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2007 Saturn Sky Red Line

What's special about it?
With three all-new Saturn vehicles making their debut at this year's New York show, it could be easy to overlook the Sky Red Line. Easy, that is, if it wasn't the most interesting car of the three.

Consider its credentials. Its engine is one of the most powerful that GM has ever produced based on its size. It displaces just 2 liters, but with the help of a turbocharger and direct injection it's able to generate 260 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

Then there's the styling. Most find its European lines more interesting than the soft shapes of its platform mate, the Pontiac Solstice. It's even more evident on the high-performance Red Line version, which includes additional detailing on the front air dam along with chrome hood inlets, metallic side vents and dual rectangular exhaust pipes. Cabin upgrades include a standard leather-wrapped steering wheel, metallic pedals and unique gauges.

We asked Darren Post, the vehicle line director for compact performance cars, how the Sky Red Line differs mechanically from its Pontiac cousin, the Solstice GXP. "It builds on the subtle differences between the base cars, things like more rear-wheel travel and different bump stops. We kept all those elements but ratcheted up the performance several notches."

One of those elements is the Red Line's "FE3" sport suspension. It includes the usual stuff like retuned springs, shocks, sway bars and a more aggressive tire. Post told us his team had the engineers from Opel, GM's German subsidiary, come to the States to try it out. "They thought we couldn't build a true high-performance suspension. They were wrong and they admitted it," he told us with a smile.

Post also mentioned the Red Line's standard electronic stability control. "Some people might look at this car and forget how fast it is, but we're talking zero to 60 in just over 5 seconds. That's serious power that can get you in over your head in a hurry," he told us. But don't worry, he assured us. "StabiliTrak can be completely turned off if that's the way you want to drive it."

The Sky Red Line will hit dealers this fall with a base price just over $27,000.

What's Edmunds' take?
Of all the new vehicles GM is bringing to market in the next year or so, the Sky Red Line has the most interesting blend of style and performance. By now the Solstice may have stolen much of its thunder, but real enthusiasts will see the value in this high-performance roadster. — Ed Hellwig
 
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