2008 Chevy HHR SS In Black Gives Us A "Show", But Can The Car Also "Go"?

One of us likes his cars black, the same way he likes his coffee. But the black Chevy HHR SS we spotted at the HHR SS reveal yesterday and that we've got pictured up above and in the gallery below — may have some "Go" to go along with the "Show." You see, this particular tester is the actual prototype HHR SS the GM engineers took around the Nurburgring with a lap time of 8:43.52 minutes. The engineering team's even commemorated the run by dropping an adorable little red 'ring graphic on to the back of this particular esh-esh tester. There's also something fun we learned about the traction control system in the new HHR SS — the system llows the driver to slip into several SS-specific modes, 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. The second non-normal mode is a "Launch Control" function — similar to what can be found in performance models from other automakers — that's part of the competition mode and enables consistent acceleration performance. That'll be good for all of those drag-strip racers...

...looking for consistency of times. The GM engineers tell us the "Launch Control" mode allows for a consistent 6.4 second 0-60 time. Now, if you're a good driver, you'll be able to hit the max low of 6.3 seconds on the zip-to-sixty, but as most of us aren't — 6.4's a reasonable compromise for a consistent time. We're looking forward to playing with each of the modes ourselves. Unfortunately Travis an unnamed GM PR staffer caught us just as we were about to become the first media member to take one for an unauthorized test drive. Although we were the first one to turn the ignition key in one — so we guess there's that. So can the car "Go?" We've no idea — but GM certainly thinks it can.