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Expert Reviews 1 of 11
By Jim Flammang
May 11, 2004
Vehicle Overview Pontiac introduced this all-new replacement for the compact Grand Am at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. Scheduled to reach dealerships in fall 2004, the sporty midsize front-wheel-drive G6 sedan is built on General Motors’ global Epsilon platform. Pontiac intends to compete against the Dodge Stratus, Mazda Mazda6, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Jetta with its G6.
Pontiac says the car’s power comes from a new family of performance-oriented powertrains. Eventually, the trio will include a 175-horsepower Ecotec four-cylinder, a 200-hp V-6 and a high-output 245-hp, 3.9-liter V-6 that will power a GTP version. At first, only the 200-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 will be offered. A remote starter is optional.
Base and GT models go on sale first, followed by the GTP sedan. Additional models, including a 2+2 sport coupe and a convertible, will follow later.
Exterior Displaying a wedge-shaped profile, the four-door G6 has wraparound headlights and triangular wraparound taillamps. Built on a 112.3-inch wheelbase, the sedan features short overhangs and measures 189 inches long overall and 70.6 inches wide. Pontiac’s signature twin-port grille has chrome accents and mesh inserts. The car’s A-pillars were pushed forward to give the windshield a sharper rake.
The G6 uses a sport-tuned fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts up front and a four-link setup at the rear. Stabilizer bars are installed at both the front and rear. Traction control is standard. Three tire sizes are available: standard 16-inchers for the base sedan, standard 17-inchers for GT and GTP models, and optional 18-inch wheels for the GTP.
The available Panoramic roof contains four sliding glass panels, which can create a convertible-style open-air driving experience. Pontiac claims that no other car sold in North America uses this kind of roof design.
Interior Like other Pontiac models, the five-passenger G6 features a cockpit with sporty controls and racing-style gauges with red LED backlighting. Brushed metal accents and chrome trim decorate the interior. A tilt and telescoping steering column is standard, and adjustable pedals are optional.
Variable-assist electric power steering and all-disc brakes are installed. Standard equipment includes a premium Monsoon sound system with an in-dash six-CD changer. XM Satellite Radio is an option. Remote keyless entry and a theft alarm are included in V-6 models.
Because of its relatively long wheelbase, the G6 promises abundant backseat legroom. The rear windows roll down all the way. Gas-charged trunk struts don’t invade cargo space when the lid is down.
Under the Hood Three engines are available in the G6. Initially, the base and GT models will use a new 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 200 hp and 220 pounds-feet of torque and feature electronic throttle control. A four-speed-automatic transmission is standard, and GT models feature a manual-shift mode. Later in the 2005 model year, a GTP model becomes available. It will have a high-output, 245-hp, 3.9-liter V-6. Either an automatic transmission or a European-designed six-speed-manual gearbox will be available with the 3.9-liter V-6. Both engines run on regular-grade gasoline. A 175-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine will be available for the 2006 model year.
Safety Antilock brakes are standard on the GT and optional on the base sedan. Side-impact and side curtain-type airbags are optional. Vehicle Dynamic Control uses a yaw sensor and other features to help keep the G6 under control in difficult driving conditions.