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GMI Preview: 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe
by BigAls87Z28
March 21, 2008
www.gminsidenews.com

In 2002, Pontiac showed a beautiful concept car dubbed the Pontiac Solstice roadster. This car came as a shock as GM has never made such a pleasing and beautiful car. What really shocked most people is that it did not look like a concept. It looked...real. It felt to most that it could be made, produced and put for sale just as is. The Solstice was Bob Lutz's first child at GM. While the car was on the drawing boards, no one put much support behind it. When Lutz took a tour of the design studios, he saw this image on a wall in the corner and demanded work to move forward. When it hit shows, the car dazzled the press and the public. There was a strong demand for a hot roadster, one with curvy and flowing lines that almost look like they were lifted off several European roadsters. Then Bob Lutz also added another shock. He said when the car goes on sale that it will start under $20,000. It shocked people back to reality. This is GM! GM is going to do several things to the car before it his production.
-Sand every curve off of it, dull it down, and dumb it down to where it is just a shadow of its former self.
-Put it on some half baked front wheel drive platform, and destroy its look.
-Build it and price it well out of the spectrum saying that it is a niche car that people with money will want.
Well, come production time, the Solstice hit the showrooms looking 99% like the concept, and Bob Lutz kept its his promise by bringing it under $20,000. Pontiac also showed a sporty hard top version of its popular Solstice concept. It had the same sexy lines as the convertible, but capped off with a hard top roof. The design flowed very well, and it gave it a whole new look. Since the Solstice's hit show rooms and dazzled perspective owners, there has been a demand for a hard top version. Pontiac's counterpart over at Mazda struck first with a hard top convertible. While this provides a hard cover, it still does not give the chassis the additional strength that a permanent hard top would. Pontiac has taken the road of developing a hard top structure that bolts to the frame of the car, giving the car a sultry look that looks as if the car was designed for this. The 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe as Pontiac is calling it, gives you an all weather sports car that is affordable. The car shown at the auto show is in GXP trim, which means that this car will launch with the options as the soft top version. The coupe's rear integrated spoiler is a beautiful curve that blends well with the car. No major changes were done to the car outside of redesigning the tail lights as the rear structure lays on top of them. The car's top merges into the car flawlessly, giving a nice sloping rear to its integrated spoiler. The vehicle comes with a hard top and a soft top, and uses parts bin latches from the Corvette to remove the top with three simple latches. Getting into the car is the fun part! With the curvature of the roof towards the sides of the car, it can be taught to get in. But once you get inside the car, its standard Solstice. Closing the door, you still have plenty of room for you and a passenger, and there is surprisingly a lot of room above your head, enough for perhaps a helmet? The one downside of the coupe is that you have poor visibility behind you. The side glass is very small, smaller then the convertible. The rear windows are nothing more than glass panels with a small, small triangle to see out of. The back glass is at a very sharp angle, so its tough to see out of the back as well. It is easy to say that the visibility took a little hit for the sake of design. Overall, this hot little coupe will be a big seller IF Pontiac prices it right along the lines of its soft top variant. The added structure hopefully does for Pontiac as adding a hard top to the Boxter did for Porsche. If this is the case, the stiffer platform will give Solstice Coupe drivers a greater platform to deliver its performance punch, and giving it near Vette like dynamics. This is going to be one hot car, and one to give Pontiac and Solstice a boost in sales and a boost in image.




 

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I WANT!!!

Does it get any better than that?

Sky's are nice, but this looks awesome. I think the Pontiac nose REALLY works on the Solstice. The Sky is a little too Corvette-ish for me. I just absolutely love the whole car.
 

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This can be considered a 'good-enough' Corvette for some people... since it is built like a mini-Vette... I would take the styling of the Sky though...
 

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If there was ever a harder car to make look good, I dont know what it would be! I bet they had a time trying to get the Solstice to look good with a hardtop, but they did it perfectly. If it looked any other way than this I bet it would look terrible!!!
 

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I really don't know what you refer to when speakin about additional rigidity. do you have any #'s?
if the car had a fixed top (like the z06 or zr1) I would understand, but this one is probably very slightly more rigid than the regular solstice (the same way the mustang cobra convertible was vs regular convertible).

also, comparing with the boxster/cayman? stop dreaming bro...

on the other hand, I think it was dumb not to offer a slight bump in performance with this occasion. I mena given the turbo powerplant, it should be the easiest thing to get some 40hp more.
 

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The one downside of the coupe is that you have poor visibility behind you. The side glass is very small, smaller then the convertible. The rear windows are nothing more than glass panels with a small, small triangle to see out of. The back glass is at a very sharp angle, so its tough to see out of the back as well. It is easy to say that the visibility took a little hit for the sake of design.
That's a shame. I was wondering about rear visibility in this car, and I figured that it probably wasn't great. Thanks for the report, though.
 
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I read a review on the Enclave, and a comment the reviewer had to describe it's lines were "seductive". I think that is the best adjective to describe the design direction GM has taken with the Kappas and Lambdas. Seductive. It pulls you in. You want to find out more. Isn't that what being seduced is?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I really don't know what you refer to when speakin about additional rigidity. do you have any #'s?
if the car had a fixed top (like the z06 or zr1) I would understand, but this one is probably very slightly more rigid than the regular solstice (the same way the mustang cobra convertible was vs regular convertible).

also, comparing with the boxster/cayman? stop dreaming bro...

on the other hand, I think it was dumb not to offer a slight bump in performance with this occasion. I mena given the turbo powerplant, it should be the easiest thing to get some 40hp more.
I dont have numbers, but I will say that the additional structure keeping the chassis more stable will enhance the road feel of the car. Will it make it THAT much better, its very possible. Chassis flex will be reduced with the additional roof should make it a bit stiffer.
 

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Who put the antenna mount beside the side glass? I like the look, but that's going to have some people wondering.
 

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Who put the antenna mount beside the side glass? I like the look, but that's going to have some people wondering.
Sorry, dont understand what the concern is?
 

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I like this except for the awkward look where the roof falls to meet the A pillar above the door glass.
I prefer the hardtop on the Transformers Solstice - is that an option? or available from someone?
 

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The coupe's rear end is wonderful, but sitting in it really isn't, I must say. It feels sooooo tiny!
a pic. w/o the top on seems like theres not enough head room. awesome you got a chance to sit in it. this thing is definitely gonna keep the solstice fresh, get new folks into the dealers for sure. its just an awesome job.
 

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wow i love that second picture posted in the first post..but something about the rear window design doesnt look quite right...the bottom is too small and rounded but other then that it looks amazing. Love the removable hard top option
 

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Absolutely stunning car! I expect sports coupes to be tight inside and it really is part of the fun.

A real winner .
 
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