With the death of Saturn and Pontiac, two of GM's best small, sporty cars are gone: the Solstice and Sky and their turbocharged GXP and Redline variants. The excellent Cobalt SS Sedan got the axe last year as well, leaving GM with only the Cobalt SS Coupe and HHR SS for its small-car, fun-to-drive segment. But the Cruze could step in to fill that gap.
Only last week Chevrolet of Singapore showed off its own version of a Cruze SS and now a new report is claiming that a fully-fledged Cruze SS is under consideration along with a four-door coupe version. The new cars are looked at as a way to inject some life into GM’s small car range, as well as extracting higher profit margins.
For the Cruze SS the formula is simple: insert the 260 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the Cobalt SS and Solstice GXP and give it the SS appearance treatment. According to Motor Trend, the Cruze’s Delta platform can even incorporate the bigger Epsilon platform’s all-wheel drive system, which would go a long way towards mitigating the annoying effects of torque steer common to most powerful front-wheel drive cars. The torsion beam rear axle of the Cruze may also need to be swapped with a more sophisticated multi-link setup, though this would significantly push the cost of the car upwards.
The four-door coupe version of the Cruze is a much more difficult--and expensive--proposition as it would require significant changes to the regular sedan’s sheet-metal and glass house.
Whether or not Chevrolet green lights these sportier variants of the Cruze remains to be seen but you can bet that at least one new variant will be coming, a frugal (E)Xtra Fuel Economy (XFE) model.