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SOLSTICE ADDS NEW DIMENSION TO PONTIAC’S PERFORMANCE RENAISSANCE

DETROIT - Bringing the popular concept car to life, GM announced production of the Pontiac Solstice roadster as a 2006 model. The vehicle is expected in dealer showrooms in fall 2005.

First shown as a concept at the 2002 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the Solstice immediately gained a huge following, both inside and outside of General Motors. Designed from the ground up in less than four months, the 2002 Solstice concept car promised thrilling, open-air driving freedom in the spirit of the great roadsters of the past.

Built on GM’s new Kappa architecture, the production model remains true to the original Solstice concept, including rear-wheel drive, two-passenger seating and a reverse hinged clamshell hood that opens to reveal a sophisticated double overhead cam variable-valve four-cylinder engine.

“True to the thinking behind the original concept, the production Solstice is all about being a ‘back-to-basics’ roadster with gorgeous lines and fun-to-drive characteristics,” said Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman of product development and chairman of GM North America. “The key enabler of Solstice is the new Kappa rear-wheel-drive architecture and component set, which allows us to rapidly and efficiently develop an appealing family of compact and affordable sports cars.”

Emotional design, rigid backbone
Strong response to the 2002 Solstice concept vehicle helped put the sports car on the fast track to production. But while the concept was designed with production-style elements, there was no compact rear-wheel-drive platform at GM on which to build it. Creating a production version of the concept vehicle required marrying the Solstice’s curvaceous design to an entirely new performance body-chassis architecture.

The robust Kappa architecture features state-of-the-art, full-length hydroformed frame rails and a stamped steel structural tunnel to provide a solid structure to enhance vehicle handling.

To ensure an affordable, world-class driving experience, Solstice was created with a clever blend of all-new technology and proven GM components.
Solstice’s power is created by a new 2.4-liter variable-valve version of the Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine, producing about 170 horsepower. Its twin-cam, multi-valve design provides stirring, high-revving performance, while the engine’s lightweight, all-aluminum construction helps optimize the vehicle’s front-to-rear balance. At the start of production, Solstice will be offered with a close-ratio Aisin five-speed manual transmission.

“With the concept vehicle, people immediately felt the emotional appeal of Solstice’s design and back-to-basics philosophy - it’s about performance, but in a fun, agile, affordable roadster,” said Lynn Myers, Pontiac-GMC general manager. “All the stops were pulled out to make sure the production model delivers an exhilarating driving experience to capitalize on the ‘promise’ of the Solstice’s design.”

Faithfulness to the concept can be seen in Solstice’s proportions, which are comparable in terms of overhangs, wheelbase and track width. Independent front and rear suspensions that feature independent SLA designs with forged aluminum upper and lower control arms contribute to responsive handling. Monotube shock absorbers and coil springs contribute to uncompromised handling response and sporty driving characteristics while the wheels-at-the-corners wide stance enhances handling. Eighteen-inch wheels and tires are standard, as are four-wheel disc brakes.

The interior is oriented around the driver, with a clean design and intuitive controls. “The interior of the Solstice is surprisingly spacious, especially for a smaller car,” said Lori Queen, vehicle line executive for GM’s small cars. “We wanted to create a comfortable environment suitable for longer drives without sacrificing the ‘personal’ feeling of a driver’s car.”

Clean lines, clever details
Designers worked carefully to transfer the clean lines and taut proportions of the concept vehicle to the production model.

“Put them side by side and it’s very difficult to tell the production model from the concept,” said Franz Von Holzhausen, design manager. “The front and rear fascias are slightly longer on the production model, but overall the car remains faithful to the concept - it’s a minimalist approach that emphasizes proportion.”

The Solstice’s proportions are accented with five-spoke wheels and a low, wide stance. A dual-port grille and expressive lighting at all corners instantly identifies the car as a Pontiac. Unexpected details include a body-color extension into the passenger compartment that gives the Solstice an integrated appearance when the top is down. In fact, the top folds flat into the rear clamshell opening, providing a smooth seamless appearance.

“There is no visible stack from the folded top to disturb the shape,” said Von Holzhausen. “In fact, there are no extraneous lines whatsoever; it has a tight, purposeful look, as if it were shrink-wrapped around the driver.”

“We insisted on a lower ride height to ensure the car’s sporty appearance,” said Von Holzhausen. “That makes it the lowest, most ground-hugging car at GM. We were adamant that the Solstice look absolutely right from all angles.”

Creative leveraging of GM resources, as well as clever solutions to other needs, helped complete the Solstice’s design efficiently and economically. For example, the rear corner lamps are from the GMC Envoy, while door handles, fog lamps, seats, engine and transmission are shared with other GM vehicles.

However, some parts are all Solstice. The taillamps, for instance, were designed with special reflectors to eliminate the need for a separate side marker light. This not only contributes to the car’s sleek design, but also eliminates the cost of a separate marker lens and bulb.

Interior design is equally purposeful and clever, with details like pedals placed for easy heel-and-toe driving and a ****pit-style instrument panel that sweeps around the driver. Designers also worked with chassis engineers to optimize the placement of the shifter. Manual shifter throws between gear changes were studied and shortened.

“When you sit down in the car, your hand naturally falls onto the shifter,” said Vicki Vlachakis, interior designer. “It’s a very intuitive, comfortable environment, and the feel of the shifter between gears is very short and precise. Designers and chassis engineers worked together to tune the best placement.”

A turning point
The production Solstice announcement further enhances a re-energized Pontiac lineup that already includes the all-new GTO and G6, Grand Prix, Vibe and a V-8-powered Bonneville GXP.

“Solstice is a vehicle that captures the passion and pleasure of open-air driving,” said Myers. “Everyone at GM recognized that adding it to Pontiac’s portfolio would make another strong statement about Pontiac’s renaissance.”

Its fast-track approval and development process come on the heels of a similar rapid decision process that helped launch the 2004 GTO in 18 months.

“The GTO and Solstice complement each other by offering ‘book-end’ approaches to Pontiac’s performance offerings,” said Myers. “Like its V-8 powered stable mate, Solstice adds another dimension to a growing lineup of clean, uncompromising performance vehicles.”

2006 PONTIAC SOLSTICE PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS
 

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I am a Pontiac guy until the cows come home, but I expected this hot rod to at least have a V-6. At least GM got the rear wheel drive part right.

Now can someone explain why the performance division of GM doesn't have a name plate in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series? Bob??
 

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Originally posted by jaywestfall@Jan 4 2004, 02:37 AM
I am a Pontiac guy until the cows come home, but I expected this hot rod to at least have a V-6. At least GM got the rear wheel drive part right.

Now can someone explain why the performance division of GM doesn't have a name plate in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series? Bob??
I'm sure the Solstice will get a more powerful engine a year or so after it comes out. I would assume a super or turbo charged 4, not a V6, but one can hope.

It's traditional to come out with a faster model after initial introduction.

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Nascar racing isn't about "performance" cars. Taurus, Monte Carlo and Intrepid wouldn't be the models racing if it was. It's all about brand awareness.
GM doesn't need Chevy and Pontiac to compete with each other, and to spend twice as much on R&D and ads and stuff. Chevy is GM's bread and butter division and is better suited for "stock car" racing.
 

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ok i only had time to skim all that...but, does anyone know if this thing will be offered in coupe form like the concept? PLEASE tell me yes....both are beautiful but the coupe got my vote.
 

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Looks awsome, although i'm not really thrilled witha 170hp 4clylinder without any upgrade, why does GM wait a year to add a performance model why not come right out with one give the car some credit as its coming out not try and win it a year later IE montecarlo only recently got a SS. Also whats the price for the car rough guess? :bounce:

My opinion is as great as this car is and how great it can be will be overlooked by much of the import fans without some supercharged version even if its a limited production still gives the name credit.
 

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The Feb 2004 issue of Car and Driver states "The concept was an estimated 2860 pounds; the real-world roadster is about 350 pounds heftier."

At 2860, this is an interesting vehicle. At 3210, it's too heavy. I hope C&D is wrong.
 

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I'm also suprised it's not coming with the supercharged 2.0
 

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Nice little car, but the increase in power over the Miata is offset by the increase in weight. Almost exactly what I was expecting. Glad I bought the Z4 rather than waiting.

Anyone who was saying this would be a 240 HP car care to step up and admit they were wrong?

While it may not be a world beater, it'll be nice to have a true American sports car.
 

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The Feb 2004 issue of Car and Driver states "The concept was an estimated 2860 pounds; the real-world roadster is about 350 pounds heftier."

At 2860, this is an interesting vehicle. At 3210, it's too heavy. I hope C&D is wrong.
Wow, that's horrible. If that's the case, this thing is dead in the water.
 

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I was tired of hearing people say that GM can't make a competitive 4-cylinder without slapping a super/turbocharger. Those import guys still think Cavaliers are driven by "fat four" OHV 4-cyl.

This engine has torque, something the other horsepower VVT-meisters out there like Honda lack. It also has VVT and all the techno-gooble, so that also serves to shut the Honda freaks up.

Put a turbo or supercharger on this engine, and make it even better for those willing to shell out the bucks.

Sounds like a good plan.

I much prefer the idea of a superbly balanced, fun to drive, clean, naturally aspirated machine -- and I think it will win awards for being that kind of driving instrument. Slapping a turbocharger on will be more for the crass horsepower bragging rights - kinda like a PT Cruiser Turbo or a Mini Cooper with a Turbo.

Let it win awards by virtue of its overall balance first. When the thrill wears off, give it a boost.
 

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Originally posted by garyhoov@Jan 4 2004, 04:10 PM
Miata - 2387 lbs, 142 HP - 16.81 lbs/HP

Solstice - 2860 lbs, 170 HP - 16.82 lbs/HP
OK. So you can do math.

What about torque and gear ratios? Those factors are far more important than lb/hp. I'm sure the base will be around the s2000....5.8-6.1 area.
 

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Since we are looking at point specs - not the total solution.  Why not compare to the Audi TT which sells for ~$35,000:

Spec                Audi TT                              Solstice
====              =====                              ======
Weight            3131 lbs                              2860 lbs
Horsepower      180 @ 5500 RPM                  170 @ 6400 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)    173 @ 1950 RPM                  170 @ 4400 RPM
lbs/HP              17.39                                  16.82
Turbo              Yes                                    No

Does this mean anything? I don't know.  Maybe someone can answer.
 

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Fall of 2005? We'll be looking at pictures of this car for about 3 years (concept plus production versions) before it comes out? I for one will be tired of looking at it by then......

Awesome car now, but fall of 2005 is sooooooo far away..............
 

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170 hp is not horrible. For the base solstice, it's perfect. And, wether or not GM was thinking in this direction, I say, with its "full-length hydroformed frame rails " this body could take on a more torqey power plant with ease. What kind of chassis would this be called, because I don't think this would be called a uni-body. Maybe a monocoque (sp?).I think this is great.
Can anyone else see the new LS2 sitting in here?? :drevil:
 

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:lol: :lol: :lol:

Well I'm glad you're all so happy with it. I don't work for GM, I don't own any stock, and I've never owned a GM car, so I'm not afraid to say:

Looks Great Mr. Lutz!

I have to admit I would like a bit more than 170 HP in a 3000 lb car though. Couldn't you offer that supercharged variation now?

I'm afraid I just wouldn't want to have the following conversation:

Friend: How much power's this baby put out?

Me: Only 170, but don't forget about the TORQUE. This baby's got TORQUE out the wazoo. Did I mention this is the same engine as in that torque-monster Cobalt . . . no, not the fast one, the mediocre one.

Friend: WHY'S IT SO LOUD.

Me: WHAT, AFRAID I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

Friend: WHY'S IT SO LOUD!!!

Me: OH, IT'S GEARED TO DO 0-60 IN 5.7 SECONDS AND IT ONLY HAS A FIVE SPEED, SO, YOU MIGHT IMAGINE WE'RE SPINNING SOME HIGH RPM'S AT HIGHWAY SPEED.

Friend: WHAT'S THE TOP SPEED?

Me: 100 MPH, BUT THAT's HIGHER THAN YOU'RE ALLOWED TO GO IN THE US ANYWAY. WHY DO YOU CARE ABOUT TOP SPEED WHEN YOU CAN GO 0-60 IN 5.7 SECONDS. DID I MENTION IT CAN GO 0-60 IN 5.7 SECONDS?
 

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Originally posted by Andy@Jan 4 2004, 09:18 PM
170 hp is not horrible. For the base solstice, it's perfect. And, wether or not GM was thinking in this direction, I say, with its "full-length hydroformed frame rails " this body could take on a more torqey power plant with ease. What kind of chassis would this be called, because I don't think this would be called a uni-body. Maybe a monocoque (sp?).I think this is great.
Can anyone else see the new LS2 sitting in here?? :drevil:
Im pretty sure unibody and mono-blah blah are the same thing.
 

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Hah! This Garyhoov guy is hilarious. He admits he owns a BMW (a Z4, no less!! LOL!) yet still thinks that he knows anything about cars! I love it!
 
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