View Full Version : SCC Ion RL review

05-18-2004, 07:17 PM
Hey guys,

Sports Compact Car just tested the RL. (I searched and didn't see another post about this)

Linky (http://www.sportcompactcarweb.com/roadtests/0405scc_redline/)

They said a couple of interesting things about the car I haven't heard yet:

That supercharged engine is a 2.0-liter version of the Ecotec four-cylinder, which is now powering all of GM's small cars in normally aspirated 2.2-liter form. The Performance Division destroked the engine, lowered its compression ratio from 10:1 to 9.5:1, bolted on a Roots-type supercharger (making 12.5 pounds of boost), stuffed in a Laminova air-to-water intercooler, and underrated it at 200 hp and 149 lb-ft of torque. That's right, they underrated it. Our Dynojet revealed the truth, which is an impressive 197 hp at the wheels at 6450 rpm and 169 lb-ft at 5250 rpm.

And it would be more if GM's engineers had more time. Check out the dyno chart. The engine crashes into its rev limiter at 6450 rpm while it's still building power. Rick Kewley, vehicle performance manager, high-performance vehicle operation, GM Performance Division (holy titles, Batman!), says this is because the engine hasn't been durability tested above that engine speed. Which is another problem Rick inherited from the original ION boneheads. He gives the same excuse for reducing boost slightly at high rpm. The supercharger is actually spinning fast enough to produce more boost, but the ECU opens the bypass valve slightly to keep peak cylinder pressures down at levels GM has already proven it can handle.

That limiter combines with a too-tall second gear and that lethargic tach needle to sabotage what could be a fun engine. It certainly makes good power, but as it's set up, it's nearly impossible to drive hard without running into the limiter. We're told the limiter will be softened after the car's first year, but it will remain at 6450 rpm.

What the engine really needs is another 500 to 700 rpm. It would increase its overall output, and keep the engine from falling below 4000 rpm on the 1-2 shift, which is where it really starts making grunt. As it is now, it does fall below 4000 rpm on that gear change due to the gearing in the Red Line's transmission, and gear spacing that's mismatched to the blown Ecotec's power curve.

At the dragstrip, the tall gearing really hurts the car's performance. It's a heavy car at 2,960 pounds, but with nearly 200 hp at the wheels, it should be quicker than it is. We managed 0-to-60 mph in 7.1 seconds and the quarter mile in 15.3 at 94.5 mph. And we know the gearing is at fault, because the car runs through the traps in third gear. A limited-slip differential would also help. Kewley says his team is working on one.

So it sounds like there might be some teething problems with the new car. Hopefully they fix those things for year 2.

05-18-2004, 07:36 PM
This is the third about it second one is here:


05-18-2004, 08:11 PM
Whoops, my bad. I searched for Sports Compact Car with spaces in the name and that post didn't show up.

05-18-2004, 08:22 PM
Originally posted by monkeysl2

So it sounds like there might be some teething problems with the new car. Hopefully they fix those things for year 2.

I noticed a bit of weirdness in 5th gear. It seems a bit ill-mated with the supercharger. Mind you, it wasn't bad performance by any means. It just didn't feel that it could reach its full potential. I think that the 6-second range is pretty fair for its 0-60 marks. Most of its real performance shows in its first few gears, but something doesn't quite seem as optimized as it could be.

I would still buy one any day though, if I had an extra $10k. ;)