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Automobile Magazine, August 2006
Driven: Pontiac Solstice GXP
Scoop! Exclusive first drive of GM's turbocharged roadster.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
The Pontiac Solstice has been the rare ray of sunshine in General Motor's winter of discontent. The Wilmington, Delaware , plant is working three shifts and Saturdays keeping up with Kappa-car demand, now stretching beyond Pontiac and Saturn (Sky) to Opel (GT) and Daewoo (G2X). Andrew Aquilante drove a Solstice to a podium finish in its SCCA showroom stock debut, and slideways champion Rhys Millen is hanging tail in a Red Bull-sponsored Solstice drifter. Tuners, including GM's own Performance Division, are juicing Solstice engine bays with hot V-8s like its a reincarnated 1932 Ford.

The best news is that the turbo edition, rumored from Kappa's birth and affirmed at this year's Los Angeles auto show, is ready to motor beyond Mazda's MX-5 to play in the performance-roadster league. Tested here first, the ripped 2007 Solstice GXP packs 260 hp and 260 lb-ft (of torque). The only powertrain carryover is the cylinder count. Revised 2.0 liter block, head, crank, rod, and piston architecture is force-fed with direct-injected fuel and turbocharged-and-intercooled air.
The Solstice GXP's appearance is in a word, stealthy. The front bumper is molded with D-shaped brake-cooling dimples and an intercooler goatee. In back are dual exhaust pipes, a discreet GXP badge, and an optional lip spoiler. The side view is unmolested.
Underneath, the GXP has a taller axle ratio, a shorter third gear, Bilstein dampers, 20 percent firmer spring rates, fatter antiroll bars, and a few stiffer bushings. ABS, stability control, and a limited-slip differential are standard. Goodyear Eagle F1 all-season radials share the base car's 245/45/WR-18 size, but the new rubber is tuned for sharper steering response and minimal tail wag.
If the standard Solstice is Pontiac's poodle, the GXP is its whippet. Boost rises quickly just past idle, with peak torque invigorating the driveline by 2000 rpm. With the throttle floored, ajnd 18 psi of boost tickling your ribs, you need a quick hand to keep up with gearchanges. The joy begins petering out by 4500 rpm, but there's still plenty of urge up to the 6300-rpm redline. The run to 60 mph is a fleet 5.7 seconds, only a tick slower than the Ford Mustang GT, and the quarter mile clicks by in 14.2 seconds at 99 mph. Boasting a specific output exceeding that of every turbocharged enine on the market save Porsche's new 911 and Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution, the GXP's four-cylinder is the strong, silent type, thanks to its small displacement, twin balance shafts and recycled exhaust energy.
Lively road manners are a pleasant surprise. Compared with the heavy and lethargic tenor of the regular Solstice, the GXP feels alert and anxious to please with the firm, responsive steering and tenacious grip. Lessons learned turning this car on the Nurburgring's Nordschleife sing through the chassis and controls loud and clear. Body motion is promplty snubbed, the suspension steps resilently over bumps, and rapid-fire control orders are executed wihtout complaint.
Even optioned up with leather and chromed wheels, the Solstice GXP's price is unlikely to break the $30,000 barrier. At least, that is, until Pontiac dealers tack on their cut for selling you one. Don Sherman

0-60 5.7 sec
0-100 14.5 sec
1/4 mile 14.2 sec @99 mph
Peak acceleration 0.68g
MPH in gears (1)34 (2)57 (3)85 (4)129 (5)143
Conering L/R 0.92g/0.92g
Braking 70-0 mph 160 ft
Braking peak g 1.08g
Weight, distribution front/rear 3020 lb, 52.8/47.2%
On Sale fall 2006 price est $26000
Engine turbocharged 2.0L I-4, 260hp, 260 lb-ft torque
Drive: Rear-wheel
Includes two pics of the Mean (Yellow) Solstice GXP and a Turbo Tech: Boosting the Solstice Diagram
__________________
"PHATSOL" vanity plate, gotten November 2005
'07 GXP ordered, every option except Smoker's Package. Expecting it not before Christmas 2006.
Same Mysterious color, this time with Ebony interior with the red piping and GXP logo. Can we say "GXP" loud enough. Current Sol for sale when I get my GXP
 

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Not to be down, but 5.7 0-60? They said 5.3 and that a good driver would get 5.0... This is a huge difference......
 

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Nemesis said:
Not to be down, but 5.7 0-60? They said 5.3 and that a good driver would get 5.0... This is a huge difference......
They actually said under 5.5, I think the writer got the wrong info.
 

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deluke said:
They actually said under 5.5, I think the writer got the wrong info.
Each car and driver is somewhat different, so .2 of a sec is really no concern, wait till the first sky posts 4.9 sec oooooooweeeee
 

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greenhornet said:
Each car and driver is somewhat different, so .2 of a sec is really no concern, wait till the first sky posts 4.9 sec oooooooweeeee:thumbs:

I NOW HAVE 55 POSTINGS AND HAVE BEEN A MEMBER FOR AT LEAST 30 DAYS, SO WHY CANT I USE MY AVATAR YET? ALSO, I DON'T KNOW WHO TO WRITE OR HOW. :willy:

HELP PLEASE!:jester: THANKS I GOT IT WHOOOOPEE
 

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greenhornet said:
I NOW HAVE 55 POSTINGS AND HAVE BEEN A MEMBER FOR AT LEAST 30 DAYS, SO WHY CANT I USE MY AVATAR YET? ALSO, I DON'T KNOW WHO TO WRITE OR HOW. :willy:

HELP PLEASE!:jester:
My took alittle while to come around too. I think BRENTIL is the one in charge..he he:jester:
 

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deluke said:
They actually said under 5.5, I think the writer got the wrong info.
I am hoping Greenhornet is right....5.7 is fast, but we could get the new WRX forthe same price and it will do 5.3-5. and has 4 doors and a trunk..... I'm hoping these guys didn't know what they were doing ans this thing is faster. Wasn't the GXP supposed to be lighter with no electric windows, abs, or roof sound deadening?
 

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Nemesis said:
I am hoping Greenhornet is right....5.7 is fast, but we could get the new WRX forthe same price and it will do 5.3-5. and has 4 doors and a trunk..... I'm hoping these guys didn't know what they were doing ans this thing is faster. Wasn't the GXP supposed to be lighter with no electric windows, abs, or roof sound deadening?
Zero to sixty times are all about 1) technique (and skill), 2) tires, 3) tire pressure, 4) pavement, 5) gvw (fuel, driver, equipment, etc), and 6) weather. 5.7 or 5.5 can be effected by any/all.
 

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snaponbob said:
Zero to sixty times are all about 1) technique (and skill), 2) tires, 3) tire pressure, 4) pavement, 5) gvw (fuel, driver, equipment, etc), and 6) weather. 5.7 or 5.5 can be effected by any/all.
Here's to hoping, becase the lateral grip on the GXO looks good and the power looks to be in the lower rpms which is nice. My 91 MR2 Turbo handled like a dream, had good seating position, balance, gas mileage, etc, but you still had to wind it up to about 3500-4000rpm before the power came on (200hp/200lbft). I am hoping we will see 5.5 or lower. 5.3 would keep the WRX guys from laughing at us....being that we will have better grip too...:thumbs:
 

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Automobile Magazine tends to get the worst 0-60 times anyway.....
 

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GM's official values are "under 5.5s" and usually most mags can get times lower then the official values. They did it with the base cars for sure.

Nemesis said:
I am hoping Greenhornet is right....5.7 is fast, but we could get the new WRX forthe same price and it will do 5.3-5. and has 4 doors and a trunk..... I'm hoping these guys didn't know what they were doing ans this thing is faster. Wasn't the GXP supposed to be lighter with no electric windows, abs, or roof sound deadening?
Um, but it's sooooo ulgy compared to our cars... :D
 

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greenhornet said:
Each car and driver is somewhat different, so .2 of a sec is really no concern, wait till the first sky posts 4.9 sec oooooooweeeee
I agree. I also heard it said that most automatics will beat the standard due to the fact that most people can't shift like the race car drivers. But Brentil would know more about this. What do you think Brentil ? I don't know how much truth there is to this ?

Where you live ?? We could meat at autocross and compare my automatic GXP to your Sky, when we get them.
 

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0 to 60, what are we an NHRA site?

deluke said:
I agree. I also heard it said that most automatics will beat the standard due to the fact that most people can't shift like the race car drivers. But Brentil would know more about this. What do you think Brentil ? I don't know how much truth there is to this ?

Where you live ?? We could meat at autocross and compare my automatic GXP to your Sky, when we get them.
All this talk of 0 to 60 and quarter mile, if this is everyones prime concern, sell your sky or solstice and buy a GTO or a mustang or some other sled.
Our cars are sports cars, two seater roadsters, cars that offer a total driving experience, total driver involvement, knowing how to down shift, up shift, what the tach is for, how to use you 4 cyl. engines high revs for max performance, how to find that perfect line for that set of twisties ahead, what is heel/ toe, hell the romance of a winding country road, top down on a crisp fall day, nothing compares to that except, really good sex maybe. NAH, not even then.:eek:

I'm not saying that acceleration isn't important, sure it is but it certainly isn't all what driving is about. If you ever get the oppertunity to drive a T series MG, 1946 to 1955, grab it. I promise you a driving experience like you have never had before. These British, 2 seater roadsters are the spiritual ancestors of every 2 seater roadster you see today, including our much anticipated and much loved SKY and Solstice.

We are talking about a real driving hoot, fun, fun, fun. Put the top down, fold the windshield down, [wear goggles] and you are a kid again in the bumper cars at the amusement park. And yet the FASTEST T SERIES went from 0 to 60, in about 20, yes that's TWENTY SECONDS:confused:

IF YOU DON'T KNOW ALREADY, LEARN TO DRIVE WELL AND YOU'LL NEVER NEED A TURBO TO HAVE GREAT FUN.:thumbs: sign up for a local SCCA drivers school.

By the way, deluke, automatics are usually faster only when you have a big V8 in front. Now youre talkin, AUTOCROSS, good place to learn driving skills.

the HORNET
 

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Actually, in autocross 0-60 is REALLY impoartant as just about ALL you runs are in second gear and under 60 mph. Class wins can be had with very small differences, and if a couple tenths can be gained over a 45 second run it matters. That aside, hauling butt IS fun, and more power IS more fun. The right pedal gets you to the lefts and rights sooner, right?
 

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greenhornet said:
All this talk of 0 to 60 and quarter mile, if this is everyones prime concern, sell your sky or solstice and buy a GTO or a mustang or some other sled.
I don't usually respond to negativity, but I love sports cars, and twisties. I look at 0-60 times for power off the line. If your not worried about power off the line why don't you look into the base sky? I am looking at the redline as a powerful roadster and performance is the key. Maybe some people are such great drivers that they feel that they could do the same in a base sky, great! But I am a street driver that loves to be shot out of a corner like a cannon. I tend to watch 0-60 as a meter for engine power and proper gearing for power. 0-60 is important for me and I wouldn't be waiting over a year and giving up my #1 position on the base sky waiting list for an RL if it wasn't.:thumbs:
 

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brentil said:
GM's official values are "under 5.5s" and usually most mags can get times lower then the official values. They did it with the base cars for sure.
Um, but it's sooooo ulgy compared to our cars... :D
It is ugly when compared to skys and solstices(no doubt). It's pretty ugly period. I think your right about the fact most mags will get better times. Automobile Mag doesn't usually post the best 0-60 times. I'm going to wait for Car & Driver, Motortrend and the like...:thumbs:
 

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my brother is really worried about the 0-60 time and the 1/4 time... we want the car to run a mid 13 with few mods, and hopefully by the time the ecu gets cracked we can get to 12s easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Does seem like an emotionless article to me. In the "Vile Gossip" editorial piece by Jean Jennings ironically she talks about:
We're up to our usual car-magazine tricks, "driving" prototypes that don't always tell us much about the real car. It's a time honored tradition.
She talks about a couple of "first drives" that didn't count...
The worn-out Dodge Viper that was a tired piece of crap, wired together after a couple of thousand hard engineering test miles. At 65 mph, it felt like 100 mph. At 100 mph, the engine roar sounded like I was sitting in the middle of a Chris-Craft, sand was blasting my cheeks, the wheel was tugging right and left in my hands; and the hood shake was scaring me.
She goes on to say:
"What can we tell you about the way a production Camaro would actually drive?" writes senior editor Joe DeMatio on page 52, after he has taken the handbuilt Detroit auto show Chevrolet Camaro out for a spin. "Not a helluva lot." What he really meant to say was, Nothing. Not a goddamn thing. The car isn't real, as he so clearly explains. But if you think we weren't going to take General Motors up on its offer to roll the creeky Camaro prototype around the Milford test track (especially once we heard that every magazine, newspaper, and Web domain in the universe had been invited to "drive" it, too), then you must be reading this beacuse there was nothing to read in the dentist's waiting room but ancient copies of Highlights For Children.
Speaking of the GXP, she says:
Turn to page 36. Although this isn't tucked into our annual, jam-packed Sneak Preview section, Don Sherman delivered a killer car-magazine scoop. He and he alone drove the Pontiac Solsctice GXP --the one we've all been waiting for, the one with the 260-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. This is no delicate concept car, but a one-off working prototype of the actual car that will hit the showrooms this fall. We'll never tell how it happened, but Sherman not only drove it, he tested acceleration, braking, and cornering performance. Now that deserves an exclamation point!
 

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Axel said:
Does seem like an emotionless article to me. In the "Vile Gossip" editorial piece by Jean Jennings ironically she talks about:
She talks about a couple of "first drives" that didn't count...
She goes on to say:
Speaking of the GXP, she says:
I went and got a copy of the mag. One thing I noticed when ponderng over the numbers was the top speed at each gear:

MPH in gears (1)34 (2)57 (3)85 (4)129 (5)143

If you notice, the top speed og 2nd is only 3mph below 60mph. This means that the 0-60 times will be off if the driver doesn't switch to 3rd in time. I'm betting this will improve wit hother drivers. Something I did notice in the mag wasthat the GXP numbers looked better then some of the $50k BMW Z4 Coup's numbers. Automobile mag does measure th g's the driver experiences while accelerating, and both cars experienced a maximum of 0.68g (note that the BMW has a 3.2L I-6 with 330hp/262 lb-ft). Also the GXP had perfectly balanced steering with 0.92 g's both right and left, however the BMW experienced 0.94 when making a left turn and only 0.88 while making a right turn (how would you like to have that kind of unpredictability when going through the S-curves?) Also, the braking onthe BMW from 70-0 came to 158ft, the GXP was 160ft (wow, how many $1k more for 2ft better braking?) Per both 0-60 comparisons the BMW has us there, but wow! Just thought I would let you guys know since this can be very important to some of us.:thumbs:
 
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