big punch!

To improve the Cobalt's handling, we added Powell bushings, OTTP rotated transmission mounts, and slotted rotors for the front and rear. These upgrades made a significant difference in the car's grip and stability, especially when cornering. And yes, it could corner like a champ!

Spec Stage 3+ Clutch on the Chevrolet Cobalt SS

The Spec Stage 3+ Clutch 

Giving the Cobalt SS a Unique Look

We wanted our Cobalt SS to stand out, so we treated it to several exterior enhancements, including a carbon fiber hood with hood pins, HID halo headlights and fog lights, and a custom E-brake handle. These upgrades gave the car a more aggressive and sporty appearance that definitely caught people's attention.

Inside, we added A-pillar gauges and carbon fiber wrapped trim pieces to make the cabin feel just as exciting as the car's performance. If you haven't already, check out our post on modifying the interior of this vehicle, Modifying Without Compromising.

Stock LNF wheels for the modified 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS

Lessons Learned and Future Plans 

One challenge we faced with the modified Cobalt SS was putting all that power to the pavement. Traction was an issue, and we found ourselves spinning tires even in 4th gear! If we had kept the car longer, we would've considered upgrading the tires to get a better grip on the road.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Our Cobalt SS may have had "rental car" status in some people's eyes, but we have to be honest; we were thoroughly impressed with it. The turbocharged version was a blast to drive, and the cornering was quite impressive, thanks to the limited-slip differential. With a starting point of 260 hp from the factory and an easy boost to 290 hp with just a simple GM tune, this little car offered a lot of performance bang for your buck.

Our time spent with the Cobalt SS was invaluable, and many of the lessons we learned have been applied to our Time Attack Evo 6. Experiences like these are irreplaceable, and we wouldn't have it any other way. We salute our old Cobalt and only wish we would have taken more pictures of it before it was sold!