03-03-2004, 01:44 PM
Posts like a Turbo
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: vancouver, canada 1995 bonneville SSEi
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this article is a couple months old, but I didn't see it mentioned anywhere else on the forums (sorry if this is a repeat), and thought it was "interesting"
I guess insulting your previous product, the designers of that product, and the customers that own it, is some new marketing technique
Streamlined Bonneville packs power
BY JIM MATEJA
Wasn't sure where Bob Lutz was heading with his analogy, but when a Marine speaks, you sit up and listen.
"It'* like an attractive woman with too much makeup and a not too tasteful dress," said Lutz, vice chairman of product development at General Motors, in explaining why Pontiac shed the Bonneville SSEi sedan in favor of a new Bonneville GXP sedan for '04.
So out goes the Bonneville SSEi saddled with pounds of plastic body makeup, and in comes a streamlined Bonneville GXP dressed less frivolously.
Still, the GXP arrives with a swagger, thanks to its 275-horsepower Northstar V-8 and a considerable improvement in off-the-line power versus the 240-h.p., supercharged V-6 in the SSEi. It is the first V-8 in a Bonneville since 1986 and the first 32-valve in a Pontiac ever.
Kick the pedal and it responds. And thanks to sports-tuned suspension, you can pilot the new Bonneville without suffering momentum-robbing gyrations.
Yup, the GXP is desirable, though enthusiasts will have to wait until February to get their hands on one.
"The Pontiac brand has been in decline because it hasn't been properly nourished over the years with exciting products," Lutz admits, noting that the Pontiac Aztek sport-utility vehicle and Montana minivan hardly create excitement.
"But we're out to fix that. To be better, you have to aim to shoot down the best (rivals)," Lutz said.
The '04 GXP is the first in a succession of high-performance renditions at the division that promises excitement.
On the exterior, the GXP is adorned with such things as smoked glass head and tail lamps, integrated fog lamps, metal pedals and gauges that look as if lifted out of a jumbo-jet cockpit.
Inside, leather seats have suede inserts, and satin nickel replaces plastic not only on the trim, but also on the door-sill plates as well as the gauges to give the GXP a luxury flavor.
GXP comes with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control, so you can't complain about road manners. Yet the front-wheel-drive and front-weighted GXP doesn't have the crisp handling and pinpoint maneuverability of its rear-drive cousin the Pontiac GTO.
Controlled by a 4-speed automatic transmission, the GXP gets decent gas mileage, rated at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg highway. The GXP starts at $35,270. About the only options are an $1,100 power sunroof; XM satellite radio for $325 plus a $9.95 monthly subscription fee; and a head-up display for $325 that shows such things as speedometer, radio station and turn signal readings on the lower glass in front of the driver.
Here'* a couple of gripes. For a car touting a ride and handling upgrade, it would help if the driver'* seat bottom cushion was at least one inch longer to offer more thigh support. And the rear seat is a bit tight on knee room. Indents in the front seat-backs compensate in part for that.
Pontiac will produce only about 2,500 GXPs this year and 5,000 annually after that.
The GXP edition is welcome, but how long the front-wheel-drive Bonneville remains in the lineup is a matter of speculation as GM turns its attention to rear-wheel-drive for performance models.
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