San Francisco: The
brand that brought you the Firebird, Bonneville, and Trans Am now offers
a brand new sedan with a European sounding two-digit name that tells you
nothing. The G6 replaces the venerable Pontiac Grand Am, which was
Pontiacís bread and butter four door sedan and coupe for decades.
If Pontiac wasnít
trying to remake their image, this new vehicle would likely be called
the New Grand Am. This compact & midsize vehicle uses General Motorís
rugged, modern, Epsilon platform, with a long 112.3-inch wheelbase and
reasonable length to offer more comfort and space than much of its
competition. It is certainly roomier than the old Grand Am.
The G6 manages to look
both familiar and fresh. The nose is unmistakably Pontiac, with its twin
nostrils and arrowhead logo. The carís belt line drops from the front
pillars and then dramatically rises as it heads back to a set of
undistinguished taillamps. Unlike Pontiacs of recent vintage, there is
no chunky cladding to be seen, so the overall effect is clean and
smooth. The optional Chrometech alloy wheels on my tester spoke this
fresh new Pontiac design language too.
Inside the G6 a
transformation has truly occurred from the Grand Am. The shapes and
proportions on the new dash are just right, and the textures and panel
fit are some of the best I have ever seen in a General Motors product.
The soft, matte surfaces on the center console resemble those of a
Volkswagen or Audi, and are especially fine and attractive. The
boy-racer cartooniness of some previous sporty Pontiacs is gone. The
four chrome ringed gauges on the instrument panel evoke upscale luxury,
while the true-red LED lighting of those gauges conveys sport, and their
aggressively italic typeface gives the impression of urgency.
If anything could be
considered a flourish inside, itís the wave in the top of the dash
panel. It looks as if the rising up of the hood over the instruments
made a ripple, which fades out gently as it heads toward the passenger
If the G in G6 is
possibly a nod to the Grand Am forbear, the 6 in the name points to the
new 3.5-liter V6 engine that comes in both G6 models for 2005.
Generating 200 horsepower and 220 lb.-ft. of torque, it offers plenty of
grunt for a 3,400 pound car. The 2006 models will also provide a tamer
170-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder base model and a mighty GTP
version with a 240-horsepower 3.9-liter V6.
My Sport Red Metallic
tester was the upper level GT version. However, every G6 gets four-wheel
disc brakes and a four-speed automatic transmission, as well as power
windows and locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and variable
effort electric power steering. For a $2,600 premium, the GT brings in
17-inch alloy wheels, antilock brakes, power adjustable pedals, a sport
tuned suspension, a rear spoiler, a manual shift mode with the automatic
transmission, and more.
My test car carried a
significant $5,355 worth of options, including the Premium Value package
(3,145), Leather package ($1,365), additional airbags for side and head
protection, and the remote vehicle starter system.
This last item was
fascinating. I simply pushed the circular-arrow-marked button on the
remote and the car started up without a key or even a driver. This would
be great for getting the defroster and heat going before jumping in on a
cold day. I did notice, though, that the radio didnít turn on too, so if
you wanted to hear music you would have to turn the car off and back on
manually to bring the audio system to life.
As part of the Premium
Value Package, my car featured the Panoramic Roof. This enormous
four-panel glass sunroof allows front and rear passengers to enjoy sun
and air on pleasant days. The front slice of glass pops up while the
other three gather together at the rear when you push the button. Also
included in the package is the Monsoon 200-watt sound system, which
delivers crystalline, full-bodied music.
The OnStar emergency
communication system came with the package too. As seen in the TV ads,
this electronic marvel lets you communicate with people who can help
with travel information, unlocking, or other services. In case of a
crash, OnStar automatically notifies emergency personnel, using Advanced
Automatic Crash Notification to convey airbag conditions to them, so
they will already have an idea of what they will find when they arrive
on the scene.
The base G6 starts at
$21,925. At $28,280 my test car competes against entry-level luxury cars
from Audi, Acura, and others, which is a lot of pressure for a new
Pontiac. The fact that the G6 felt surprisingly tight, well made, and
comfortable made the price much easier to live with. By
Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Pontiac Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
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2005 Pontiac G6
The 2005 Pontiac G6
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