UPDATE: Gallery of live shots added after jump


After being on sale for a year, the Saturn Aura is getting its green wings. The Aura Green Line is the first of four hybrids that General Motors will release in 2007, another of which includes the 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line. Like that vehicle, the Aura Green Line features a mild hybrid system that, while not boosting MPGs as high as a Toyota Prius, manages to keep the premium for being green lower than a traditional hybrid. The vehicle's base price, in fact, will begin below $23,000. Saturn designers also chose to keep the Aura Green Line's styling low key, with the only indication you're driving a green machine being the "Hybrid" badge on the back and the assist/charge gauge on the dash.

Follow the jump for more info and pics of the Aura Green Line, as well as GM's full press release.

Like in the Vue GL, the Aura's hybrid system is comprised of a 2.4-liter VVT Ecotec engine. GM tells us the hybrid powertrain produces 164 horsepower and 159 ft-lbs. of torque. The electric motor/generator is onboard to lend a helping hand when the pedal's mashed, however. We call the Aura Green Line a mild hybrid because it never operates solely on battery power like the Toyota Prius. Instead it conserves fuel by shutting off the engine when the vehicle is stopped and during deceleration, using regenerative braking, and using the hybrid motor/generator to add some electric kick to the gas engine. It is appreciated that the Aura GL will be able to operate all of its accessory functions when the vehicle is stopped and the engine is turned off, unlike some first-gen hybrids that would cut off the A/C at stoplights.

The Aura Green Line will be available in the Spring, although one thing GM forgot to mention was what the car's actual mileage will be. It stops short of real numbers by saying it will deliver at least a 25-percent improvement in fuel economy over the regular Aura XE with the smaller 3.5-liter V6.

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PRESS RELEASE:

2007 SATURN AURA GREEN LINE HYBRID SEDAN OFFERS AFFORDABILITY AND IMPRESSIVE FUEL ECONOMY

LOS ANGELES –TheSaturn Aura Green Line hybrid, introduced at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, will deliver at least a 25-percent fuel economy improvement over the non-hybrid Aura XE for a premium of less than $2,500.

The Aura Green Line's base price is expected to start below $23,000.

"The introduction of the Aura Green Line broadens Saturn's commitment to customers of enabling them to drive green without going broke," said Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak. "With Green Line variants of both Aura and Vue, Saturn again demonstrates that environmental products can also be a great value."

The 2007 Aura Green Line will be produced at GM's Fairfax Assembly Plant, and will be available at Saturn retailers in spring 2007.

The Aura Green Line is equipped with the GM Hybrid system, which reduces fuel consumption fuel 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 is the same hybrid system that debuted this year in the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line and will be used in the all-new 2008 Vue Green Line, also being unveiled today at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

"The Saturn Aura Green Line is the first of four hybrids GM will introduce in the 2007 calendar year, more than any other manufacturer," said Tom Stephens, group vice president, GM Powertrain. "Equipped with GM's 2.4L, four-cylinder Ecotec engine and the GM Hybrid system, the Aura Green Line will deliver spirited performance, as well as a significant improvement in overall fuel economy compared to the current Aura."

Fuel-saving performance

Aura Green Line's 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
  • Restarting the engine promptly when the brake pedal is released
  • Enabling early fuel shut-off during vehicle deceleration
  • Capturing vehicle kinetic energy during deceleration through regenerative braking to charge the advanced nickel metal hydride battery
  • Performing intelligent battery charging when it is most efficient
  • The new GM Hybrid system provides additional power, when required, during launch from the electric motor/generator. At wide-open throttle, such as during a passing maneuver, the system enhances acceleration by using the motor/generator to bolster the gasoline engine and achieve maximum power.

The GM Hybrid system also is designed to automatically maintain full accessory functionality when the vehicle is stopped, including climate control, so that hybrid operation is transparent to the driver and passengers. The Aura Green Line delivers an appropriate balance between fuel economy and cabin comfort with an air conditioning system with two selectable modes. The Hybrid A/C mode favors more fuel efficient performance by limiting the draw on the hybrid powertrain, while the normal mode provides maximum passenger comfort in hot climates and enhances defogging performance.

Based on the all-new Saturn Aura midsize sedan

The Aura Green Line hybrid sedan is based on the all-new Aura midsize sedan, which blends Saturn's new, European-inspired design language and high levels of refinement with the brand's customer-focused purchase and ownership experience.

The Green Line features the same comprehensive safety package that earned Aura a full five stars in government frontal and side-impact crash tests, placing it among the safest vehicles available. Key standard features include dual-stage frontal, side-curtain and thorax protection air bags, along with StabiliTrak electronic stability control and the OnStar safety and security system.

GM's hybrid strategy

The Aura Green Line is one of 12 hybrids GM will launch, providing customers with several levels of fuel economy savings at different price points on vehicles ranging from cars to full-size SUVs.

GM launched the world's first hybrid pickup trucks in 2004. GM also will offer the world's first two-mode hybrid system for passenger vehicles in the new, full-size Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs in 2007.

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