2008 Saturn Aura

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New XE model equipped with 2.4L DOHC Ecotec I-4 engine

The Saturn Aura midsize sport sedan is the 2007 North American Car of the Year, and Saturn intends to build on this critical success for Aura’s second model year. For 2008, Saturn expands on Aura’s appeal by adding a four-cylinder model for buyers who desire Aura’s styling panache but want the economy of a four-cylinder engine under the hood.

2008 Saturn Aura XR2008 Saturn Aura XR

The new base XE features GM’s proven 2.4-liter dual overhead cam Ecotec I-4 engine.

The Aura is a critical component of Saturn’s newly revamped product lineup, blending the brand’s new design language and high levels of refinement with its trademark customer-focused purchase and ownership experience.

The Aura’s driving character matches its refined design, with a host of technologically sophisticated powertrains and a premium sport-sedan setup that includes GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control system on XE V-6 and XR models. The Aura is built on a stiff, robust chassis that serves as the foundation for an exciting driving experience. Its long wheelbase provides a smooth ride, while careful tuning of the suspension provides sharp and immediate response to driver input.

Wider powertrain choices, including Green Line hybrid

In addition to the new four-cylinder XE, the 2008 Aura lineup contains two well-equipped V-6 models – the XE with a 3.5L V-6 VVT; and the uplevel XR with a 3.6L DOHC V-6 mated to a GM six-speed transmission. The Aura Green Line, a 2.4L Ecotec-based hybrid first introduced in the 2007 model year, is an efficient yet affordable hybrid passenger sedan.

The Aura XE features a 2.4L DOHC Ecotec four-cylinder engine. To comply with more stringent emission and diagnostic regulations, the 2.4L-equipped Aura will receive a new catalytic converter system with slightly elevated exhaust system backpressure. To ensure accurate horsepower and torque ratings, GM Powertrain will certify the power ratings to SAE standards and update this information as soon as it becomes available.

It is one of the most powerful and efficient four-cylinder engines in its class, incorporating numerous state-of-the-art design features, including lost-foam casting of the aluminum cylinder head and engine block, roller finger follower rocker arms, chain-driven camshafts, twin balance shafts and a very rigid structure.

The engine is mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic 4T45 four-speed automatic transmission, an electronically controlled, automatic overdrive transaxle with an electronically controlled torque converter clutch noted for its low noise, high durability and smooth shifting.

Available on Aura XE models is the 3.5L V-6 with variable valve timing (VVT). This powerplant, also mated to the Hydra-Matic 4T45 four-speed automatic, generates 219 horsepower (163 kW) and 219 lb.-ft. of torque (297 Nm).

The uplevel Aura XR model is equipped with the 3.6L DOHC V-6 with VVT, rated at 252 horsepower (188 kW)* and 251 lb.-ft. of torque (340 Nm)*. This engine is paired with the Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission, which provides spirited performance combined with strong fuel efficiency.

In addition, the 6T70 provides the added benefit of TAPShift, which enables the driver to manually shift through gears via steering wheel-mounted “paddles.”

The Aura Green Line is equipped with the affordable GM Hybrid system, which reduces fuel consumption via sophisticated controls and a unique electric motor/generator mated to a 2.4L Ecotec VVT four-cylinder engine and Hydra-Matic 4T45 four-speed transmission. This innovative hybrid powertrain is rated at 164 horsepower (122 kW)* at 6400 rpm and 159 lb.-ft. (215 Nm)* of peak torque at 5000 rpm. While maintaining the vehicle’s sporty feel, the GM Hybrid system seamlessly reduces fuel consumption by:

* Shutting off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, to minimize idling
* Enabling early fuel shut-off during vehicle deceleration
* Converting vehicle kinetic energy to electrical energy through regenerative braking to charge the advanced nickel metal hydride battery
* Performing intelligent battery charging when it is most efficient

Bold exterior design

Featured in other recently launched Saturn models, the Aura sports bold styling elements that helped establish Saturn’s new design language, including distinctive headlamps with a jewel-like appearance and a chrome grille bar.

Premium design cues include halogen headlamps covered in clear housings that wrap upward and around the corners of the vehicle, adding a sense of motion to the vehicle. At the rear of the vehicle, LED taillamps enhance Aura’s technical ethic and provide extra visibility. LED lamps illuminate more quickly than conventional incandescent bulbs, which can allow drivers behind the Aura to react sooner when they see the brake lamps.

Additional design details include a radio antenna integrated in the rear window, for a sleeker overall appearance, and a chrome appearance for the door handles on XR models. Seventeen-inch wheels and tires are standard for entry XE models, while XR models come with 18-inch polished, 14-spoke cast aluminum wheels and performance tires. Aura Green Line rides on 16-inch wheels with low rolling-resistance tires.

For 2008, Aura is available in nine exterior colors: Red Jewel Tintcoat, Carbon Flash, Bronzed Pewter, Cream White, Golden Cashmere, Deep Blue, Ocean Mist, Silver Pearl and Techno Gray.

Refined interior

A major focus of the Aura’s design is its refined interior. Premium materials with low-gloss appearance and tight tolerances throughout exhibit excellent fit and finish, while unique color combinations for the trim and upholstery exude contemporary style. The interior trim flows across the instrument panel and wraps around onto the door panels for a more integrated appearance. Select use of chrome trim also accents the interior.

The gauge cluster uses LED-lit analog instruments, as well as LEDs projecting an amber glow from the overhead lamp and front door release pockets to give the vehicle a warm, upscale character. Self-dimming theater lighting enhances the premium feel and provides added convenience at night. A new feature on XE and XR models reminds drivers of the Aura’s fuel efficiency: The Driver Information Center relays real-time fuel economy.

Aura’s front reclining bucket seats are designed to provide firm support and comfort on long drives. Leather seating is available, including finely detailed embossed leather seat inserts in the XR’s optional Ebony/Morocco interior. For 2008, embossed door inserts and accents on the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter complement the Morocco Brown seat inserts.

GM’s family of premium radios provides a wide range of audio entertainment choices. A six-speaker radio system is standard and includes an auxiliary input jack for portable audio players. Saturn’s Advanced Audio System is available. It includes an AM/FM/CD/MP3 radio with eight-speaker sound, six-disc CD changer, a 240-watt amplifier and rear-seat audio controls with two wireless headphones. Previously an option, XM Satellite Radio is standard across the Aura lineup.

Safe and secure

The Saturn Aura is designed for strong safety performance in all measurements, with a comprehensive roster of standard features that helps protect occupants before, during and after a crash. Aura’s standard safety features include:

Dual-stage frontal air bags with GM Passenger Sensing System: The system works with the front passenger seat and differentiates between adults and small children or child seats to enable or disable air bag deployment, which can help reduce the risk of air bag-induced injuries.

Head curtain side-impact air bags: These air bags offer a level of head protection during side-impact crashes for all outboard, front and rear passengers.

Front seat-mounted thorax protection air bags: These air bags provide an additional level of protection to the thoracic region for the driver and front seat passenger during side-impact crashes.

Front safety belt pretensioners: Deploying at the same time as the frontal air bags, they take up slack in the safety belt webbing to minimize occupant movement during a crash.

LATCH child safety seat anchors: Two lower anchors and a top tether anchor secure the child seat to the vehicle seat structure for proper installation of compatible child safety seats.

Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS: Large, 11.65-inch (296 mm) vented front and 10.63-inch (270 mm) rear rotors help provide smooth, quick and assured stopping capability. Four-channel ABS is standard on all models.

StabiliTrak electronic stability control system (Aura XE V-6, XR and Green Line models): Partnered with the ABS system, StabiliTrak provides more precise, controlled stops, as well as enhanced traction/yaw stability during emergency maneuvers.

Traction control (Aura XE and Green Line): Wheel-slip sensors convey signals to an electronic control module, which alters the torque output of the engine to find optimal traction in slippery conditions.

All Aura models feature the OnStar safety and security system, including Turn-by-Turn Navigation capability, the first factory-installed, fully integrated GPS navigation system from OnStar. Turn-by-Turn allows consumers to talk to a live advisor, who in turn sends complete step-by-step directions to customers' vehicles through their OnStar system. These audio directions automatically play through the vehicle’s stereo as needed, triggered by the OnStar system’s GPS capabilities. This enables drivers to be led to their destination while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

More photos: 2008 Saturn Aura XR Photo Gallery

Source: GM

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