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NYIAS 08: 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe
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NEW YORK – Drawing inspiration from classic sports cars, the 2009 Pontiac Solstice coupe was created for drivers who appreciate both dramatic styling and balanced performance. Unveiled at the New York Auto Show as a GXP model, the Solstice coupe builds on the success of the convertible model while offering a greater range of all-season driving opportunities. For drivers still wanting an open-air experience, the coupe also features a removable roof panel, fully opening the ****pit to all of the sensations of the road.


“Today’s Solstice is the top-selling roadster in the U.S., and we believe this new model has even broader appeal,” said Jim Bunnell, Buick-Pontiac-GMC general manager. “The coupe has all the design cues and pleasing performance of the original roadster, and is an all-season alternative for people who enjoy open-air driving.”


The coupe is expected to arrive in Pontiac dealerships in early 2009.


The making of a coupe

The new coupe was inspired by the Solstice coupe concept shown at the North American International Auto Show in 2002. True to the concept, it is a modern sports car with classic lines. The roofline has a “fastback” shape with stylized “rails” that run from the front of the roof to the rear, culminating in a stylish and functional ducktail-style rear spoiler.


The coupe’s roof is fixed aft of the B-pillars, with side windows and a rear liftglass for access to the cargo area. The roof panel is easily removed from the passenger compartment, and an optional soft roof cover stores in the cargo area. A home storage case for the roof panel will be offered through GM Accessories.


Engineering the design

Despite its dramatic new look, engineers made only minor structural changes to create the Solstice coupe. The rear fenders and rear fascia are the same as those on the convertible. New taillight assemblies flow more smoothly into the tapered roofline.
“The Solstice coupe represents a major collaboration of design and engineering,” said Bruce Kosbab, chief engineer. “The sleek lines of the new roof give the car a fresh appearance, yet only minimal changes were made to the body structure – it’s a great example of building on an already solid foundation.”


Lightweight structure

The roof’s structure was strengthened with additional support elements, including an aluminum roof bow attached with aluminum brackets. The bow and brackets are stiff, yet low in mass, a design feature that pervades the coupe’s overall construction. The roof includes a lightweight sheet molding compound cover affixed to a rigid aluminum frame for additional lightweight support. A lightweight magnesium roof panel frame weighs just 31 pounds (14.2 kg) and can be removed by one person. The cover is also made of sheet molding compound.

Powertrain and suspension

Because the change to a coupe body style resulted in only a slight increase in curb weight, no drivetrain or suspension changes were necessary to shift from the convertible body structure. Initial tests have shown that the Solstice coupe will deliver ride and handling, acceleration, braking and fuel economy comparable to the convertible model.


The coupe is powered by a standard 2.4L Ecotec four-cylinder engine that generates 173 horsepower (129 kW), while the GXP version is equipped with a 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec engine with 260 horsepower (194 kW).


Interior additions

Much of the coupe’s interior remains the same as that of the convertible. However, the area behind the seats was redesigned for easy access to the cargo area, and a storage tray was mounted directly behind the headrests.
Removing the folding-top mechanism made way for a new, flat cargo floor and several storage compartments. The cargo area’s covered bins provide secure storage for smaller items. Cargo tie-down hooks help secure irregularly shaped items.


High-Resolution Solstice Coupe Images Here
 

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The coupe’s roof is fixed aft of the B-pillars, with side windows and a rear liftglass for access to the cargo area. The roof panel is easily removed from the passenger compartment, and an optional soft roof cover stores in the cargo area. A home storage case for the roof panel will be offered through GM Accessories.
What's the point of making it a targa? Sort of strange how GM went with targa instead of a rigid, fixed hardtop roof.

Even the Porsche 911 Targa nowadays just has what basically a big moonroof.


 

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More trunk space?
The car is in hatch form, so it has more trunk space than the vert regardless of the removeable targa top.

I think a fixed hardtop version would be a more attractive vehicle.

Oh well. I am not a fan of any sort of convertible/removeable top sporty cars anyway. To me, non-hardtop is a likely compromise of structural rigidity.
 

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I find it interesting how the targa actually increased the weight of the car. Usually the convertibles weight more not only because of the added weight of the top mechanism, but because they must compensate for the loss of rigidity by adding more reinforcement to the frame.

I guess the Solstice was truly build as a roadster from the ground up.

I really don't see what's so bad about using a targa roof. It's meant for people who will have it covered most of the time, but allows the option of removing the top if you really feel like it. For me its the best of both worlds.
 

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I was really exited about the solstice coupe but i just don't like a lazy there were about it. The trunk is tiny and it looks like there is a ton of waisted space in the back. Where do you put the targa top? What is the point if this is less practical than the convertible.
 

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We have pics! Thanks!

It is nice, but the interior is going to be an issue with all reviewers (especially those out to get GM). Why can't GM make some minor updates to keep it fresh? I know this car is great value as it is, but by 2009 others will have better interiors...I really hope they updated the materials a bit like they did ont he Vette, but the pic doesn't confirm this. :(

Nice wheels, interesting hatch design choice. Nice looking...Good value...But only as a second car.
 
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