Last post on Jul 23, 2010 at 5:36 PM
You are in the Pontiac Bonneville
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Pontiac Bonneville, Sedan
#3749 of 4400 GXP vs. 300C
Jan 23, 2004 (1:11 pm)
I dropped off this board awhile back when it got quiet and nobody was talking about the GXP. Glad to see folks talking about it again now that it is about to start showing up in showrooms. I can’t wait to see and drive one. Pontiac engineering, reliability, and style all push me toward the GXP. I’m a little biased because I have been a Pontiac owner for years, but I have stayed with Pontiac because all my Pontiacs have been reliable, fun to drive, and have served me well. I like fantascp’s characterization of the 300C as a boxed off cheese grater! It also looks like it has the roofline from a Checker Cab. And the squared off and flat instrument panel (as opposed to the rounded and “curved around the driver” panel of the Bonneville) turns me off. To each his own, but I guess I’m just not a fan of all the squared off and “angry”looks that many cars’ interiors and exteriors are gravitating toward. The Bonneville from 2000 on, and now especially the GXP, is especially graceful-looking to me, inside and out. There’s nothing “in-your-face” about it—just grace and elegance, now with some real performance goodies added. I hoped for a tad more horsepower than 275 in the GXP, but if that moves that 3,700 pound car 0-60 in 6.5 or 6.6 as advertised, that’s plenty fast for me. I imagine if I wanted to boost the horsepower of the Northstar, that wouldn’t be hard to do.
I agree with the comments on the Hunter GSP9700 balancer. I had balancing problems on my ’98 Trans Am that several dealers and tire shops could not resolve until I found a shop with the Hunter balancer. That was the solution.
#3750 of 4400 Choices, choices...
Jan 23, 2004 (5:40 pm)
For those who might remember, I had been an import buyer for 20+ years before I bought the '00 SLE. Coincidentally, it was a couple of bad import experiences plus the allure of a 300M that made me even consider domestics. I eventually passed on the Chrysler (spotty electricals and trannies) and circumstances led me to Pontiac. I've been happy for 3+ years
But I have to admit that I've been happy despite a few things and some of these things - like the interior - Pontiac has not improved in the 4 years since they introduced the current Bonneville. So, while I will definitely consider the GXP next year, I will have an honest look at all the competition. Will one of those be the 300M? Maybe - but the large-mouth-bass-cum-subway-vent grille will have to grow on me first.
But stranger things have been known to happen in Chateau Ice...
Jan 23, 2004 (9:09 pm)
GXP is a decent car, but the dash needs fixing and the price needs to drop some. With cars like the TL out there a few grand cheaper, the GXP needs better pricing. Pontiac fixed the cladding and engine woes.
Those who buy it are likely to be quite happy with it, however. Nice mill under the hood.
Jan 23, 2004 (11:38 pm)
are you feeling all right???
#3753 of 4400 Luxury - or elegance - with attitude?
Jan 24, 2004 (4:43 am)
That's kinda how I'd describe the current Bonnie as well, Reg: a decent - but not great - car. For what I paid, decent is fine. As you move up the entry price scale, decent won't cut it - particularly as there always seems to be a competitor out there who is upping the refinement ante.
Guys, don't get me wrong on this: I still love my Bonnie and still rate it as the best 4 door sedan I have owned. It is certainly better than my '92 Mazda 929 but it should be: it's 8 years newer. But the Bonneville is, in many ways, less refined than that 8 year older car - more NVH and less well-designed interior (particularly the dash and the door panels).
But the Bonnie is a more visceral experience - it has gobs of low-end torque courtesy the much-maligned 3.8 (keep in mind that mine is the non s/c version). Case in point: I have a stoplight reference point that I've been using for the past decade or so just to cut loose every once in a while. I occasionally let my cars rip from a standing stop and check my speed when I hit the next intersection (it's a country road and there's rarely any traffic so it's safe...). I don't know the distance because that's not the point - it's a consistent reference point and I just like to let it rip. The 195 hp 929 used to hit 105 km/h at that point - my '95 Camry V6 a little less (somewhere between 100 and 105 IIRC). The Bonnie? 120+ easy. And, what's more, it's easy to control the entire time. That little stunt with the Camry is how it earned the name "The Wanderer" in our household.
But for all of the Bonnie's admirable traits, there are warts: to me, it's primarily that the central dash instrument stack is not up to par. The material used for the dash cover itself are fine but that centre stack! It's primarily those cheap grey plastic Sunfire knobs and radio controls but it's not just that - the stack just lacks a sculpted feel. And the those dash vents - sheesh! I know the car is supposed to be "luxury with attitude" and I don't want the attitude scrapped but I want GM to spend more time getting the "luxury" thing right: it's not just amenities (which the Pontiac has in gobs) and materials (which they have mostly right) but elegance of the design as well. And this is the Achilles heel.
I guess what I'm saying is that I personally would prefer an "elegance with attitude" - that would be a balance that would keep me in a Bonnie. And the GXP is miles closer on that balance - just a little more $ on the interior (and maybe RWD?) and I'll be ordering an '05 GXP.
The TL? Well, it impressed me 3 years ago - but lost out to the Bonnie's more visceral nature and more roomy interior. The '04 TL is a huge improvement and is definitely a competitor - but, while certainly more elegant and a strong performer, it lacks the attitude quotient. But frankly, attitude without cojones is simply delusional.
Long post - my bad.
#3754 of 4400 Dash and RWD
Jan 24, 2004 (8:23 am)
Sounds like I'm the Lone Ranger here. I like the Bonneville cockpit style dash and orange lighting but maybe I'm biased because I'm ex-Air Force. My only complaint is that I have to peek around the steering wheel to see the DIC. And I like the FWD on my SSEi. It certainly has little torque steer on hard acceleration like some others I've driven, and I've owned a long string of RWD cars (TA's)in Kansas. While we don't get the snow and ice that some of you farther north and east get, we get enough that it was pointless to get out in it in the TA. My wife got real tired of me bumming rides to work with her (she has an '01 GTP). I realize the weight distribution is front-heavy with FWD, but that's what gives it the go in the snow, and I'm not into slalom driving and hard cornering anymore, so FWD with StabiliTrak works fine for me.
Jan 24, 2004 (8:51 am)
You're not alone, I dig the Bonnie's dash too! I think that it's a matter of personal taste. Personally, I don't care for that Bauhaus styling that everybody and their dog ape from German cars. IMO, Germans never had any sense of style.
But it always baffles me that no one in the press points out to the TL and TSX copying the Bonnie's front-end...
Jan 24, 2004 (11:03 am)
To each their own, I suppose. I too like the orange-red lighting, so that's not my issue. It really is a combination of things and if they hadn't used the cheap grey plastic knobs and had put the cruise controls on the steering wheel instead of the stalk, I probably wouldn't have noticed anything else. At night, I think the Bonnie's display is awesome - during the day it's just alright. I'm just saying that "alright" doesn't cut it in this price segment.
Jan 24, 2004 (2:14 pm)
TL's got an interior with attitude and 5.1 audio, 0-60 in 5.8 (with stick likely about 6.5 with auto) and Honda tightness.
GXP had better be good.
Jan 24, 2004 (3:55 pm)
just was wondering how is the sound quality of the stereo in the ssei? thanx Jason