The Aurora was the inspiration for Oldsmobile's future vehicles in the mid-1990 onward.
Introduced in 1995, the Aurora was a full-size luxury/ performance sedan that was redesigned in 2001. The Aurora is considered to be the first ‘new generation' Oldsmobile that was meant to revive the dying brand of Oldsmobile. Oldsmobile was giving out the impression of old, stodgy vehicles that were typically your grandfather's vehicle. The introduction of the Aurora was meant to change that.
The first generation somewhat kept that ‘grandfather' impression alive, but the 2001 redesign was anything but. Launched in 1995, the Aurora rode on the same Cadillac derived G platform as the 2-door Buick Riviera. The Aurora was the flagship for Oldsmobile when it replaced the Ninety-Eight in 1996. In 2001 the V6-powered version was a replacement for the Eighty-Eight and the LSS.
GM took several styling cues from the 1960's Oldsmobile Toronado in its design of the Oldsmobile Aurora. Hoping for a comeback of the marque, the Oldsmobile Aurora was an attempt to revive plummeting sales from 1,066,122 in 1985 to 389,173 in 1992. The Aurora featured no Oldsmobile badging or script except for the engine cover and cassette deck. A brand new emblem; a stylized ‘A' was instead used.
The design work on the Aurora began early in the late 1980's and by 1989 the engineering concept became known as the Oldsmobile Tube Car. The Tube Car carried many of the detailed elements that were later shown on the production Aurora, such as the wraparound rear windshield, frameless windows and a full-width tail lamp. The Tube Car was built of a pillarless hardtop design with suicide doors unlike the eventual production vehicle.
The first generation of the Oldsmobile Aurora was introduced in 1995 with a 4.0 L L47 V8 engine with a wheelbase of 113.8 inches, a length of 205.4 inches, and a width of 74.4 inches until 1997, and from 1998 through 1999, a height of 55.1 inches. On January 31st 1994, the Aurora went into production and was released for the 1995 model year. Numerous luxurious features and technologically advanced standard features were offered on the first generation of the Oldsmobile Aurora that included leather seating surfaces, burl walnut interior accents, power adjustable front seats with 2-position memory and dual-zone climate control. Another unique feature offered on the Aurora was an on-board information center that informed the drivers of things such as the estimated time to destination, gas mileage and the date.
The Oldsmobile Aurora was esteemed for its stellar build quality, well-balanced ride, refined engine, and structural integrity. The Aurora's unibody construction actually broke GM's testing machine during normal crush-to-failure rests done by automakers to evaluate body rigidity.
The sales held strong for the first year while over 45,000 units were sold. Unfortunately the following year, sales plummeted as buyers were turned off by the huge price tag. First generation Aurora's were constructed in Lake Orion, Michigan.
For the 1996 model year, Oldsmobile Aurora's received daytime running lines. The following year and electronic compass was placed in the inside rear-view mirror. When the vehicle was put into reverse, the outside mirror tilted to allow the driver to see the curb edge. Joining the optional Bose sound system was an in-dash CD player, along with the option of a 12-disc CD player that could be ordered separate from the Bose setup.
The 1998 Oldsmobile Aurora featured a modified suspension and steering that added a more comfortable ride along with better low-speed steering feel, while OnStar was offered optionally. This generation ended its production on June 25, 1999 and no 2000 model was offered.
The second generation Aurora was introduced in 2001 and came with a 3.5 L LX5 V6 4.0 L L47 V8. The wheelbase on the 2nd generation was 112.2 inches, and featured a length of 199.3 inches and a width of 72.9 inches.
Intending to move the Oldsmobile Aurora further up the market, this 2nd generation kept it V8-only drivetrain and shared the platform with the new Buick Riviera, just like the original Aurora had. The re-engineered Aurora came with the same G-body design retained the 4.0 V8 Northstar that continued to be mounted to a 4T80E. For the first time, the Aurora was offered a V6 engine, the LX5, which was a cut-down relation of the DOHC Aurora V8 called the 'Shortstar.'
Unfortunately, though this second generation of the Aurora was a ‘competitive luxury sedan' it still didn't gain the success or sales that Oldsmobile had hoped. Most of this lack of success was due to GM's announcement in December 2000 that the Oldsmobile marque would be phased out over the next several years. The new Aurora still shared design styles with other GM vehicles, though keeping its unique styling, but unfortunately this took away the ‘separateness' from other Oldsmobile models that the original had had.
Going into production on November 10, 1999, the 2nd generation of the Oldsmobile Aurora went on sale in February 2000. Produced for the 2001 and 2002 model year, the V6-powered Aurora ended its production lineup in mid-2002. The final 500 Aurora's were produced on March 28, 2003.By Jessica Donaldson