cp-the-nerd and DrivenDaily,
The point of my post was to answer Darthz's valid question and to give him some facts (not opinions) about the differences between the different Malibu models. Neither of you bothered to answer his questions, yet you both took the time, two months later, to assume I was trying to "dump on the SS trim" or confuse DrivenDaily with math and logic.
I apologize if my post was too technical for the two of you, since everything I wrote was, unlike your responses, factual and completely un-opinionated. Or perhaps my post wasn't technical enough? Without more hard data, maybe you both assumed I was merely giving out opinions, which led you both to do the same. If so, I apologize for my lack of data. Allow me to go into more details.
If you could remove the 200 HP engine from an LS model and replace it with the 240 HP engine from an SS, you would not have an SS model. You would have something faster than the SS model! Just because the SS model's ENGINE is 20% more powerful, the CAR is not 20% faster. Here's why:
1) An old rule-of-thumb when modifying a car's weight vs. power is to assume each 10 pounds gained is the equivalent of 1 horsepower lost. Since the SS model weighs 160 pounds more than the LS model, that's the equivalent of having lost 16 peak horsepower. That would be like having an LS model with an engine that peaks at 224 HP.
2) The power needed to pump steering fluid through the hoses and piston can vary from 4 HP to 7 HP, depending on the size, the engine, the speed of the turn, etc. My point is that the SS model's steering pump is ALWAYS drawing some of the power from the car's engine. Even when the SS is driving in a straight line and isn't making a turn, something is providing the energy needed to make the fluid circulate around. That energy isn't free.
But since the LS model has electric steering, it ONLY draws some of the engine's power during turns. When the LS model is going in a straight line, no power is being taken from the engine.
I'll assume just 2 more horsepower is needed to keep the average SS model steering system running than to keep the average LS model steering system running. It is a small amount, but it is still a difference between the two models, which is what Darthz was asking about in the first place.
That brings the power difference between that two models down to the equivalent of 200HP (LS) vs. 222 HP (SS). That's an 11% increase in peak horsepower, not a 20% increase.
Some responses to Drivendaily:
"The SS still wins."
Yes, you are right. Neither I nor anybody else ever said otherwise. My SS still has the equivalent of 11% more power than the LS.
"...It doesn't take 40HP to move that extra person, so most of those ponies are there to move the car."
Right again. And we see now that "most of those ponies" equals just 22 horsepower. Not a huge improvement over the LS, but is IS an improvement.
"...a sportier handling package AND hydraulic power steering and it's a win-win-win."
I agree with your opinion about my SS model's handling (I gladly accept that weight vs. speed trade-off), but I'm not sure about the power steering. Especially since some engineer at GM messed up by running one of the hoses directly over the hot exhaust pipe and thinking that wrapping it in aluminum foil is going to keep it from burning through the rubber. Many of us have had to deal with that burnt-through hose and steering fluid leaking out under the car. That wouldn't happen with electric wires and motors.
Also not sure where your third 'win' comes from.
"... folks having opinions that don't always match facts..."
How right you are.