A 47 percent power bump and a 57 percent torque boost are just the nudges needed to rev the Saturn Sky to the Red Line. A 2.0-liter version of General Motors' Ecotec four-cylinder roused by a dual-scroll intercooled turbo, direct injection, and variable valve timing delivers a hunky 260 hp. Improved driveline mounting (similar to the Mazda MX-5's scheme), a sport suspension damped by Bilstein, ABS, stability control, and upgraded tires take the already capable chassis up a notch. But instead of tuning this Sky to run wild with BMWs and Porsches, Saturn focused on polishing its rough edges. The turbo engine is a torquer, not a spinner, so the Red Line delivers thrust immediately, without waiting for the tach needle to find a sweet spot. The new third gear in the manual box is a more useful ratio, and the optional five-speed automatic is smart enough to downshift during hard braking into a corner. The turbo engine not only speaks more softly than the normally aspirated four-cylinder, it also delivers better fuel mileage. While a couple of clouds still hang over the Sky--a storage-shy cockpit and a clunky convertible top--the arrival of the Red Line is convincing proof that polishing works.
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