Saturn is probably not the first, second or even on most people’s list of names when they think of sports cars. But for a company that really makes little attempt to cater to the motor enthusiast (only 5000 are made), the Sky Redline is a respectable junior member of the affordable roadster club along with sister model, the Pontiac Solstice and the Mazda MX-5.
First introduced as a high-performance version of the Sky roadster in 2007, the Red Line turns out decent performance from an Ecotec turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produces 260 horsepower at 5300 rpm and 260 lb.-ft. of torque at 2500 rpm. These figures give this engine the notable distinction of having the best horsepower-to-displacement ratio of any GM engine and the most powerful motor in the Ecotec family. Gasoline direct injection technology helps the engine produce more power while maintaining the lower fuel consumption of a small displacement port-injected engine. With direct injection, fuel is delivered directly to the combustion chamber to create a more complete burn of the air/fuel mixture. Less fuel is required to produce the equivalent horsepower. EPA figures for the Redline are a decent 21 and 30 for highway driving. Despite those numbers, the Redline gets to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.
To compensate for the addition of more power, the car’s chassis has been tuned for better handling and its braking system has been upgraded for quicker stopping. Other technical highlights include a torque-sensing, limited-slip differential and StabiliTrak electronic stability control. Like all Saturn Skys, the Red Line model boasts a near 50:50 weight distribution, independent front and rear suspension, an extremely stiff body, and coil-over Bilstein monotube shocks.
The Red Line also features several unique interior and exterior differences compared to the base Sky roadster including dual exhaust with chrome polished outlets, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, and a redesigned front apron with large vents and black headlamp bezels. Inside the Redline has a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, unique seatback and floormat embroidery, metallic sill plates, stainless steel pedal covers, Red Line-specific gauges and a digital boost gauge included in the Driver Information Center.
The base price of the Saturn Sky Redline is $30,475, which doesn’t exactly sound cheap. It is afterall still a Saturn. But all things being equal, you have to wonder if the car simply had a different badge on the hood if 30 grand would seem quite reasonable.