Pontiac’s all-new front-wheel-drive G6 takes the long-running Grand Am’s market slot and sets a new direction for GM’s “Performance” Div.
Built on GM’s rigid, European-designed Epsilon architecture (shared with Opel Vectra, Saab 9-3 and Chevrolet Malibu), it delivers smooth ride with agile handling thanks partly to its segment-leading 112.3-in. wheelbase.
With 2+2 coupe and retractable-hardtop convertible models following later in 2005, Pontiac-GMC General Manager Jim Bunnell calls it “a game changing car.”
- GM global Epsilon architecture with class-leading 112.3-inch wheelbase and cross-car magnesium beam for body rigidity
- Sport-tuned full independent MacPherson strut front, 4-link rear suspension; variable-assist electric power steering; available full-function traction control
- Driver-oriented interior with tilt/telescoping steering column, highly bolstered seats, racingstyle gauges, available adjustable pedals
- Market-exclusive panoramic roof with four sliding glass panels
- Standard dual-stage air bags; available side- and head-curtain air bags
- Available segment-exclusive factory-installed remote start
The G6 and G6 GT will be offered (at first) with GM’s 200-hp pushrod 3.5L V-6, backed by a Hydra-Matic 4T45-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic. Drivers who occasionally prefer to shift for themselves will appreciate the GT’s manual shift mode with, Pontiac says, much more driver control than some competitors’ manu-matics. A base 170-hp DOHC 4-valve VVT Ecotech four and a 200-hp high-output 3.9L version of the CIB V-6 (for a top-line GTP model) will follow for the 2006 model year.
With its long wheelbase and wheels pushed to the corners, the G6 provides a comfortable ride while enabling aggressive suspension tuning. The MacPherson strut front suspension with aluminum lower control arms is mounted to a U-shaped hydroformed chassis cradle isolated from the body with four specially tuned rubber mounts. The four-link independent rear suspension uses twin-tube shocks and, like the front, a direct acting stabilizer bar. Sixteen-inch wheels are standard on the G6, 17-inch on the GT. Large heavy-duty four-wheel disc brakes have reduced caliper drag and European-style pads for excellent pedal feel, stopping power and fade resistance, but ABS is standard only on the GT. An enhanced traction system is available on base models, full-function traction control on the GT.
The Epsilon architecture’s safety cage construction has reinforcements in the rocker areas, front body hinge and roof pillars to improve impact protection, and a magnesium cross-car beam ties the lower sections of the A-pillars together to help protect passengers in sideimpact crashes. All seating positions have three-point safety belts, while the front outboard positions have belt pretensioners and load limiters to reduce peak chest load during a crash. Dual-stage front air bags determine whether a crash is severe enough to trigger a deployment and whether the primary amount of inflation is sufficient or a secondary stage is needed for a more severe collision. Side and head-curtain air bags are optionally available.
|Pontiac G6 At a Glance|
|What it is:||Mid-size fwd sport sedan|
|Who it’s for:||Sport sedan buyers preferring U.S. Pontiac value and features to those of Japanese competitors|
|Where it’s built:||Orion Township, Michigan|
|Parent company:||General Motors|
|Competitors:||Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Mazda6|
|Engine:||3.5L cam-in-block 2-valve cast-iron V-6|
|Horsepower:||200 at 5,400 rpm|
|Torque:||220 at 3,800 rpm|
|Transmission:||Hydra-Matic 4T45-E 4- speed electronic automatic|
|Curb Weight:||3,380 lb. (standard V-6)|
|EPA Economy:||20/30/25 City/Highway/Combined|
$21,300 standard V-6;
|What we think:||Crisp, contemporary good looks with high-quality interior, razor-sharp handling with good ride, excellent economy with decent performance from pushrod 3.5L V- 6. But Pontiac’s “Total Performance” positioning requires “high-tech” DOHC 4-valve power.|
|Panoramic roof & sunroof:||Webasto|
|Instrument Panel, XM Radio, EPS:||Delphi|
|Taillamps:||North American Lighting|