2008 Saturn Astra XR

2008 Saturn Astra XR Pictures & Specifications
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Technical Specifications

Make: Saturn
Model: Astra XR
Engine: 1.8 litre four-cylinder
Aspiration: Natural
Maximum Power: 140 hp (104 kW) @ 6300 rpm
Maximum Torque: 126 lb-ft (171 Nm) @ 3800 rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic
Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive

2008 Saturn Astra

GM Media Release
1 August 2008

The Saturn Astra brings a decidedly European flavour to the North American compact car market. It is packed with a wide range of standard equipment and safety features, and delivers sporty performance with very good fuel economy.

The Saturn Astra is offered in three-door and five-door models, each underpinned by a taut, European-bred suspension that delivers a sharp, responsive driving experience. Power comes from a 1.8L Ecotec four-cylinder engine that is both energetic and economical, delivering 140 horsepower (104 kW).

“Saturn marries Astra’s combination of style, performance, safety technology and fuel efficiency with a celebrated customer experience,” said Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak.

Product highlights
Saturn offers two trim levels (XE and XR) for five-door models, and a single trim (XR) in the three-door configuration, created with particularly enthusiastic drivers in mind.

The standard powertrain combination in all models is the 1.8L Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine, paired with a five-speed manual transmission. The Ecotec engine is enhanced with variable valve timing to optimise power output and fuel efficiency. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional on all models.

The Astra offers technologies to provide an agile, yet comfortable, driving experience. StabiliTrak stability control system with traction control is standard on all three-door Astras, and available on five-door models. This system works in concert with the standard four-wheel, anti-lock disc brakes to help the driver maintain control during adverse road conditions or during sudden emergency driving situations.

An electro-hydraulic, rack-and-pinion steering system is standard on all models. It provides the solid, linear feel of a hydraulic power steering system, but improves fuel efficiency by operating the power steering pump only when necessary. The system has two available configurations: the standard 15:1 ratio on five-door models and a 14:1 Sport ratio (standard on the three-door; optional on five-doors).

Five-door Astras come with standard 16-inch wheels, but can be upgraded to 17-inch aluminium wheels. Three-door models come standard with 17-inch aluminium wheels, which can be upgraded to 18-inch aluminium wheels and performance tyres.

Impressive powertrain
The Astra’s standard 1.8L Ecotec DOHC engine is a sophisticated, powerful and economical power plant. It uses variable valve timing to optimise power and economy, delivering 140 horsepower (104 kW) and 126 lb-ft of torque (171 Nm) – for an enviable 77 horsepower per litre (58 kW/L).

A number of unique and innovative features highlight the 1.8L engine, including two continuously variable camshafts, a highly efficient oil/water heat exchanger and a map-controlled thermostat. It also has a deep-drawn exhaust manifold that incorporates the catalytic converter and a two-step intake manifold that uses a rotary sleeve instead of conventional flaps to actuate the transition between low-rpm and high-rpm airflow. This design minimises flow loss for optimal performance and efficiency.

The 1.8L Ecotec also has a strong, lighter-weight cast iron cylinder block, thanks to a unique hollow frame design concept. It weighs only 59.5 pounds (27 kg), which is comparable to many aluminium-block engines. Oil-cooling jets are incorporated in the block to ensure optimal piston cooling.

A five-speed manual transmission is standard in all models and helps the Astra delivers great fuel economy. An Aisin electronically controlled four-speed automatic is available; it is renowned for its low noise, high durability and smooth shifting.

The four-speed automatic incorporates neutral idle, a feature that automatically shifts the transmission to neutral during stops and eliminates converter drag on the engine. It also is equipped with an automatic throttle kick-down feature, which actuates immediate downshifting during wide-open throttle driving for more immediate performance.

Confident suspension
All Astra models have specifically tuned suspensions. For example, the three-door XR model receives a sport tuned suspension that includes a 15-mm-lower ride height, quicker steering calibration, a specific front axle configuration and an electronically aided sport chassis system.

The Astra uses a strut-type front suspension, with the control arms, stabiliser bar and steering rack mounted to the subframe. All of the front suspension’s bushings are designed to minimise noise and vibration.

Astra’s rear suspension features a semi-independent torsion-link axle design, with an axle-beam formed to a double-U-shaped profile. This enhances strength and also serves as a stabiliser bar. The rear control arms also feature integrated wheel carriers that are made from lightweight, one-piece, hollow-cast material. These lightweight control arms reduce unsprung mass, for an increased feeling of nimbleness.

The hollow control arms are connected to the high-strength rear axle beam via the Opel-developed Magnetarc welding process, which enables high axle loads and a compact package.

Design details
The Astra has a clean, contemporary design that is infused with Saturn’s signature styling cues, including a bold, bright grille bar with prominent Saturn logo. Both the three-door and five-door models are distinguished from their European relatives with unique front and rear fascias that conform to North American bumper standards.

Rear-end styling also features a bright trim bar, with large, wraparound taillamps and clear lenses. The center high-mounted stop lamp uses LED technology for fast and crisp illumination.

Proportions on both body styles suggest an enthusiastic driving experience, with the wheels pushed to the corners and subtle fender flares wrapped tightly around the tyres for a tailored stance.

Interior design and features
Bold design, refinement and precise execution are the hallmarks of the Saturn Astra’s interior, which envelops passengers in a contemporary environment that maximises space and comfort. Details include a continuation of the exterior’s center hood crease on to the center of the instrument panel, as well as a V-shaped center stack motif that also complements the design language of the exterior.

All models convey the Astra’s sporting character through firm, well-supported seats and a thick, three-spoke steering wheel with rake and telescopic adjustments. Ahead of the steering wheel is a rounded cockpit binnacle that houses a large, three-dimensional gauge cluster – including large speedometer and tachometer dials. The sporty Astra three-door receives specific seats with more aggressive bolsters and lumbar support.

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