Besides its stunning looks, the main attribute of the Saturn Sky Red Line is how fun it is to drive. More than once we found ourselves surprised at seeing the speedometer read only 65 or 70mph when it felt like we were way into the realm of the extralegal.
Critically, with the Red Line, this beauty is more than skin deep. In place of the 177 horsepower naturally aspirated, four-cylinder block of the regular Sky, the Red Line is driven by a 2.0-liter direct-injection in-line four boosted by a turbo charger to give it a whirlwind output of 260 horsepower. Now we're talking Miata-mauler.
Being the performance-tuned version of the marque, the Red Line also features some unique styling cues, including chrome-trimmed dual exhaust outlets, 18-inch chrome-clad wheels, and a couple of brake-cooling vents in the lower front fascia.
Most cabin tech is restricted to GM's OnStar telematics system. Owners of the Sky Red Line get a 12-month subscription to OnStar's Safe and Sound plan included in the price of the vehicle. This includes a number of emergency and diagnostic services such as remote door unlock, stolen-vehicle location assistance, and automatic monthly vehicle system checks and complimentary e-mail reports. A hands-free calling service is also available through OnStar at an additional cost.
The interior of the Saturn Sky is cramped and kitschy, in a curiously stylish kind of way. Our tester came with optional red-leather seat inserts and door panels ($595), as well as lacquered black plastic accents on the parking brake, shifter, and HVAC controls. Similar to most other roadsters, cabin space is minimal.
Our tester came with the optional five-speed automatic transmission, which added a hefty $895 to the sticker price, although (counterintuitive to sports car purists) some may feel this is a worthwhile investment: reviews comparing the automatic with the manual versions of the car have actually found that the automatic posts quicker 0-to-60 times.
Our test car came with the Monsoon premium audio package (a $590 option), which includes an MP3 disc-compatible head unit hooked up to a seven-speaker system with a separate subwoofer. An auxiliary input jack is standard on all Skys, while XM Satellite Radio is an available option ($199 for an initial three months of service). For drivers who want more music options, a six-disc in-dash changer is available for an extra $300.
Getting the roof up is a multistage procedure, which involves popping the rear hatch, getting out, manually opening the clamshell tonneau cover, levering the foldaway top out of its recess in the trunk, slamming the hatch closed, fastening two supporting pins in place, getting back into the car, and snapping an internal lever closed.