EXPERT REVIEW

IndyStar.com's view

Oldsmobile Division of General Motors Corp. is offering a l995 automobile with a life of its own.

The car is the 1995 Aurora. And rather than being known as the Oldsmobile Aurora, the prestige luxury sedan stands alone as the Aurora by Oldsmobile.

There are no exterior Oldsmobile badges, and the only Olds badge inside is on the stereo.

The four-door was meant to be an upstream vehicle from the start, and for the first time in many years it gives the division a sedan powered by a V8.

The car is predicated as the benchmark for Oldsmobile’s future product direction. It can be classified as a luxury import fighter that gives Indianapolis Olds dealers a product with the features of better world-class automobiles.

The wind tunnel obviously played a major role in the Aurora’s aerodynamic shape. Upper and lower body sections are a series of flowing curves that let the sedan slip through the air with a low coefficient of drag.

This minimum air turbulence not only contributes to decent fuel mileage from a powerful engine, but reduces wind noise to the lowest possible at high speeds.

At interstate speeds in the Aurora that General Motors Corp.’s Terri Phillips provided, quiet, normal conversation was possible, unencumbered by air rushing over the body at considerable velocity.

The front-drive car handles equally well as a road machine and in urban traffic.

If you lean on the throttle, it can make things happen courtesy of a four-cam, 32-valve V-8. This is a 4.0-liter (244 cubic inch) four-valves- per-cylinder scaled-down version of Cadillac’s Northstar V8. Look for this engine in other Olds models in the future.

The Aurora is a fairly heavy automobile at 3,967 pounds, so acceleration, while good, wasn’t exactly in the barn-burner category. Zero to 60 mph was in the mid-8 seconds bracket.

Acceleration for quick passes was excellent, with the engine pulling smoothly into the upper speed range. The V8 also has an estimated top speed of 135 mph. And in city driving it was as docile as any elderly matron would want.

Completing the drivetrain was GM’s super-smooth 4T80-E four-speed automatic transmission. Gear changes were barely perceptible.

The Aurora is a gadget lover’s delight, with all controls identified. It took but a few minutes of driving before everything automatically fell to hand.

A touch I especially liked was the two-zone climate control system with individual controls on the passenger side. And then there were the L-shaped seat adjustment controls for the front seats placed on the upper segment of the door panels rather than the bottom of the seats.

Everything about the Aurora is meant to be user-friendly. Entrance and exit are helped by doorsills that extend into the roof. All buttons and levers are right at hand. The full gauge instrumentation, including a tachometer, is right in front of the driver.

About the only complaint was that if the ignition switch would stand out more prominently from the steering post, it would be easier to insert the key.

I’d say when equipped with optional Michelin V- rated radial tires that the Aurora leans a bit toward a sports-oriented luxury sedan. The ride had a very moderate degree of firmness, enough to transfer some vibration into the passenger compartment when going over rippling pavement.

The four-wheel independent suspension and Michelin rubber, however, tracked like the car was on rails through high-speed turns. You had to really stand on the gas before the forward weight bias of the front-drive began setting up a push in the corners.

Luxury lovers will find the Aurora offers a full complement of leathers, woods and comfort and convenience items as standard. It’s the type of automobile you can drive across country without high fatigue.

Oldsmobile Division is seeking an image with the Aurora. The car has the necessary features to give the division aneeded boost. And as management states, “It represents the renaissance of Oldsmobile.”

1995 Ol dsmobile Aurora Base price: $31,370.As tested: $32,390.Type: Front-engine, front-drive, five- passenger luxury sedan.Engine: 4.0 liters, DOHC V8, 32 valves, 250 horsepower, 260 foot-pounds of torque.Transmission: Four-speed automatic.Mileage: 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway.Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds.Top speed: 135 mph (estimated).Wheelbase: 113.8 inches.Length: 205.4 inches.Width: 74.4 inches.Height: 55.4 inches.Curb weight: 3,967 pounds.Options: Michelin V-rated P235/60R16 radial tires.

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