The anticipation surrounding the reinvention of GM's Saturn division had been building for months. The buzz started in earnest back in 2005, when the Sky appeared on the show circuit and it was announced that the car on display was in production trim. Joining it was the Aura concept, said to foreshadow an upcoming production sedan from Saturn. Fast-forward to the 2006 New York Auto Show, where Saturn took center stage for General Motors. Division general manager Jill Lajdziak teamed with Bob Lutz to preside over what was effectively the brand's coming out party. Given what we knew Saturn to be up until that point, the Aura (and the Outlook and Sky) took the division and stood it on its head. Here was a real car with, y'know, sheetmetal. And that sheetmetal was formed in such a manner to actually be pleasing to the eye. A look inside revealed an interior that had obviously been designed by people who like cars, and more importantly, like sitting in them. The icing on the cake came in the form of the optional 252-horsepower 3.6L V6 mated to a new 6-speed automatic. Clearly, Saturn was no longer what we had previously understood it to be. Read the full review after the jump. %Gallery-2261% The Aura's overall styling is attractive without being ostentatious. Up front, the oversized wraparound headlamp assemblies dominate the car's face. Each one houses a pair of projectors as well as the turn signals in an "eyebrow" that sits above them. An Opel-style grille spans the distance between the headlights and reinforces the new corporate look that appeared first on the Sky. The lower front fascia contains a large center opening which is flanked by smaller ones that also house the car's foglamps. Walk to the side, and you'll find that the new sedan cuts a nice profile. Chrome trim accents the glass in the car's rounded greenhouse, and it's also used on the door handles and the rub strip running along the body. Modest fender bulges add some visual muscle and are ably filled by fourteen-spoke 18" wheels wrapped in 50-series rubber, which really do look terrific. The now ubiquitous GM badge takes up residence in its spot aft of the front wheel well, and the shark-like "dorsal fin" antenna for the satellite radio is centrally-mounted on the roof's leading edge. (This would later become a car wash casualty. It was, however, soon recovered and put back in place.) The car's rump is no less pleasing than the rest of the package. Metallic accents segment the LED taillamp assemblies, lending some added flair. The chrome strip running the width of the trunklid is home to all the badging, with "Aura XR" on the left and '3.6" on the right. The square Saturn badge sits on the upper portion, directly in the middle. Finally, a pair of exhaust tips peek out from below the bumper cover. GM has made great strides with its interiors of late. The Aura is the latest …
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|MPG||20 City / 29 Hwy|
|Transmission||4-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||224 @ 5800 rpm|
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