With its European-influenced exterior and fun-to-drive character, the Saturn Aura concept provides a clear preview of how the Saturn design element can be applied to a sporty medium sedan.
“The Aura is a sneak peak at a new generation of emotionally compelling Saturn vehicles,” said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn general manager. “It's the kind of vehicle that perfectly supports Saturn's firm commitment to provide great customer service combined with equally outstanding vehicles.”
The new face of Saturn
The exterior styling of the Saturn Aura is fluid, muscular and powerful, with European design cues and a sense of technical harmony.
“As is the case with the Saturn Sky, Aura features sculpted surfaces and flowing horizontal lines, creating a dynamic feel – a sense of power about to be unleashed,” said Clay Dean, GM director of vehicle design.
Up front, the sedan features bold p rojector-beam trapezoidal headlamps flanked by a new rendition of the Saturn chrome bar, which features the division’s logo displayed more prominently. The front fascia has a distinctive mesh grille and circular fog lamps. Horizontal hood extractors punctuate the concept’s styling up front, while also helping to cool the engine compartment.
The Saturn Aura’s profile is also muscular and powerful, with 19-inch, polished alloy wheels pushed to the corners, resulting in short overhangs. Accenting the wheels and low-profile Z-rated tires are muscular wheel flares, along with side rockers with rearward-swept feature lines and a high belt line. Side markers reflect the vehicle’s European influence.
At the rear of the vehicle, the jewel-like LED taillamps contribute to the vehicle’s four-corner lighting design. Other key styling elements include the rear fascia, with a trapezoidal central exhaust, chrome bar and rear spoiler.
“The Saturn Aura epitomizes GM’s global design approach to brand revitalization. Seven GM Design studios from around the world used technology that allowed them to contribute to product designs that will make up Saturn's new portfolio. The result is seamless connectivity between the exterior and interior,” Dean added.
Inviting, comfortable and spacious interior
“The interior of the Saturn Aura reflects our vision of future Saturn vehicles, combining sophisticated elegance with plenty of passenger comfort. The highly refined details in this concept convey a sense of craftsmanship and affluence,” said Dave Rand, GM executive director of interiors.
The Saturn Aura features a long wheelbase that – in addition to providing a comfortable, smooth ride – delivers a great deal of passenger room, especially in the rear seat. The vehicle’s interior roominess is heightened by the large windshield – a result of the steeply raked A-pillar – and the p anoramic roof, which features four sliding glass panels to create a convertible-style open-air driving experience.
Rustica leather seats provide firm and supportive comfort and are designed to resemble expensive furniture. To further accentuate its upscale character and enhance tactile feel, the door insert, seat insert, shift **** and steering wheel are all suffused in the same Rustica leather.
The Saturn logo medallion on the steering wheel, the instrument cluster, the center vent and the window and door switches are all backlit. This concept vehicle also features theater dimming, ambient overhead lighting and illuminated door handles.
Metal to the pedals
“The Saturn Aura is a modern interpretation of luxury,” Rand said. “For the interior, we made extensive use of metallic accents that complement the leather to enhance the upscale feel of the environment.”
Chrome sill plates with the Saturn logo, light titanium-finished knobs and buttons for the heating and cooling system, radio and on the door panels convey a sense of luxurious precision. A metallic overlay is also incorporated into the brake and accelerator pedals.
Further accentuating this vehicle’s modern character is the instrument panel center stack, which features an o range cluster ring that encircles all three gauges.
Backing up the sporty appearance of this vehicle is a 250-horsepower 3.6L DOHC V-6 engine with variable valve timing. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual tap up/tap down shift controls. Safety performance is provided by roof rail-mounted head curtain side-impact air bags, side-impact thorax air bags, four-wheel ABS with traction control and StabiliTrak, GM’s electronic stability control system.
The Aura also features OnStar’s Gen 6.1 system. With 3 million subscribers, OnStar is the nation's leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services using the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite network and wireless technologies. With Gen 6.1, GM OnStar subscribers can interact with OnStar's voice recognition system in Spanish, French or English. With the push of a button an OnStar advisor can change the system to allow the subscriber to interact with the system in their preferred language. Other core OnStar services are stolen vehicle location assistance, remote door unlock, roadside assistance, emergency services and automatic crash notification.
GM is the only automotive manufacturer committed to offering a full range of vehicles with safety protection before, during and after a collision. All OnStar-equipped vehicles come with Automatic Crash Notification. If air bags deploy, the system sends a signal to a highly trained OnStar Emergency Advisor, who contacts the vehicle to see if help is needed, and can contact an emergency responder to send for help. In many cases the occupants are severely injured and cannot speak for themselves. OnStar’s GPS unit allows Advisors to tell emergency responders the vehicle’s location. OnStar responds to at least one air bag deployment in the US or Canada every hour.
Additionally, the Aura features the GM-exclusive Advanced Automatic Crash Notification system. The AACN system detects collisions, even rollovers, regardless of whether air bags deploy. AACN also transmits other crash data, such as the direction of impact force, the number of and which air bags deployed and the maximum change of impact velocity, so that emergency responders are more prepared with this critical information before they arrive at the accident scene.
“From their introduction, Saturn vehicles have garnered a reputation for being fun to drive, as well as being safe to drive,” said Lajdziak. “The Saturn Aura takes the qualities Saturn is known for up a few notches and combines them in a sophisticated, great-looking package.”