2005 Pontiac Bonneville SLE Road Test and Review! - Page 3 - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


2000-2005 Discuss your 2000-2005 Bonneville SE, SLE, and SSEi Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 07-08-2005, 08:05 PM   #21
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Thanks guys... And what was this I here you liked your handling too? Oh well good can you compare it to anything else you have driven?
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Old 07-13-2005, 07:45 PM   #22
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2005 Pontiac Bonneville SLE Review

Pontiac says they “open the doors wide on performance”, is that claim true? Do they live up to it? Here today I am about to tell you about my driving impressions of the 2005 Bonneville SLE which has been freshened for this year with GXP body cues but still utilizes its one piece spoiler and stylish 17inch chrome ribbed wheels. Goodyear RS-A tires which are P235 55 series ones might I add are fitted to the stylish 17inch rims. So does this last year of the full size Bonneville live up to Pontiacs claim in there information as “the great American touring sedan”? Or does it fall short? We will find out if Pontiacs claim is true. Lets be clear this is an SLE there is no Northstar V8 under the hood but for most the 3800 Series II will be more than adequate grunt for around town maneuvers and freeway driving.

After hopping into the Bonneville’* some what space aged interior, you notice something it’* not your average car, it’* a little different, space craft inspired air vents adore the car. Slide the key in the ignition and get ready for a truly different experience, the 3800 Series II V6 (L36) burbles up and the dual exhaust roar. The rumble is distinctly OHV V6. The V6 is more than willing to be driven hard, its 230lbft. of torque are welcome at low revs so you can launch the SLE with authority. The 205hp come around at fairly low revs at very reachable 5200rpms and the 3.05:1 axle ratio never left you behind after a stop light turned green. This car was clearly designed with intent to be driven, and driven hard. As soon as you hit the gas the 3800 explodes with authority and likes to make good time, while remaining relatively efficient. The 3800 and the Northstar couldn’t remain more apart two very different motors but give the same results Pontiac performance. I remained pleased while driving the Bonnie SLE because of its surprisingly good fuel economy I average low 30’* on the highway and low 20’* in town and urban environments. Even at high rpms the 3800 Series II remained refined and liquid smooth no trashy OHV motor sounds here.

Transmission talk the Bonneville SLE has a transmission that GM has been putting in cars since 1997 its called the 4T65E Hydramatic it is basically a beefed up 4T60E that’* been beefed up to allow more power and torque. The 4T65E is obviously a traditional 4 speed automatic with no manumatic control. But none the less it has abrupt and robust down shifts keeping the L36 in its sweet spot 4000rpms or so for torque peak. Shifts even at the redline were done with precision, I never missed another gear or even too. Still with a fuel economy overdrive the car was happy returning me with wonderful gas mileage while retaining good peppy performance which one expects from a Hydramatic transmission. Every now and again the Bonneville SLE has to think its shifts through up or down for that matter but once it did they were buttery smooth. The 4T65E is no slouch, making this a good match for the 3800 Series II.

Now some people claim torque-steer is the ultimate evil when driving a performance car, I tend to think otherwise. Many newer FWD cars with 200+hp have traction control and wide tires and good suspension geometry making the back roads just as much fun as the straight a ways. Is the SLE a corner craver? No doubt in my mind the cars RS-A P235 tires stay firmly planted thanks to this cars excellent independent strut front suspension, this allows for wonderful handling and easy to maintain control. One thing I noticed was the Bonneville SLE has firmer steering at high speeds and easier steering at low speeds. This made the Bonnie as much fun in the parking lots as it is on a back road in the country carving corners. After driving on curvy country roads I appreciated the suspension geometry even more and especially the 17inch wheels and Goodyear tires. Handling is really on par with its competitors like the Acura TL and Toyota Avalon. The SLE never let out any of those tire squeaks often associated with FWD drive cars it is a good handling car and sports sedan in conclusion. This is no RWD Corvette or GTO here but this has to be one of the most refined and best handling FWD car I have ever driven, even it gave good steering feedback unheard of on most front drivers. The rear load leveling suspension was a very nice Cadillac feature which is standard on the Bonneville SE and SLE which helps maintain a good ride height so the rear of the car dose not get weighed down. In short you said jump and the Bonnie said how high, this is definitely a touring sedan in the engine, transmission, and suspension part of it.

First of let me praise the color of this car this vehicle was painted in the beautiful hue of Cranberry Red Metallic and with its taupe cloth interior this car looked really sharp everywhere you went. The exterior of the Bonneville SLE is delightful just like that of the GXP the upper trim level Bonnie. The SLE has very nice looking 17inch chrome wheels a must if you buy an SLE, not that the standard 17inch alloy wheels aren’t sharp but this is a Pontiac were talking about here. I am glad Pontiac fixed and added the traditional honey comb grill which looks so sleek and mod compared to SE’* poor excuse for a grill. The rear lights are also a pleasant surprise looking better to me each time I glance at them. The SLE exhaust tips have also been redesigned and rounded out this year into to ovals to better match the SLE and its upgraded under the door flares and new rear and front bumpers. The Bonneville SLE for 2005 also has the cleverly integrated GXP fog lamps this year which work well and look even better. Clearly the 2005 Bonneville SLE has the looks to roll with the big dawgs! Now will it have the interior and the comforts of the big boys? Read on…

The interior can be described on all Bonneville models as different sort of a space age different but yet in a tasteful sporty manner which makes the Bonneville a winner. The interior might be overdone for some conservative folks out there but most will find it nice including the 10 different air vents placed through out a Bonneville cabin. All have thumb wheels so you can change the amount of air that goes out from all to none. The dual automatic climate control came as a $365.00 option from the factory but was worth every penny; the system cooled down the car quickly and effectively and was relatively easy to operate. The system felt like it could be used on an up level Cadillac with its nice red glowing display screen and a useful exterior temp reading only added to its up level design. The rear even gets two of there own rear vents and ducts to make sure the passengers in the rear have plenty of air to enjoy ever mile of travel like the front driver and passenger do. This tester also was equipped with side impact airbags and had heated and power front seats so the driver and passenger could find an easy comfy seating poison in the sporty cloth seats. The Bonneville rear seats on the other lacked in the legroom department when the front seats were all the way back, but simply adjust the front seats and the Bonneville felt like a large sedan no doubt.

So did Pontiac, hit “the we open the doors wide on performance” on the head? Or was it another unfulfilled promise? Is the Bonneville “the great American touring sedan”? Actually I think both statements are very true but the only way they will be is with the rebates with an as tested sticker of $32,935.00 it is not the best value although its is doubtful anyone will actually pay that we still enjoyed the SLE none the less, and believe that Pontiac ended the Bonneville line on a high note. So is it worth it after the rebates? Yes! Is it worth is without? That may just have to be up to you.



Revised Review and Edited!
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