Pontiac counts down to the launch of a new line of high-performance variants by releasing the price for the first model, the 2004 Bonneville GXP. Originally shown as a concept vehicle at the 2002 Chicago Auto Show, the GXP will be available in Pontiac dealers beginning in February 2004 with a base MSRP of $35,995.
"It was a real treat to see people'* reaction to the direction we took with that concept car," said Bob Kraut, marketing director for Bonneville, Grand Prix and GTO. "One thing we heard loud and clear was 'don't change a thing,' so we set out to keep the production car as close to the concept as possible."
The heart of the Bonneville GXP is its 4.6-liter, 32-valve V-8 engine, the first eight-cylinder in a Bonneville since 1986 and the first 32-valve engine in Pontiac'* history. The dual overhead-cam powerplant produces 275 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. Supporting the performance nature of the car, the engine is tuned to provide maximum torque at a relatively low 5600 rpm, allowing the car to launch itself from zero to 60 mph in approximately 6.8 seconds.
Power from the engine is routed through a Hydra-Matic 4T80-E four-speed automatic transmission. Specifically designed to link with the 4.6-liter engine, the transmission electronically monitors the way the driver is using both the throttle and brake, adapting shift points to provide the optimal balance of performance and fuel economy. The Bonneville GXP has a final drive ratio of 3.7:1, one of the most aggressive in its class. Traction control is standard.
"We really put a lot of work into making the Bonneville GXP perform like a sports car but handle like a premium touring sedan," said Kurt Fischer, program engineering manager. "You can drive it aggressively - there'* no doubt it'* made to handle the twists and turns of the road."
Structural rigidity was increased through the use of a tower-to-tower brace and a specially dampened engine cradle mounting package. Performance-tuned DeCarbon monotube dampeners, progressive spring rates and large diameter (30-mm front, 22-mm rear) stabilizer bars allow the Bonneville GXP to provide both excellent driver feedback and a smooth, compliant ride.
Enhancing driver performance and safety, the standard StabiliTrak stability enhancement system constantly senses wheel turn rates and vehicle motion physics. If the system determines the vehicle is beginning to perform in a manner inconsistent with the driver'* inputs, StabiliTrak will automatically and selectively apply individual wheel brakes to attempt to keep the vehicle squarely under the driver'* control.
Braking force is supplied by a four-wheel disc anti-lock braking system (ABS), including 12.7-inch vented rotors in the front and 11.7-inch solid rotors in the rear. Bright red high-performance calipers on the front brakes add to the sporty image of the car.
Inside, luxury and functionality are fused to create a unique driving environment designed to closely connect the driver with the vehicle. The Bonneville GXP features leather-appointed seats in one of two interior colors, neutral or dark gray, both with UtraLux suede inserts, 12-way power adjustment, and two-position personalized memory. The high-tech look of carbon fiber trim around the steering wheel, door handles and air vents is accented by stain nickel accents and stainless steel pedals.
The full gauge cluster features a unique silver background. Important information such as speed, turn signals and low fuel warnings can also be projected on the windshield through the optional EyeCue head-up display (HUD).
"Given the Bonneville'* history as one of the original Pontiac performance cars, it'* fitting that this new model kicks off a new level of commitment to the ideal that Pontiac has always strived for - namely to make driving as exciting as possible," said Lynn Myers, Pontiac-GMC general manager. "The Bonneville GXP will set a high standard for the other GXP models to follow, with a sensuous approach to styling and superior power and handling characteristics."