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Next-Gen Pontiac Performance

Old 08-01-2007, 07:08 AM
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Default Next-Gen Pontiac Performance

Brand wants to add muscle but wrestles with CAFE standards

AutoWeek | Published 07/30/07, 12:08 pm et
G8 debuts
Solstice coupe debuts
Possible G5 redesign
Solstice restyled, re-engineered




General Motors wants to transform Pontiac into its "affordable performance" brand with a new lineup of rear-wheel-drive cars.

But the CAFE debate has thrown those plans into turmoil.

G5: General Motors might replace Pontiac's entry-level car with a redesigned model, possibly as early as the 2010 model year. Rear drive has been mentioned for the next G5, as Pontiac moves away from front-drive cars.

The bottom line: The current G5 may remain in Pontiac's lineup one or two years longer than originally planned.

G6: "What do we do now?" also might be the question for the next-generation G6.

The first plan was to restyle and re-engineer the G6 on GM's new Epsilon 2 front-wheel-drive vehicle architecture, debuting for the 2010 model year. But that plan was canceled in the past year when GM executives decided that the brand's cars should all be rwd to further distinguish Pontiacs from Chevrolets. The Pontiac Solstice is rwd, as is the Pontiac G8 sedan that goes on sale in January.

So the next-generation G6 was shifted to GM's new global rwd vehicle architecture, called Alpha. The redesigned G6 had been slated for the 2012 model year with assembly in the Oshawa, Ontario, plant. The rwd G6 is larger and heavier than the current fwd model.

But with the push in Congress to dramatically boost CAFE standards, the rwd G6 program was put on hold. Later, it was put back on track pending the resolution of the CAFE debate by Congress and the Bush administration. It appears to be on hold again.

Grand Prix: GM will discontinue the Grand Prix at the end of the 2007 model year. Expect most of the last Grand Prix models to be sold to daily rental fleets.

G8: The 2008 Pontiac G8 will be the first car sold in the United States developed on GM's global rwd vehicle architecture. The car is essentially a Pontiac version of the redesigned Holden Commodore, which was developed by GM's Australian subsidiary. The G8 will be assembled in Australia; U.S. sales begin in January.

The G8 shares much of its sheet metal with the Commodore. Unique to the G8 are the hood, front fascia, grille and headlights. The fascia and bumpers had to be engineered to meet U.S. specifications.

The base G8 will have a 261-hp, 3.6-liter V-6; the GT model will have a 362-hp, 6.0-liter V-8.

The G8 is intended to be Pontiac's flagship sedan, eventually replacing the Grand Prix. But it will be one step up in terms of price, starting at around $25,000.

GTO: Some within GM want to add a sporty, high-performance coupe to the Pontiac range, a spiritual successor to the GTO and Firebird. There is no time frame for such a car, and at this point, neither the GTO nor Firebird name likely would be used.

Solstice: A fastback coupe is scheduled to be added for the 2009 model year. Higher-horsepower engines are planned, but a V-6 is not. GM likely will re-engineer and reskin or restyle the Solstice for the 2011 model year.

Torrent: The Torrent crossover ends production in January 2010, leaving Pontiac with a car-only product line. The Torrent's replacement shifts to GMC, with production set to start in the first quarter of 2010 as a 2011 model.

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Old 08-01-2007, 04:32 PM
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Default RE: Next-Gen Pontiac Performance

Some good ideas, some bad ideas. It is a good idea to distinguish themselves from Chevrolet, but the idea of being all RWD might not be such a good idea. There is a reason why people went with FWD and many might not want to go back. On the V8 models and very high output V6 models in the 300hp+ category, it might make sense, but as for econoboxes, it does not. Pontiac should receive a different powertrain than what Chevrolet has. The G5 should receive direct-injected versions of the Ecotec as well as an updated version of the engine offered in the Solistice GXP.

The G6 should also receive the Direct Injection treatment to its engine line. Since the Grand Prix is going the way of the Dodo, the G6 should receive an updated version of the supercharged 3800 (with Direct-Injection of course) for its top level GXP. They should at least make a Firebird if not both the Firebird and the GTO. The Firebird should receive the same engines that the Camaro is going to get all modified with Direct Injection to help it stand out instead of being just a clone like the last models were.
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