Blue-sky driving in the Saturn Sky Red Line

We drive around the streets of San Francisco and get a first look at the Saturn Sky Red Line.

California dreaming in the 2007 Saturn Sky Red Line. CNET Networks

While much of the county is suffering blizzards and ice storms, we counted our sunny stars today and hit the dry, open road for a first look at the 2007 Saturn Sky Red Line. Like the Pontiac Solstice , with which it shares its platform, the Sky soft-top roadster exudes bold body styling. Sleek lines, a bulging hood, and aggressively arched front fenders all give the Sky a mini-Batmobile character, an impression underlined by the fact that our tester came in onyx black (that's black to you and me).

Blue Sky thinking: the view of San Francisco with the top down CNET Networks

As its name suggests, the Sky Red Line is a performance-tuned version of the regular Sky: in place of the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine on the garden-variety model, the Red Line gets a 2-liter turbo charged plant conjuring up a sensational 260 horsepower--enough to send us sideways a couple of times in spirited cornering. To complement the upgraded engine, the Sky Red Line comes with a couple of natty styling cues (hood vents and mesh grille inserts), as well as a list of standard performance features including: Bilstein monotube shocks, four-wheel disc brakes, four-wheel independent suspension, and Stabilitrak with competitive mode.

Our Sky Red Line tester also came with automatic transmission, a rather hefty $895 option. In general, we prefer our roadsters with manual shifters ; however, we read that the Sky Red Line is actually quicker to 60mph with the automatic, and after our disappointing experience with the agricultural gearbox in the Solstice, we probably ended up with the best option. Cabin tech on the Sky is in short supply, although we did get the upgraded Monsoon Audio System, which gave us MP3 playback ability and a separate subwoofer. In the course of a one-hour drive around the streets of San Francisco, no fewer than four people complimented us on our car. When stopped in traffic at a stoplight, one guy asked us: "What do you do for work?" We told him: "This."

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

 

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