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Pontiac Grand Prix, Sedan
Mar 23, 2003 (11:19 am)
I attended a GP drive event held yesterday morning at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Again, I apologize for not posting that it was going to be happening – but my excuse is that the person I pre-registered with at the Pontiac toll free number told me that an information packet would be sent and would arrive well before the event. So – I was going to post information once I received that – so that others in this area could attend if they wanted. And – as of yesterday’s mail, it still has not come ?????
Anyway – on to the car. They had 1 car to display and Craig Singhaus (of Motorweek) gave a marketing pitch. I was able to crawl in and around it for a while.
Then on to the 4 cars and a low speed ‘handling’ course. I believe that these were all early production cars – as opposed to specially assembled one. All were GTPs with the Comp. Group / WS6, moonroof, and leather.
We were allowed 3 circuits – there was no place to exceed maybe 40 mph without mowing down a BUNCH of cones. I chose not do risk that. We had to wear helmets – affecting the ability to judge NVH.
Power – Good power at these low speeds. Very smooth. Very easy to smoke the front tires at launch – over half those I observed driving did so – some quite dramatically, given the tight course. (This is with the standard traction control on - interesting.) Further, I expect that the 3.29 final drive comes into effect here. I believe this may lead to variation in published 0-60 and SS ¼ mile times depending on the level of expertise of the driver in launching high torque FWD automobiles . . . The Motorweek “road test” (update of the preview that aired a while ago) quoted the GM 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, but made no mention of further performance numbers – no quarter mile time / speed.
[Possible S/C pulley swap? Looks like the same basic set-up as ’97 – ’03. Meaning a quick, easy, cheap 20 – 30 hp increase will likely be available for those willing to risk possible drivetrain warrantee issues.)
Trans. – As has been confirmed, the TAP paddles upshifts by pressing either paddle forward. In ‘(M) manual’ mode, you can start in either 1st or 2nd gear? Smooth shifts. TAP paddle positions swung beyond the noon / 6 positions in this tight course – and they were ‘in motion’ during much of the run. Thus, I will need more seat time to judge some aspects of their use. [Sadly, the GP is not a Grand Prix car – where full lock is typically not much more than 90 degrees!] The fact that the TAP allows a forced upshift at WOT at less than red line is a plus compared to BMW’s Steptronic, for instance.
Ride – no real opportunity to judge – see below under noise.
Handling – Overall: Responsive. ‘Rotates’ well. 225/55 BF Goodridge Comp T/As howled under high load – but hard to tell how they would sound under normal (umm . . ) “brisk” street driving. Again, further, real world test drives will certainly be required.
Steering – Again: responsive. Good feel, given conditions.
Overall, the interior impressed me with a good overall presentation, logical and clear control and display placement, excellent legibility, and very good quality of materials. The climate control offers flexibility – 2 intermediate positions on the rotary knob between each of the 5 primary / main Mode settings – for fine tuning. A good design.
DIC: much improved in display and flexibility / functionality from the one in my ‘97. Several personalized settings possible. Trans. temp can be displayed, for instance.
?? “18 HUD functions?” I see 17 listed in the “Getting to know your 2004 GP” guide (from page 12) = Vehicle speed, high beams, turn signals, 8-position compass, secondary PRNDL, outside air temp., TAP up/down gear position & Upshift ISO, Radio station frequency. Single CD: track number, Multiple CD: disc number and track number, Cassette Active, Check trip computer, Cruise Set, Traction Control active, Traction control off, Stability control active, and Stability control off.
Front seat - fine (though understandably a bit tight with a helmet on).
Rear seat – sitting behind myself (6’0” and about 225) there was probably only reasonable room for someone 5’6” and 175. And toe space was very tight, as I typically drive with the seat lowered as far as possible. OTOH, I could probably have adjusted the driver’s seat somewhat to provide a bit more room, if necessary. And again, all cars I examined had the optional moonroof and a possible impact on headroom. The fold flat forward passenger front seat, that produces a sort of desk – including the mesh / netting found on the seat back as a mechinism to hold the things I often just toss into the passenger seat, is quite an interesting and useful feature.
Front seat excellent – bolsters felt more supportive than in some other cars that look like they ought to be . . .
Rear seat – probably OK for people of, say, 5’ 6” to 5’ 9” tall - though a fold down armrest would certainly be useful – and this seems rather an odd omission.
The traction control can be turned off – and so can the Stability system – according to the information I see. But there have been instances (the new G35, for example) where the traction control system cannot actually be completely disabled.
Noise – Again, NVH very hard to judge given course and helmet. No visible or audible problems with the section of the course that including several tacked down tire tread ‘bumps’. Structural integrity seemed ok – particularly given the huge hole you can open between the trunk and interior.
Styling – Well, this is clearly VERY subjective, I acknowledge. But now that I have spent a while around several of these new cars, here is my reaction. This is an attractive car. The lager rear spoiler as well as the quad round exhaust tips and the grill inserts available as RPA-s all further enhance the appearance, in my view. The red painted calipers look terrific through the wheel spokes – but may be a cleaning nightmare.
But then, I’d probably replace the exhaust with a Borla, Corsa or Magnaflow a.s.a.p. anyway . . .
It was certainly great fun to toss these cars around with someone else responsible for replacing the tires! BTW: I checked 2 of the front left tires (clockwise circuit) for wear – and they looked to be holding up rather well to the abuse.
The new GP is clearly a large step forward. Though I’d love to see 300 + HP and TQ, a six speed trans. and AWD, I suppose that is not likely now anytime soon. They have addressed several of the reasons that I did not buy a new GP when the time came to trade my ’97 GTP. I will drive one or 2 when the time comes to trade.
If anyone has further questions, post and I’ll try to answer – but it also sounds like new GPs are hitting some dealers.
Who probably made a mistake by taking a ride in a NASCAR stocker at over 165 mph
Mar 28, 2003 (9:47 am)
The dealers in northern NJ have had the 04 since the middle of last week. They've been hiding them in the warehouse to get rid of the leftover 03's. Test drove a black GTP with the chrome, leather sun & sound package Wednesday. Liked it so much I went back to the dealer this morning and bought it and can't wait to pick it up tonight!
#184 of 249 GTP CompG Wheels
Mar 28, 2003 (10:45 am)
I just went to the Somerset Pontiac in Troy Michigan and they have a couple of 2004 GTP's with the CompG package. Funny thing was that the wheels on the car are not the 10-spoke machined finish wheels. Instead they were the GTP wheels with the chrome option. I questioned the dealer about this since many of us have been talking on this board about swapping wheels and he told me the following. The plant that manufactures the 10-spoke wheels burnt to the ground. A few dealers have gotten the CompG package with the intended 10-spoke wheels but now they have scrambled and are just using the standard GTP wheels until another supplier can be set up. On top of that they are charging customers for the chrome wheels ($595) even though customers are already paying a portion of the CompG option package for upgraded wheels. That is wrong in my opinion. They should not be charging more for this problem. While I like the chrome wheels better, I also liked the fact that the CompG wheels are lighter and fit with the rest of the CompG handling enhancements. What do you think about that??????
Mar 28, 2003 (11:59 am)
You're right, the consumer should not be responsible for Pontiac's inability to provide the specified wheels. If the chrome rims have been determined to be the equivalent replacement for the 10 spoke rims, how dare they charge extra. By the way the story about the fire sounds kind of fishy to me, have you spoken to another dealer to see what they say? I'll ask about that tonight when I go to my dealer.
#186 of 249 CompG Wheels
Mar 28, 2003 (12:36 pm)
No this is the first dealer I have gone to with this wheel condition. I am curious to see how the public will react when they order cars with this package and find out they have to shell out an additional $595.
#188 of 249 CompG Wheels
Mar 29, 2003 (9:28 am)
I can tell you this whole car thing for me has been a nightmare. I ordered a GTP/CompG back in the beginning of February and I have still to this day have not received my car. I was told it was sent to production the week of 3/17 and that it should be here the middle of April. To start off I ordered the rear curtain air bags (restricted) and of course loaded the rest. I was under the intention of using a pull ahead program that GM offers on a leased vehicle. Well after calling GM and several dealerships first I could use it... Than I could not use it. Even folks at GM corporate were like yeah it should work on a 04 Grand Prix. It took the executive marketing director to admit there was nothing they could do. And that basically if I wanted the car fine.. But I would get no help from them on getting out of my burried Alero. If I did not love my 97 GTP so much and enjoy the ride of the 04 i was able to test, I would have switched to Mazda or Ford. I hope GM redeems their place with me when my 04 does finally gtet here.. The fact that the wheels are unavailable could be the biggest reason why I was recently told production target date was 3/31. So who knows. Pontiac also told me that purchase availability was not until mid-april has anyone heard anything about this?
Mar 29, 2003 (10:14 am)
drove through the pontiac lot last night...had to do a double take on the Grand Prix....at first I couldn't tell the difference from the Grand Ams next to it.
Mar 29, 2003 (10:21 am)
It is amazing how confussion like this happens. My younger brother is eligible for the lease pull ahead program. The letter he received says it is only available for 2002 and 2003 models, and so do the instructions the dealers received. you would think GM would read the mail it sends to the owners. He has been told since he firt asked that the side bags would be a delayed start up. last he was told was mid-april for them. Hasn't hear of any problems with the wheels, they are not on hold for ordering, but the dealer is checking another source.
#191 of 249 Wheels / gmille 184&186
Mar 29, 2003 (10:29 am)
Asked some questions, surfed a little and did some research on your question. The GTP is standard with 17" wheels and the Chrome version is a $595 upgrade. So why shouldn't they be the same price for the Comp G, which is also standard with 17" wheels? The cost of the 17" GTP wheel and the Comp G 17" wheel is the same according to the dealer' sparts depatment, so the upgrade should be the same. The Comp G package is $1395. It includes the InfoTech package which is $600. In 2002 the Oldsmobile Intrigue had a stabilitrak suspesion upgrade which cost $595 (included tire and axle ratio upgrade) This leaves $200 to represent the TapShift and any additional cost for the wheels. Since all the TapShift is a coupe paddles and some software in the Transmission, it is very simualr to Traction Control on other GM cars which is a $175 option generally. So the "light-Weight" 17" wheels do not seam to have an economic impact on the cost of the Comp G, just a product difference. So the $595 again seems to make sense. Dealer is still trying to confirm the Fire story. Will psot back.