More stories related to 2005 NAIAS DETROIT – Saturn Corp. is taking on a new Aura.

The low-rent division of General Motors Corp. is moving on up, and the Aura concept midsize sedan scheduled to be unveiled here Jan. 9 at the North American International Auto Show should be considered the direction to Saturn’s new address.

“The Aura is a sneak peek at a new generation of emotionally compelling Saturn vehicles,” says 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.”

Aura, which debuts at the NAIAS alongside the Saturn ’07 Sky roadster, provides clues to the all-new midsize sedan – based on GM’s Epsilon architecture – the auto maker plans to begin selling in 2006. (See related story: Saturn Shoots for the Sky)

“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,” says Clay Dean, GM design director-small/midsize cars.

Saturn Aura concept

“The Saturn Aura epitomizes GM’s global design approach to brand revitalization.”

The sedan’s nose borrows styling themes from GM’s Adam Opel AG vehicles, with trapezoidal headlamps flanked by a new rendition of the Saturn chrome bar.

The front fascia has a mesh grille and circular fog lamps. Horizontal hood extractors punctuate the concept’s front-end styling.

Aura’s profile features a steeply raked A-pillar, collared wheel flares, rearward-swept streaks and a high beltline. The rear fascia is dressed with a trapezoidal central exhaust, a chrome band and rear spoiler.

Chrome sill plates with the Saturn logo greet visitors to the Aura’s cabin, which is adorned with light titanium-finished buttons and knobs on the instrument panel and on the door panels. A metallic overlay also is incorporated into the brake and accelerator pedals, while orange lighting encircles the three driver gauges.

“The interior of the Saturn Aura reflects our vision of future Saturn vehicles, combining sophisticated elegance with plenty of passenger comfort,” says Dave Rand, GM executive director-interiors.

Leather is used for the seats and covers the door insert, seat insert, shift knob and steering wheel. A medallion on the steering wheel features the Saturn logo, and door handles are illuminated.

Aura’s cabin is covered by a panoramic roof, which slides open via four glass panels.

Under the hood is a 250-hp 3.6L DOHC V-6 engine with variable valve timing. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift controls.

bcorbett@primediabusiness.com