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1997 Pontiac Grand Prix

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starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Seating capacity

196.5” x 54.7”


Front-wheel drive



3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • GTP

  • SE


  • GT


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Our 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix trim comparison will help you decide.

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1997 Pontiac Grand Prix review: Our expert's take

By Editors

The Grand Prix GT Coupe is a performance machine that can double as the family runabout. Muscle cars certainly aren’t what they used to be.

In the old Pontiac Grand Prix days, you wrestled with a sheet-metal dinosaur powered by a huge V-8 lump that roared like thunder, pulled like a race horse and drank like an unrepentant gasoholic.

The world rushed by as the heavy cruiser heaved on its mushy suspension, all going well unless the driver was required to navigate a bend in the road or come to a stop.

No, the finer points of handling and braking were lost on the ’60s muscle cars. And the Grand Prix, while more sophisticated than most, was no exception.

Many will argue that those were the good old days. But that’s hard ground to hold when driving a thoroughly modern muscle car such as the ’97 Grand Prix GT Coupe.

Although there’s no booming V-8 under its hood, this brawny beast packs a 240-horsepower supercharged V-6, helping to carry the torch for today’s all-American approach to performance iron. And though it lacks the back road finesse of its European counterparts, the Pontiac has the broad-shouldered strength and raw edges desired by boy-racers on this side of the Atlantic.

Redesigned for ’97, the Grand Prix has returned to one of its former virtues: wide-track styling. As well as benefiting handling and interior space, the approximately 3-inch gain gives the coupe an aggressive stance, which also should be appreciated by the muscle-car crowd.

The curvaceous body is downright voluptuous, from its flaring black nostrils to its stylish twin, cast-aluminum exhaust tips. As befitting a sports coupe, the roofline is low and beautifully integrated into the body lines.

Big 16-inch spoked wheels shod with wide performance tires and a menacing black paint job completed the picture on our test car. It may be a foolhardy color for Phoenix summers, but a gleaming black coupe looks so good.

The supercharged engine is something of a chameleon, quiet and relaxed when puttering around town, tough and aggressive when pushed into action. The “blower” forces the V-6 to crank out 45 horses more than the naturally aspirated version, no slouch at 195, as well as lots of motivating torque across the board.

A supercharger, by the way, is a belt-driven air pump that forces the gas and fuel mixture into an engine to boost power, similar to the more-common turbocharger, which is driven by exhaust pressure. Supercharged passenger cars have been fairly uncommon in recent years, with General Motors taking a lead position in supplying the 3.8-liter version in several cars, including Buick’s highly regarded Park Avenue Ultra.

It’s really a good way to get hot-rod power from a V-6, with modern-day electronics making it possible for supercharging to be tractable and reliable. The GM version, a relatively simple pushrod engine, is surprisingly smooth and sophisticated. The Grand Prix’s exhaust note is significantly more rowdy than t he one on the more-dignified Buick.

Unfortunately, no stick shift is available, though the automatic’s “performance” setting does a decent job of keeping on top of things.

The interior of our road-test Grand Prix was as black and swoopy as the exterior. Pontiac has toned down its interiors from the loopy, show-car look of recent years, and the Grand Prix manages to be cozy and forward-looking at the same time.

Leg room is somewhat tight in the rear, but not too bad, for a coupe. The passenger seat slides forward easily, making rear-seat access a bit less painful. A four-door version of this same package also is available.

The space-age heads-up display, a unique Pontiac option, projects speed and a couple other pieces of information on the lower part of the windshield, helping the driver monitor these things without taking eyes off the road. Interesting and usable but, ultimately, an unnecessary piece of high-tech fluff.

And I found the steering-wheel rad io control s to be more of a pain than a convenience: I kept whacking them accidently when turning or backing up, switching channels or cutting the volume when I least wanted that to happen.

For those longing for the psychic release of a strong performance machine, which still can double as the family runabout, the Grand Prix GT Coupe delivers the message that there is more than one way to build a muscle car.

1997 Pontiac Grand Prix

Vehicle type: Four-passenger, two-door coupe, front-wheel-drive. Base price: $19,189. Price as tested: $24,645. Engine: 3.8-liter supercharged V-6, 240 horsepower at 5,200 rpm, 280 pound-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm. Transmission: Four-speed automatic. Curb weight: 3,396 pounds. Length: 196.5 inches. Wheelbase: 110.5 inches. Safety features: Dual air bags, anti-lock brakes. EPA fuel economy: 18 mpg city, 28 mpg highway. Highs: Powerful engine. Aggressive styling. Well-designed interior. Lows: Difficult torque steer. Clumsy radio controls. Mediocre gas mileage.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.2
  • Interior 4.1
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value 4.4
  • Exterior 4.5
  • Reliability 4.2
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Most recent consumer reviews


My disappointment in my 97 Grandprix!!!

I bought one of these cars new in 97!!!It turned out to be a lemon!!The paint began to blister on the teal paint!!It developed a rattle in the rear!They never found the problem!!It was mechanically fine but lots of cosmetic problems!I traded it after 5000 miles and bought a 97 Monte Carlo which was a super car!!Thanks for listening!!


Sportiest Car I've Owned!

I previously owned a 97 Grand Prix GTP. I absolutely loved the features it came with. It had a sun roof and heads up display, heated seats, and the information display center. It was all very convenient and I would highly recommend a Grand Prix GTP to anyone looking for a sporty, comfortable, and reliable vehicle!


22 years!

I've had my GTP now for 22 yrs, currently needs harmonic balance, this car has the ooomph of a little rocket! I love the hud, especially at night! Has 197,000+ mi. EXCELLENT gas milage, the reviews here are wacky, because there is a read on the dash that tells you your mpg, I get 37mpg on flat hwy using cruise control, and in winter with the idling to warm up and clear windows, it can drop to 14 in the city, but Michigan gets a ton of cold and snow. The sun roof open can drag the milage to 29, but the fun of driving with the windows and sun roof open has no compare!!.. it usually reads between 23 and 32mpg. As for dependability, the Delco battery lasted until 2010, and each new battery is crap. The only time it didn't start was a dead 2yr old interstate. Repairs were the head gaskets, a front rack,wiper motor, one super charge rebuild at 154K, and the usual up keep on break pads and tires, last tune up was in '08. wires plugs, coil pk. VERY dependable, so comfy to drive with the heated seats and adjustable lumbar support, tilt wheel and not kidding-Best car ever!. now, is there a way to make rust disappear? The little black boogie buggy only comes out in summer now, and my daily is a '02 Envoy. I'll never let this GTP go. Not For Sale!

See all 23 consumer reviews


Based on the 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix base trim.
Frontal driver
Frontal passenger

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