AutoTest File - 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Comp G

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Masterful and Commanding: Gimmicks aside, this Pontiac moves

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    (8:30 Jan. 05, 2004)
    IN FRENCH, GRAND PRIX means grand prize, and our AutoFile results on Pontiac’s sports sedan mostly bear that out. To those Grand Prix owners who responded to our survey, the car is a winner, having captured their hearts and minds over such lofty contenders as the BMW 5 Series, Cadillac CTS, Nissan Maxima and Chrysler 300M. We like the Grand Prix, too, and if we’re a little less enthusiastic than its owners seem to be, well, it certainly moves us more than its predecessor did.

    We are impressed with the extent to which GM has taken this car from a wannabe to one that has some real sporting cues and a serious performance bent.
    Are there gimmicks? Sure. The Grand Prix’s instrument panel is busy, and sticking up from the steering wheel are silly little “ears” for the transmission shift buttons, a feature we’ve seen better integrated in other cars. These paddles may look racy, but they are poorly positioned, especially for aggressive driving. The head-up display has not proven to be that gotta-have gizmo, and it creates a distracting shadow on the windshield when turned off. Odd textures and mismatched plastic are still present.

    But the power from Pontiac’s venerable supercharged 3800 engine is not to be questioned. The 260-hp V6 packs a potent punch, especially off the line. Turning in a 6.55-second 0-to-60-mph time, the Grand Prix tops the Acura TSX (7.38), Mazda 6 (7.25), Toyota Camry (8.5) and Dodge Stratus R/T (7.36). Faster cars to 60 mph include the Maxima (6.28) and Honda Accord Coupe (6.12).

    Notwithstanding the awkward placement of the Tapshift paddles, the four-speed transmission shifts smoothly. The Grand Prix is well balanced on the road, its performance-oriented suspension making for a good, firm ride.

    It felt good on the skidpad, too, where it was easy to steer using just the throttle. The car’s stability control is one of the most unobtrusive systems we’ve encountered—a good thing, since it can’t be turned off, as we discovered in our slalom test. The car charged through the tight course at 44.3 mph, better than all the previously mentioned cars we tested.

    We detected little freeway hop over even the worst surfaces, and only a slight bobbing of the cabin and no rattling to the body or trim. Wind and tire noise are virtually nonexistent. The Grand Prix is a good, quiet sedan.

    As it is a high-powered front-wheel driver, there is mild torque steer, though not enough to make you freak out. What we did experience was somewhat violent ABS action from the car. It needed 126 feet to stop from 60 mph, which is about average for its class, but better than the Maxima (138 feet), TSX (135), Mazda 6 and Accord (129), and Stratus (134). The Camry brakes better, taking just 118 feet to stop from 60 mph.

    Grand Prix owners who wrote to us seemed most impressed with the car’s styling. But they also like that it’s comfortable and that it handles well. One owner says the supercharged engine can run on regular unleaded fuel, with just a slight penalty in performance.

    We’re a little put off by the limited amount of room in the back seat. When a staffer’s eight-year-old complains about being claustrophobic, well, you know space is tight. We do like that, finally, you can turn off the daytime running lights by turning the stalk to the off position.

    Not all will agree the Grand Prix is the master and commander of sports sedans, but it is certainly a prize, a more than solid performance car with four doors and a trunk to boot.

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    LIKES
    Performance
    Well built
    Cavernous trunk

    DISLIKES
    Poor shift paddle placement
    Plasticky interior
    Small back seat

    OTHERS CONSIDERED
    Chevrolet Malibu
    Cadillac CTS
    BMW 5 Series

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    OWNERS SAY...

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    This was a fully loaded car with features not found on many other makes at this price. The Grand Prix is stylish and well built. I haven’t had a single creak or rattle. It handles the twisties with confidence and at the same time is quiet on the road. The sound system is great. Dynamically this car is as good as any car on the road. A lot of thought went into the details, and I really feel good about this car. -James P. Brown, Newbury Park, Calif.

    This is a fast family sedan. I wanted something that was reasonably priced and could run with the sport compact kids at the stoplights. The braking system is great and there is hardly any torque steer from this powerful front-driver. Also you can burn regular fuel in this car without engine damage if you are willing to give up some power. The supercharged V6 is powerful enough, but when you are used to dual-overhead-cam engines, the Pontiac can be rather rough in the upper-rpm range. -Claude Wills, Roswell, Ga.

    I considered the Cadillac CTS and BMW 5 Series. I’ve encountered no quality problems whatsoever, just routine oil changes. The Tapshift works smoother than I expected and the XM radio is an option I would not do without. The driver’s area is roomier than my past Seville STS, but there is an abundance of plastic. The engine has plenty of power for on-ramps and stoplight drags. What it does need is additional badging on the side. -Alex Grivna, Shoreview, Minn.

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    VEHICLE SPECS AND ROAD-TEST DATA

    STICKER
    Base (includes
    $635 delivery): $26,495
    As tested: $30,965
    Owners paid; average: $20,000 to $28,575; $24,699


    OPTIONS AS TESTED
    Competition group, which includes performance suspension and tires, paddle shifters, infotech package with trip computer and head-up display, StabiliTrak sport, Magnasteer II, 17-inch 10-spoke wheels, red-painted calipers, 3.29 final drive ratio ($1,395);
    sunroof ($795); premium audio package, which includes six-disc CD changer and
    eight speakers ($695); leather trim package, with leather seats, heated fronts ($665); 17-inch five-spoke wheels ($595); XM satellite radio ($325)

    OTHER MAJOR OPTIONS
    Infotech package, which includes trip
    computer and head-up display ($600);
    side airbags ($395); engine heater ($35)

    CHASSIS
    Unibody four-door sedan

    DIMENSIONS
    Wheelbase (in): 110.5
    Track (in): 61.7 front, 62.1 rear
    Length/width/height (in): 198.3/73.8/55.9
    Curb weight/GVWR (lbs): 3583/n/a

    CAPACITIES
    Fuel (gal): 17.0
    Cargo (cu ft): 16.0
    Towing (lbs): 1000

    ENGINE
    Front-transverse 3.8-liter/231-cid ohv
    supercharged V6
    Horsepower: 260 @ 5200 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft): 280 @ 3600 rpm

    Compression ratio: 8.5:1
    Fuel requirement: 91 octane

    DRIVETRAIN
    Front-wheel drive
    Transmission: Four-speed automatic
    Final drive ratio: 3.29:1

    SUSPENSION
    Front: MacPherson struts with coil springs, twin-tube shock absorbers, antiroll bar
    Rear: Tri-link strut with coil springs, twin-tube shock absorbers, antiroll bar

    BRAKES/WHEELS/TIRES
    Discs front and rear, ABS
    Aluminum 225/55R-17
    BFGoodrich Comp T/A VR4

    STANDING-START ACCELERATION
    0-60 mph: 6.55 sec
    0-quarter-mile: 15.19 sec @ 90.3 mph

    ROLLING ACCELERATION
    20-40 mph (first gear): 1.9 sec
    40-60 mph (second gear): 3.1 sec
    60-80 mph (second gear): 4.7 sec

    BRAKING
    60 mph-0: 126 ft

    HANDLING
    490-foot slalom: 44.3 mph
    Lateral acceleration (200-foot skidpad): 0.82 g

    INTERIOR NOISE (dBA)
    Idle: 45
    Full throttle: 76
    Steady 60 mph: 65

    FUEL MILEAGE
    EPA combined: 20.83 mpg
    AW overall: 20.70 mpg

    RESIDUALS
    $12,627 after 36-month lease,
    40.77 percent of new vehicle price

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  2. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2004
  3. Pursuit

    Pursuit Guest

    :fwd: no care
     
  4. SenenCito

    SenenCito OT Supporter

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    I wish mine was a Comp G
     
  5. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I wish the burnt orange metallic was offered on the new GTO with black leather. :o
     
  6. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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    i drove a 2000 GTP.... I wasn't impressed.
     
  7. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Old model.
     
  8. SenenCito

    SenenCito OT Supporter

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  9. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I'd take a GTO in that color, no question. :bowdown:
     
  10. Welsh0913

    Welsh0913 OT Supporter

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    Saw one on the road today, looked pretty nice :cool:
     
  11. KeeperOfAcheron

    KeeperOfAcheron I dub thee Sir Phobos, Knight of Mars, beater of a

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    I rode in a Comp G. They are pretty bad ass cars. If I had a family or needed to haul people around more often, I would have definatly considered that car.
     

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