The Saturn Curve was a roadster concept by Saturn (even if designed by the, at the time, SAAB head of design Michael Mauer) that was shown at the 2005 North American International Auto Show along with the concept of Saturn Sky.
This project would also evolve to a new “SAAB Sonett”, with a different front styling, but ultimately SAAB’s intencions to make it an AWD car didn’t come true, and Saturn opted to go with the Opel project, giving birth to the Sky.
Shape, color and sound affect the senses. With the Saturn Curve concept, a sinewy shape, warm colors and the aural delights of a supercharged engine warm the emotions of those who appreciate sophisticated and engaging automobiles. The Curve signifies Saturn’s evolution, both in styling and product. Saturn is growing its portfolio, planning new vehicles and exploring dynamic, refined designs
General Motors introduced the Saturn Curve at the North American International Auto Show. It was one of the vehicles, including the Pontiac Solstice production model and Chevrolet Nomad concept, built on GM’s new rear-wheel-drive Kappa architecture. Design creativity and implementation was a collaboration of GM’s worldwide resources, driven by GM North America’s Advanced Design Team and developed by GM’s European Advanced Design Center in Sweden. The European design influence bolsters the Curve’s aura of refinement. Final assembly was completed in Italy, with assistance from Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina.
The Curve is a 2+2 coupe. Like the Chevrolet Nomad concept, its greenhouse is very short. The window glass wraps around the B- and C-pillars, giving the unique look of a continuous canopy. Designed by GM’s European Advanced Design Center in Sweden and assembled in Italy with Industrie Pininfarina, S.p.A., the Curve is more expressive than most Saturns, with prominent fender forms that recall the Mazda RX-8. Unlike that car, though, the Curve has a bold grille and broader front surface, accentuated by horizontally arrayed headlight clusters echoed by additional air inlets below.
The hood is a front-hinged clamshell design, not uncommon on sports cars. Less common is the rear-hinged trunk lid, which seems more curious than functional. The 20-inch wheels all but fill the small car’s wheel wells. The suspension is fully independent, and the rear wheels are driven by a supercharged 2.0-liter Ecotec four-cylinder through a Getrag five-speed-manual transmission with a gate shifter. This drivetrain, which powers the 2004 Saturn Ion Red Line (minus the gate shifter), generates more than 200 horsepower and 200 pounds-feet of torque.
In front, twin-piston calipers grab 12.7-inch brake discs. The rear brakes have 12.6-inch rotors and single-piston calipers.
Inside, an open-gate shifter and analog instruments evoke the feel of a pure sports car, while the interior environment is warmed and enhanced with ‘floating’ door inserts that feature color-changing backlighting. This unique lighting effect transmits a subdued mood throughout the vehicle and is the type of innovative feature at home in a Saturn.
A curved wood center console is the interior’s dominant feature and is attached to the dashboard via a tongue-and-groove joint. It also encapsulates the engine instruments. Blonde wood is used to convey lightness and airiness, while charcoal-colored leather and terracotta inserts accent the dashboard and upholstery. An aluminum band running the width of the interior serves as a divider for the interior’s different elements. A matching aluminum handle greets those who open the Curve’s doors, inviting them to plunge into a warm environment that reflects the friendly nature of the Saturn brand.
Despite its relaxed demeanor inside, the Curve delivers a stirring sports car experience. Built on GM’s new Kappa architecture, this sport coupe features rear-wheel drive, independent front and rear suspensions, and a solid chassis built on the foundation of full-length hydroformed frame rails. Stampings attached to the rails form a rigid structure onto which the body panels are mounted.
Sports car performance is derived from a supercharged 2.2-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine that produces more than 200 horsepower and more than 200 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine features fuel-saving variable valve timing technology, which is available on some of GM’s four-, five- and six-cylinder engines. Through the use of variable engine valve timing, lift and duration can improve fuel economy, emissions and performance. The transmission is a Getrag five-speed manual.