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2004 Pontiac Bonneville GXP Road Test
Andrew McCredie
Canadian Auto Press



Powered by a Cadillac-inspired 4.6-liter Northstar V8, the GXP is Pontiac's choice to go head to head with European and Japanese automakers in the competitive sport/luxury four-door market. None of the European or Japanese cars offer a high-tech V8 engine at anywhere close to the same price.

The name Bonneville harkens back to simpler times when a coke cost a nickel. Born in the optimistic, sky's-the-limit 1950s, the Bonneville moniker, originating from the famous Utah salt flats that have been home to pretty well every land speed record since time immemorial, has lent itself to Pontiac's large sedans for more than a half-century, though none have been as technologically advanced, nor as audibly threatening as the '04 GXP.

A stable mate to the base SE and SLE models, the GXP combines muscular performance with well-appointed creature comforts. Powered by a Northstar V8, which actually comes directly from the now defunct Oldsmobile Aurora, the full-size sedan is Pontiac's best effort to date in taking on the boatloads of European and Japanese sport/luxury four-doors that now dominate a class once ruled by the Big Three.

Like those imports, and unlike far too many U.S. sport sedans, the GXP is tight in the corners, thanks largely in part to its four-wheel independent, performance-tuned, load-leveling suspension, variable assist rack and pinion steering, front and rear stabilizer bars, Stabilitrak electronic stability control and electronically controlled transaxle.

With 300 lb-ft of torque mated to a smooth four-speed automatic Hydra-Matic transmission (speaking of brand names from the past), the performance of the Bonneville is what you'd expect from a powerful sedan. Acceleration, particularly at highway speeds, is immediate, and the performance-tuned dual exhaust system produces a sound that will turn heads.

The sport styling of the GXP is also worthy of a neck snap or two. Redesigned front and rear fascias, with new headlights, taillamps, exhaust tips and rear spoiler give the GXP a sleek look no prior Bonneville has ever had, and the meaty 18-inch 5-spoke wheel and P235/50R18 tire package, complete with large front rotors and red-painted brake calipers, provide the kind of Euro-look that has come to define the category.

Inside, the GXP is loaded with features, including big, suede-trimmed seats up front and in the back, an eight-speaker Monsoon CD player, and power everything. My tester was also equipped with a heads-up display option ($480), and while I've never felt the need to see my speed displayed on the window, the fact that a blinking indicator light shows up there is a helpful reminder to those who forget to turn off their signals.


FULL Article Here

MSRP: $35,270 USD MSRP, $32,272$ USD Invoice / 45,995 CDN MSRP
Engine: 275 hp, 300 lb-ft of torque, 4.6-L, 32 -valve, DOHC V8
Direct Competitors: Acura TL, Audi A4 / A6, BMW 3-Series, Nissan Maxima, Saab 9-3 / 9-5, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Avalon

 

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Don't start with the tired one sentence posts about FWD vs RWD. We've heard it all before. The Bonneville is what it is, and what it is not is a fully redesigned RWD car. Let that part of the discussion end here.
 

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The Bonneville has sure come a long way! I'd still need to see the inside, but it looks like the fit and finish has been much improved. I'm actually quite amazed at how much they've been able to improve the car without having to resort to an expensive (complete) re-design.

Perhaps, like the current GTO, this is just something to tide buyers over until a brand-new Bonneville comes out...
 

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Yep, CDN pessos. About 75 cents to the buck.

For the money, I'd buy a base CTS. Less space but a much better car and bang for the buck. Base CTS is around C$41K with an auto up here list.
 

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anyone know what the cheapest you can walk out of a dealer with one of these GXP's in america is?

my dad is looking at an avalone, you can get a brand new toyota avalon with navi for $31K right now after discount, toyota dealers are discounting them to get more of the new 2005 redesigned models..

an avalone with navi for $31K is a steal... id like to get my dad to test drive the GXP, but if its going out the door at $40K, theres no way.. he'd rather have a acura TL.
 

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Originally posted by jaorobot@Jul 18 2004, 03:51 PM
anyone know what the cheapest you can walk out of a dealer with one of these GXP's in america is?

my dad is looking at an avalone, you can get a brand new toyota avalon with navi for $31K right now after discount, toyota dealers are discounting them to get more of the new 2005 redesigned models..

an avalone with navi for $31K is a steal... id like to get my dad to test drive the GXP, but if its going out the door at $40K, theres no way.. he'd rather have a acura TL.
Jaorobot, I am a GM employee, if you like I can offer your Dad the GM Supplier Discount, with this discount and $4000 rebates he could get a 2004 GXP at around $30,000 to $32,000 depends on the options, email me at [email protected] if you are interested.
 

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Originally posted by dindak@Jul 18 2004, 03:50 PM

For the money, I'd buy a base CTS. Less space but a much better car and bang for the buck. Base CTS is around C$41K with an auto up here list.
It all depends on if you would prefer a RWD luxury car (CTS), or if you are in the market for a FWD luxury car (Bonneville GXP). I think both cars are ment to appeal to a different crowd.

Can someone post some decent size pics of the GXP's interior??
 

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Originally posted by jaorobot@Jul 18 2004, 10:51 AM
anyone know what the cheapest you can walk out of a dealer with one of these GXP's in america is?

my dad is looking at an avalone, you can get a brand new toyota avalon with navi for $31K right now after discount, toyota dealers are discounting them to get more of the new 2005 redesigned models..

an avalone with navi for $31K is a steal... id like to get my dad to test drive the GXP, but if its going out the door at $40K, theres no way.. he'd rather have a acura TL.
I just see the Avalon as a japanese Buick, but with even more boring styling and a strange interior (can you say 1990 Lumina?). Of course, if your father is looking for an appliance, rather than excitement, the Avalon is probably a good choice.
 

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Originally posted by akumaknight@Jul 18 2004, 02:49 PM
wasent the N* in the aroura 4.0L?  how is that the same engine that the bonnie has?
I think your right. This sounds more like the SLS and DHS motor from Caddy. Should have been the old STS 300 HP is you ask me.

In any case, I saw one of these on the road, in black. It looked really sharp, I was very impressed.
 

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My mom has a Bonneville with a 3.8, no GXP but I can say that it is the first FWD car that I actually liked to drive. The platform is solid and the base car is comfortable, so I can imagine that the upgraded car is a blast!
 

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Looks like a very 'efficient' use of space under the hood. I wonder how they change the spark plugs? :drevil:
 

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Originally posted by SteveWallace+Jul 18 2004, 08:23 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (SteveWallace @ Jul 18 2004, 08:23 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-akumaknight@Jul 18 2004, 02:49 PM
wasent the N* in the aroura 4.0L?  how is that the same engine that the bonnie has?
I think your right. This sounds more like the SLS and DHS motor from Caddy. Should have been the old STS 300 HP is you ask me.

In any case, I saw one of these on the road, in black. It looked really sharp, I was very impressed. [/b][/quote]
((YEP!)) The Olds was a 4.0L version of the Northstar that put out 250HP witch wouldent have been enough in todays market. Nissan Maxima's at 265HP from there V6 and Infinity G35's with upwords of 280HP V6 this 275HP V8 doesent seem to be enough to me. They should have used the non VVT 300HP old STS motor-(SteveWallace you are correct) and I would add AWD would have been nice if they could have done it. I dont know if it could work on this platform but it would have been cool.
 

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Originally posted by gmmerc5+Jul 18 2004, 11:33 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (gmmerc5 @ Jul 18 2004, 11:33 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-jaorobot@Jul 18 2004, 03:51 PM
anyone know what the cheapest you can walk out of a dealer with one of these GXP's in america is?

my dad is looking at an avalone, you can get a brand new toyota avalon with navi for $31K right now after discount, toyota dealers are discounting them to get more of the new 2005 redesigned models..

an avalone with navi for $31K is a steal... id like to get my dad to test drive the GXP, but if its going out the door at $40K, theres no way.. he'd rather have a acura TL.
Jaorobot, I am a GM employee, if you like I can offer your Dad the GM Supplier Discount, with this discount and $4000 rebates he could get a 2004 GXP at around $30,000 to $32,000 depends on the options, email me at [email protected] if you are interested. [/b][/quote]
Good thinkin Gmmerc5, I should start giving my GMITD discount to people on this website too, we could sell a lot of cars. jaorobot you should take him up on this deal, with the rebates and this discount you should be able to talk your dad into a Bonnie.
 

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I have a 2002 bonneville ssei,had to go there because of Olds demise ,we also have a CTS ...while I like the GXP it has always amazed me that GM doesn't just wait and introduce the GXP in a new feresher design and as was said in another post upgrade the interior ...if you guys haven't noticed I have sid that GM is parcelling out Olds all over the place ...another piece of that puzzle was last year when Pontiac replace its seats with the seats left over from the aurora,now they are also the only division to offer a V-8 in FWD format also a former domain of olds and yes the OLD seville ...but I just wish when GM decides to add something like this they wait till the complete package is ready
 

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Originally posted by delmarjohn@Jul 19 2004, 04:32 AM
but I just wish when GM decides to add something like this they wait till the complete package is ready
The GXP is a pretty complete package if you ask me.
Larger brakes, big rims, tuned suspension, 275hp, along with tuned exhaust and other goodies.

If you are talking about RWD as being a complete package, well then you have the people that complain that GM takes forever to develop a car, and when GM brings a car that sounds good, there is always someone that says GM rushed it to market. Its a lose-lose for GM all the time.
 

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Originally posted by Ming@Jul 18 2004, 10:59 AM
Don't start with the tired one sentence posts about FWD vs RWD.  We've heard it all before.  The Bonneville is what it is, and what it is not is a fully redesigned RWD car.  Let that part of the discussion end here.
Ming, I noticed your request to avoid the typical FWD/RWD debate in this topic, which was funny because as I read the article all I could think about was "gosh, isn't that a lot of power for the front wheels."

I spent 3 months with a Grand Prix GTP and if you jumped on it and didn't have a firm grasp of the steering wheel, that thing could change lanes on you.
 
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