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SATURN ION RED LINE SUPERCHARGES SPORT COMPACT MARKET

With a snarl in its exhaust note, an imposing stance from its racetrack-tuned suspension, and the immediate rush of its Ecotec 2.0-liter supercharged, 205 horsepower engine, the 2004 ION Red Line has a character like nothing else to come out of Saturn. Affirming its intention to create expressive performance-tuned vehicles, Saturn is displaying the ION Red Line at the 2003 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.

“The 2004 ION Red Line will introduce Saturn to sport compact enthusiasts,” said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn vice president for sales, service and marketing. “We have pulled no punches with the ION Red Line. It’s a serious performance vehicle.”

Production of the ION Red Line is scheduled to begin in early 2004.

“Performance-tuned vehicles are an important component of Saturn’s expanding portfolio,” said Lajdziak. “Saturn vehicles inspire fun while driving. And while the ION Red Line delivers a unique driving experience, it does so in different ways.”

Highlights of the ION Red Line include:

-2.0-liter, supercharged and intercooled version of the Ecotec four-cylinder engine
-Five-speed transmission with increased torque capacity, close ratio gearing and short-throw shifter
-Equal-length half shafts
-High-flow, performance-tuned exhaust and air induction system
-Large, four-wheel disc brakes (with standard ABS)
-Racetrack-bred suspension tuning, including revised springs, shocks, bushings and stabilizer bars
-17 x 7 inch, five-spoke forged alloy wheels
-Dunlop P215/45R-17 Sport SP9000 performance tires
-10-mm lower ride height
-Unique front and rear fascias, rocker moldings and a family of available rear wings
-Recaro performance front seats, four-spoke steering wheel and performance pedals

“The supercharger provides instant response and a dramatic feeling of performance when you’re behind the wheel,” said Doug Parks, ION chief engineer. “But the Red Line is not simply an ION with more power. From its visual features, such as the aggressive wheels, to components you can’t see, like the equal-length drive shafts that are used to limit torque steer, it’s a comprehensive package developed to recast the entire car in a performance mold.”

In addition to outstanding performance, the ION Red Line features a technologically-packed powertrain, including the supercharger, an air-to-water intercooler and the use of electronic throttle control (ETC). ETC utilizes an electronic signal, rather than a traditional cable between the gas pedal and engine, for immediate throttle response.

“ION Red Line is a street car that is also at home on the racetrack,” said Parks. “Customers have told us that ride-and-handling is their favorite attribute of ION; with the Red Line we’ve built on that strength.”

Inspired by the “tuner” cars popularized in Southern California, ION Red Line was developed with assistance from the GM Performance Division, an in-house center designed to explore potential enthusiast-oriented versions of production models.

“The ION Red Line was designed for enthusiasts seeking a ready performance vehicle,” said John Heinricy, GM Performance Division director. “The base ION was systematically enhanced to deliver uncompromising performance, function and style – traits that will make it extremely competitive in the sport compact market.”

Engine, cooling and exhaust
An Eaton helical Roots supercharger was selected because of the immediacy of its horsepower delivery and its relative ease of implementation. Engineers also added an air-to-water intercooler to reduce the temperature of air entering the engine. This cooler air enhances the effectiveness of the supercharger. In the Red Line, the supercharger and intercooler system produces a maximum boost level of 12 pounds.

“The supercharger provides instant power,” said Tracy Thueme, ION Red Line program engineering manager. “Coupling the supercharger with an air-to-water intercooler was a simple, effective way to build even more horsepower.“

Engineers did not simply add a supercharger and intercooler to the existing ION 2.2L Ecotec engine. The Red Line engine is a special 2.0L Ecotec engine, built with a high-strength steel crankshaft, oil-cooled lower-compression pistons, sodium-filled exhaust valves and other components necessary to handle the unique requirements of a supercharged application. A high-flow air intake and a high-flow exhaust manifold are tuned to move air quickly through the engine. Along with the new engine, the vehicle’s cooling system is upgraded with a larger radiator core and larger cooling fans.

When it came to exhaust, engineers maintained the “move air quickly” ideal with a 2.25-inch exhaust system that incorporates a low restriction catalytic converter and low restriction muffler. The system lowers backpressure from the engine, enhancing the performance of the supercharged engine and giving the ION Red Line a distinct note from its large, chromed exhaust tip.

Transmission and driveline
The five-speed manual transmission is new to the Red Line and has a higher torque capacity to withstand the increase in output from the engine. Its gear ratios were selected specifically for this application. The gears are spaced in even increments to keep the engine in its “sweet spot” between shifts. A short-throw shifter quickens the shifts and provides a more positive feel, too. The shifter’s travel is approximately 1 inch shorter than the shifter found in standard ION models.

Another heavy-duty item is the Red Line’s driveline, which has a higher torque capacity than a standard ION driveline. Equal-length half shafts are utilized to limit the tendency of torque steer in this powerful, front-drive application. A final drive ratio of 4.05:1 was selected to complement the supercharged engine’s power.

Chassis
ION Red Line is the first ION to feature four-wheel disc brakes. The front disc rotors measure 11.6 inches in diameter, which is approximately 1 inch larger than the rotors on standard ION models. Along with the larger rotors, engineers incorporated larger, five-bolt wheel hubs, brake calipers and brake pads. The larger calipers and brake pads allow greater braking capacity and are proven performance parts found in other high-performance GM vehicles.

The rear disc brake rotors measure 10.6 inches in diameter. They are mounted on an all-new rear axle assembly that incorporates revised suspension geometry.

Suspension tuning was refined on the racetrack, including spring rates, bushing rates and stabilizer bar size. The rear shocks are larger in diameter than those found on a standard ION, and the Red Line has a 10-mm reduced ride height.

Connecting the Red Line to the road is a set of Dunlop Sport SP9000 performance tires mounted to 17 x 7 inch, six-spoke forged alloy wheels. Forged alloy wheels are stronger than cast alloy wheels that are typically found on production vehicles.

Additionally, ION’s electric power steering efforts have been tuned for the Red Line to provide increased driver feedback.

Exterior
The Red Line’s expressive exterior styling complements the performance built into the vehicle. All-new front and rear fascias were designed by GM Performance Division’s Kip Wasenko. The front fascia features a large, deep air inlet and the rear fascia has a cut-out for the large, chromed exhaust tip. Along with revised rocker moldings, the enhanced bodywork of the Red Line visually lowers the vehicle 1 inch.

ION Red Line comes standard with a rear spoiler, but a family of large, stylish rear wings is available. Also, a mesh-screen grille is available to further accent the vehicle. Red Line badging is located on the deck lid.

At the onset of production, ION Red Line’s exterior colors will be Black, Blue or Silver.

Interior
All Red Line vehicles come with a black interior. Standard Recaro performance seats complement the sporting environment and enhance driver control by providing increased lateral support. A new sport steering wheel and gearshift knob also are part of the interior package, as are pedals reconfigured for performance driving.

“When developing the ION Red Line, we built in all of the elements that are important to compact performance enthusiasts,” said Thueme. “It’s a comprehensive package which functions as well as it looks.”
 

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i think i already posted this hear two months ago... must check and see...
 

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nope, posted it on another board. ah well, old news none the less.
 

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I think the "Tunerz" will love this car, but you know the first thing they will do is shave that emblem off of the front end.
 

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Originally posted by Ming@Nov 7 2003, 08:58 PM
I think the "Tunerz" will love this car, but you know the first thing they will do is shave that emblem off of the front end.
i think they should deadbolt the saturn emblen on hte front end so that everyone nos that that sick car that jus beat them was a saturn not a civic with a front end job

then again they'd probly change the hood to carbon fiber
o well it was a good idea
 

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Nice photo of the ION. MUCH better steering wheel.

Now if only they could just get rid of that center stack speedo...
 

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Originally posted by mason@Nov 8 2003, 04:41 AM
Nice photo of the ION. MUCH better steering wheel.

Now if only they could just get rid of that center stack speedo...
i'm telling you, the centre mounted IP is the best thing ever. until you drive one, for at least a week, you should reserve your judgement. i just wish more cars had it, other than the echo. :(
 

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they probably did it to cut costs down. suffice it to say, if the cobalt/pursuits get an LSD, i'm sure it could be adapted for the ION. that is, if it doesn't become factory equipment first.

anyway, what kind of differential does it have? open?
 

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This Saturn actually looks pretty decent.
(I have not been a previous Saturn fan.)

I wish having a rear spoiler was an option.
But I guess it would be easy to remove it.

I need to try out this center-mounted IP.
I have never tried one out before. Seems
like I would not like it, but I guess I should
hold judgement until I actually try one.
 

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Originally posted by thehemi@Nov 10 2003, 03:59 PM
This Saturn actually looks pretty decent.
(I have not been a previous Saturn fan.)

I wish having a rear spoiler was an option.
But I guess it would be easy to remove it.

I need to try out this center-mounted IP.
I have never tried one out before. Seems
like I would not like it, but I guess I should
hold judgement until I actually try one.
finally, someone willing to try it out before passing judgement. hallelujah.
 

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I tried... I really tried. I won?t go as far as Floyd and say this is garbage. It has redeeming qualities: The four-door coupe idea is cool and works well. But: The suspension crashes and bangs over road imperfections, the steering is way light, the interior materials are lousy, seats are uncomfortable, the exterior styling is so-so, the gearbox inspires zero confidence and finally, the sticker price is a joke?and not a funny one. My question: How can GM do world-class trucks?and I mean that?yet turn out the Ion? It baffles me. Compared to a Civic or Corolla, this thing just ain?t in the ballpark. Again, I tried. I can?t take it anymore.
:( <_< Let's hope both the Redline and the Chevy Cobalt are WAY better than this....and I was hoping that GM would spend some cash to fix these problems by now.

You know that if they were testing the Opel Astra on the same platform it would have at least gotten lukewarm reviews, even from the harshest of critics. Sp why do GM's designers and beancounters do such a terrible job with the ION?

Full article: http://autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_co...t_code=05075916
 

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Here's what I don't get. GM has the Ion Redline at what, $20K? OK. Want to sell some cars GM? Try this recipe:

Take one Cavalier Value Package at $10400, add the 3500 for the supercharger, and voila! Can you imagine how many of these little beasties they'd sell at 14K??

Think, GM, think!
 

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But then people would complain about the interior, handling, etc....
 
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