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.