C&D Looks at the 2010 Saturn Aura and Opel Insignia

Opel Insignia

Car and Driver takes a look at the new Opel Insignia (pictured) and Saturn Aura and discusses how the two models will lay the groundwork for a new lineup of General Motors midsize vehicles around the world. "The Opel Insignia will appear at European dealerships in late November or early December," said the magazine. "We expect the new Aura to debut as a 2010 model."

Details are emerging on the Opel Insignia, which is essentially the next-generation 2010 Saturn Aura for North America. The Insignia replaces the Vectra in the Opel lineup and will be the first model from GM's new Global Midsize Vehicle Architecture (formerly known as Epsilon), giving us a clear look at GM's future mid-size car lineup. Opel is emphatically trying to set itself apart from Japanese and Korean carmakers pushing into the market, while working to gain premium credibility. Details like the red ambient lighting in the interior and advanced technological features including adaptive headlights bring the Insignia/Aura closer to the traditional premium brands such as Audi and BMW. This is the handwriting of Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM Europe and a former BMW executive. Even the least expensive engine will be coupled to a six-speed manual transmission; automatic transmissions are six-speed as well. An adaptive chassis system called "FlexRide" will be available, and the Insignia can be equipped with an adaptive four-wheel-drive system. There will be hybrid Aura Green Lines, part of the green strategy at Saturn. We would not be surprised to see the Aura follow the Saturn Vue model in offering three types of hybrid: mild, two-mode, and plug-in.

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