I think Volvos 300 hp super/turbocharged 2.0 4 would be a good match for the Cruze. Lighter than the old I5 engines by a lot, and more fuel thrifty. I wouldn't want anything over 300 in a FWD car, or anything heavier than a 4 in the front of one this small - you lose all cornering ability whatsoever.
79 Mercedes 300D with an LSA swap out of a current generation CTS-V. IRS rear from a C6 vette. I would however go automatic to keep the easy drivability. I'd also throw the quietest exhaust I could find on it to keep people from knowing till I wanted. Stock wheels and ride height however I'd stiffen the spring rate up and build some custom strut braces, that way it doesn't handle like a complete pig. Upgraded and modern braking system.