The Woodward Dream Cruise is right around the corner on this Saturday, but Chevy is arriving early with its 2008 HHR SS model that's just been revealed. Of course, we knew an SS version of the HHR was percolating thanks to countless spy photos of development mules testing here and on the Nurburgring in Germany. Nevertheless, 260 horsepower in a tall wagon is pretty exciting, especially one that goes 0-60 in 6.3 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 98.5 mph.

Those ponies come from the same 2.0L turbocharged and intercooled direct inject Ecotec four-cylinder found in the Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Redline. Here it's mated to a GM Powertrain Sweden F35 five-speed manual transmission or 4T45 four-speed, the latter of which would be heresy to consider unless you fancy yourself a weenie. The FE5 sport suspension, as alluded to above, was tuned on the Ring in Germany and enables the HHR SS to achieve an impressive .86 g. Those 18-inch polished aluminum wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Sport P225/45R18 tires probably help, too.

The aero bits added do much to convince us the SS can hustle, and include new front and rear fascias, rocker moldings, body-colored bits, mesh grille and SS badging all over. Inside resides a pair of deep bucket sport seats with substantial bolsters, a boost gauge mounted on the A-pillar, smaller diameter steering wheel and a manual shifter mounted higher and farther forward.
Check out Chevy's many press releases on the 2008 HHR SS after the jump, and view 24 high-res pics of the vehicle in the gallery below.

[Source: GM]

Related Gallery2008 Chevy HHR SS


PRESS RELEASES:

2008 HHR SS FAST FACTS
  • Engineered and developed by GM Performance Division
  • 2.0L Ecotec turbocharged and intercooled engine with 260-hp (194 kW)
  • GM Powertrain Sweden five-speed transmission with enhanced shifter feel/placement
  • Nürburgring-tuned FE5 sport suspension delivers 0.86 g grip (with manual transmission)
  • SS-specific appearance, including new fascias, rockers and rear spoiler
  • 18-inch high-polished forged aluminum wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport tires
  • SS-specific interior with new sport seats, A-pillar boost gauge and more
  • On sale: fourth quarter 2007
  • CHEVROLET INTRODUCES TURBOCHARGED 2008 HHR SS
DETROIT – During the nation's largest celebration of automotive heritage, the Woodward Dream Cruise, Chevrolet introduced the newest member of the prestigious SS family: the 2008 HHR SS.

The HHR SS combines all of the style and capability of the popular HHR family with uncompromising performance, including a turbocharged and intercooled engine that produces 260 horsepower (194 kW), unique exterior styling and an SS-specific interior. The vehicle was developed by GM Performance Division (GMPD), with a team of engineers and designers dedicated to crafting nothing but high-performance vehicles.

"With its muscular stance, turbocharged power and track-capable handling, the HHR SS is a worthy addition to SS lineup," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "It also reaffirms in a big way Chevy's commitment to the sport compact market."

Standard features include unique exterior appointments, with all-new front and rear fascias, new front grilles, a rear spoiler and 18-inch polished forged aluminum wheels wrapped with Michelin performance all-season tires. Inside, SS-embroidered sport seats – with ultra suede inserts – a new gauge cluster with 140-mph speedometer, an A-pillar boost gauge and a new, driver-oriented steering wheel and shifter support the serious driving capabilities.

Along with its high-performance attributes, the HHR SS comes standard with a host of safety and convenience features, including the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS. Optional equipment includes side-impact air bags and a power-operated sunroof.

"This vehicle delivers all of the style, comfort and convenience found in the HHR portfolio, but also offers outstanding performance and versatility without sacrificing fuel economy," added Peper. "There's simply nothing else like it when it comes to four-door driving fun for the value."

The HHR SS arrives in dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2007.

An SS from the get go

The '08 HHR SS was engineered by GM Performance Division and is the first SS model developed since GMPD was charged with overseeing all of the "go, stop and turn" requirements demanded of any new Chevrolet wearing the SS badge.

"Beginning with HHR SS, all future SS models will have superior power, braking and handling capabilities for maximum credibility with our customers and enthusiasts alike," said John Heinricy, GM Performance Division executive. "The SS badge represents high performance, and the HHR SS delivers with a fully-integrated, balanced driving experience."

To that end, the HHR SS was engineered to offer more than simply increased power. An all-new FE5 Sport suspension was developed and tuned at Germany's famed Nürburgring racing circuit. It includes specific stabilizer bars, spring rates and damper tuning – all designed to complement the turbocharged powertrain.

Consequently, the HHR SS delivers a sports car-like maximum lateral grip of 0.86 g (with manual transmission). The brake system is enhanced, too, with a four-wheel disc system and standard ABS. StabiliTrak electronically controlled stability control system is standard.

The HHR SS's performance rubber meets the road via Michelin Pilot Sport MXM4 P225/45R18 tires mounted on 18-inch polished forged aluminum five-spoke wheels.

SS style

The HHR SS is distinguished on the exterior with several unique features:
  • New air dam-style front fascia with fog lamps
  • New mesh-style upper and lower grilles
  • New rear fascia with outlet for single bright exhaust tip
  • Rear spoiler (mounted above rear glass)
  • New rocker moldings
  • Body-color door handles, mirror caps and rear license plate surround
  • SS badges on the front doors and rear liftgate
  • Large, five-spoke 18-inch polished forged aluminum wheels and performance tires are standard and are tailored with the specific body enhancements to give the HHR SS a lower, performance-oriented stance. Likewise, the available exterior colors enhance the sporty nature of the vehicle. They include Victory Red, Black, Light Tarnished Silver Metallic, Mystique Blue Flash Metallic and Sunburst Orange II Metallic.

Like the exterior, the interior is unique to the HHR SS, including SS-embroidered sport seats with ultra suede inserts, a specific gauge cluster, an A-pillar-mounted turbo boost gauge and a new shifter arrangement. Three interior color combinations are available: Ebony, Light Grey and Victory Red.

Chevrolet is one of America's best-known and best-selling automotive brands. With the largest dealer network in the United States, Chevy is the leader in full-size trucks and the leader in sales of vehicles priced $35,000 and above. Chevrolet delivers more-than-expected value in every vehicle category, offering cars and trucks priced from $9,995 to $83,175. Chevy delivers expressive design, spirited performance and great value with standard features usually found only on more expensive vehicles. More information on Chevrolet can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

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HHR SS PERFORMANCE FORGED AT GERMANY'S FAMED NÜRBURGRING

DETROIT – With the SS moniker on its front doors and liftgate, GM Performance Division (GMPD) engineers made sure the '08 Chevrolet HHR SS lived up to the heritage of those badges. The HHR SS is not the first production SS model developed by GMPD, with such standouts as the TrailBlazer SS and Cobalt SS Supercharged under its belt, but it is certainly the most important since the group is now responsible for the "go, stop and turn" credibility of all future SS models.

The HHR SS is powered by a turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter Ecotec DI engine that delivers 260 horsepower (194 kW) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (353 Nm) with the standard five-speed manual transmission. It is rated at 235 horsepower (175 kW) with the available automatic transmission.

Features such as "no-lift shift" and other driver-selectable performance modes help the HHR SS achieve 0-60 mph performance in 6.3 seconds and cover the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 98.5 mph. The top speed is more than 150 mph, with the manual transmission.

"The HHR SS offers drivers a totally integrated performance driving experience," said John Heinricy, GM Performance Division executive. "It was developed on some of the most challenging tracks in North America and Europe, and has been tuned to deliver confident handling and road manners, while also maintaining overall ride comfort."

As with other GM Performance Division-developed vehicles, the HHR SS was validated on Germany's famed Nürburgring racing circuit, where it set a new lap record of 8:43.52 minutes for its class, besting the previous record of 8:54.38 held by the Opel Zafira OPC.

"It's not often that you see a vehicle like the HHR at Nürburgring – and you certainly don't see one lapping the track as quickly," said Heinricy. "Frankly, the HHR SS is going to surprise a lot of enthusiasts with its improved control and feel on both the street and the track."

2.0L Ecotec DI turbo engine details

The Ecotec 2.0-liter turbo engine produces 2.1 horsepower per cubic inch of displacement (130 hp / 97 kW per liter) and is the most powerful engine in the Ecotec family. Gasoline direct-injection technology helps the Ecotec engine produce more power while maintaining the lower fuel consumption of a small displacement port-injected engine.

With direct injection, fuel is delivered directly to the combustion chamber to create a more complete burn of the air/fuel mixture. Less fuel is required to produce the equivalent horsepower, especially at normal cruising speeds, of a conventional port-injection combustion system. Direct-injection technology works well with turbocharging and helps deliver a great balance of power and economy.

Highlights of the HHR SS's Ecotec 2.0L DI turbo engine include:
  • Steel crankshaft
  • Forged connecting rods
  • Oil-spray piston cooling
  • 9.2:1 compression ratio
  • Aluminum cylinder head with stainless steel intake valves and sodium-filled exhaust valves
  • High-pressure engine-driven fuel pump
  • Mobil 1 synthetic oil
Components including the steel crankshaft and forged connecting rods are high-strength items that provide strength and enhance durability. Oil-spray piston cooling helps reduce cylinder temperatures and promotes longevity by delivering pressurized oil that continuously lubricates the pistons, which reduces friction. To enhance combustion, the piston tops feature a dish shape that deflects incoming fuel toward the spark plugs.

To accommodate the direct-injection system, the Ecotec 2.0L DI turbo has a unique cylinder head and intake manifold. The cylinder head incorporates mounting locations for the fuel injectors – items that are typically mounted in the intake manifold on port-injection engines. Specialized and extremely precise multi-hole fuel injectors are used to meter fuel and deliver it in a finely atomized manner. They are supported by an engine-mounted high-pressure fuel pump.

Apart from the mounting positions of the fuel injectors, the cylinder head has conventional port and combustion chamber designs. Large stainless steel intake valves and sodium-filled exhaust valves are durable components designed to stand up to the high-performance capability of the engine.

The unique cylinder head, fuel system, pistons and intake manifold are the major components that differentiate the 2.0L DI turbo from other members of the Ecotec engine family. Mobil 1 synthetic engine oil is installed at the factory. Synthetic oil was selected for its friction-reducing capabilities and high-temperature performance.

Turbocharger and charge air cooler

Pumping up the HHR SS's 2.0L Ecotec engine is an intercooled turbocharger system. The turbo blows pressurized air into the combustion chambers to enhance horsepower and torque, while the system's intercooler circuit cools the turbocharged air charge to maximize its effect. The turbocharger is sized to deliver a significant horsepower boost and almost no spool-up lag. Maximum pressure is almost 20 psi.

Because the pressurized air pushed by a turbocharger becomes heated, the HHR SS's system employs an air-to-air intercooling system. With it, the pressurized air passes through a heat exchanger mounted behind the grille in the lower front fascia, where it is cooled before it enters the engine. Cooler air is denser, enabling the combustion chambers to draw in more air for maximum power. The cooler air also staves off the possibility of detonation at higher temperature, which allowed engineers to tune the engine for maximum power and ensure consistent performance in all driving conditions.

Transmissions

Backing the turbocharged engine is a standard GM Powertrain Sweden F35 five-speed manual transmission; the optional automatic is GM Powertrain's 4T45 electronically controlled four-speed. Semi-synthetic transmission fluid is used for its capability of absorbing heat and resisting breakdown during high-performance driving.

A performance-oriented feature referred to as "no-lift shift" allows maximum performance with the manual transmission – upshifts can be performed very quickly without lifting the throttle. An algorithm in the engine's controller enables this high-performance feature, which helps maximize acceleration and gear changes.

A short-throw shifter with stiffened shifter bushings and modified cables and attachments enhances confidence behind the wheel, giving the driver a firmer, more direct and quicker shift feel. The manual shifter also is located higher than other HHR models, placing it in a more intuitive position for performance driving. An SS-specific center console is wrapped around the short-throw shifter.

A limited-slip differential is available with the manual transmission.

Chassis tuning and brakes

Conveying the HHR SS's turbocharged horsepower to the pavement is an FE5 sport suspension that includes a host of other chassis, steering and braking revisions – and a set of gorgeous 18-inch forged aluminum wheels. The elements pull together to give the vehicle surprisingly agile ride and handling characteristics, as well as an enviable maximum lateral acceleration rate of 0.86 g (with the manual transmission) – grip comparable to many sports cars on the market.

The MacPherson strut independent front suspension uses SS-specific gas-charged twin-tube struts, unique steering knuckles with optimized geometry, 28 N/mm linear coil springs with specific damper tuning, stiffer control arm handling and stabilizer bar bushings, and a direct-acting, 23-mm solid stabilizer bar. At the rear, the SS's semi-trailing twist beam axle uses monotube gas-charged shocks with specific damper tuning, a 24-mm solid stabilizer bar, stiffer axle bushings and multi-rate coil springs (30-40 N/mm). StabiliTrak electronic stability control and traction control are standard.

A unique electric power steering (EPS) system is tuned to match the SS's handling prowess. The rack-and-pinion gear has a quick 14.8:1 ratio, which is 20 percent quicker than other HHR models, and the new EPS provides improved precision and a more viscous feel. A smaller-diameter steering wheel enhances the quick, sporty steering capability.

Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard. They consist of 11.65-inch-diameter (296 mm) front vented rotors with 54-mm single-piston calipers in the front and 9.84-inch-diameter (270 mm) rear solid discs with 38-mm single-piston calipers. The standard anti-lock brakes are connected to the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system to enhance stopping and handling in emergency driving situations.

The disc brakes are visible behind one of the HHR SS's most distinguishing features: a set of 18-inch polished forged aluminum wheels. The wheels have a Corvette-inspired split-spoke design and ride on SS-specific Michelin Pilot Sport performance tires that are rated for all-season driving.

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2008 CHEVROLET HHR SS OFFERS TRUE DRIVER'S ENVIRONMENT

DETROIT – With 260 turbocharged horsepower (194 kW) on tap and a new, FE5 Sport suspension that is tuned to adhere to even the hairiest of hairpin turns, the 2008 Chevrolet HHR SS is a driving enthusiast's dream. And like the balanced powertrain and chassis systems, its interior is also tuned to deliver maximum functionality and driver satisfaction.

Everything from the seats and gauge readouts to the shifter are optimized to support the driver's needs. Here's a look at the elements that contribute to the SS's driver-focused environment:

Sport seats: The HHR SS's seats don't just look sporty; modified seatback bolsters provide more support during spirited driving. The seat features contemporary, mesh-style impression cloth coverings with ultra suede inserts in the center section for additional grip. "SS" logos are embroidered on the front seats.

Contrasting interior colors, including Ebony, Victory Red and Light Grey, contribute to the sporty look and are offered in SS-only combinations. Color-matched door panel inserts complete the theme. Also, a six-way, power-adjustable seat with lumbar support is standard for the driver. The rear seats are trimmed to match the front seats and feature enhanced bolster styling to also match the front seats.

Shifter: Compared with other HHR models equipped with a manual transmission, the SS features a shifter mounted higher and farther forward, owing to its shorter-throw operation and an optimized placement for high-performance driving. Throws between gears are 30-percent shorter – 94-mm throw versus non-SS models' 135-mm throws – with a firmer and more precise feel, thanks to revised bushings, cables and mountings.

The new shifter and its placement are matched with a new leather shift knob and boot trim ring. The center console for the SS was redesigned to accommodate the manual shifter. Automatic-equipped SS models feature a specific console that includes a flip-down armrest and a pocket large enough to store a cell phone.

No-lift shift: An algorithm in the engine's controller allows upshifts to be performed very quickly without lifting the throttle.

Steering wheel: HHR SS has a smaller-diameter steering wheel that complements a quicker-acting, more precise steering system. It is emblazoned with the SS logo and offers controls for the radio and other features.

140-mph speedometer: A new instrument panel gauge cluster is standard; it includes a 140-mph readout (225 km/h) illustrated with large, easy-to-view graphics.

A-pillar gauge: In what is now a signature feature of models with the turbocharged 2.0L Ecotec, the HHR SS comes with a standard A-pillar-mounted turbo boost gauge.

Driver Information Center: The standard Driver Information Center located in the gauge cluster allows the driver to engage several SS-specific features, including a "competition" mode that is designed for closed course performance driving and adjusts chassis controls (including turning off traction control) in controlled driving conditions. A launch control function is part of the competition mode and enables consistent acceleration performance.

Additional changes: In addition to the performance-oriented features, the interior also incorporates a number of additional changes, such as the relocation of the power window switches from the center console to the door panels. Also, SS-specific satin nickel trim accents the cabin, enhancing the distinctive and performance-oriented theme of the SS's driver environment.