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Quickie Review- Pontiac G6 GTP coupe

28 posts in this topic

Upfront.

I didn't have nearly enough time with the new G6 when I drove it to really get a feel for its performance capabilities. I did, however, come out very impressed with some key qualities this character-ful car has to offer.

Exterior


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This has been somewhat of a controversial issue around here and with people I've talked to. The G6 concept was a gorgeous design, and many here feel the translation to production has been less than stellar. Then comes the coupe, which, initially at least, was just as big a disappointment. As usual, the GM photography initially showed the worst angles of this car, and just did not do the overall shape justice. I think one of the best angles is the side in profile. Now that I have seen it in person, I really think it is a dynamic, mature, and elegant shape, if somewhat marred by the distractingly long wheelbase. That wheelbase is better disguised in GTP format.

The other thing I've been noticing lately is Pontiac just needs an overhaul for design cues. We have seen the same front and rear ends for sometime with this brand, and it's time for a rebirth. It's time they clean the slate and really open our eyes with something eye-catching. A lot of the G6's best design elements have become Japanese in nature, or the Japanese have just begun to style a lot of thier cars after Pontiac's cues (witness the proliferation of cats-eyes headlamps).


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Overall, I think this Pontiac is successful and it isn't. It is successful because it is a nice design, and it is unsuccessful because non-Pontiac fans won't be as convinced. As I said, the Pontiac cues need to be shelved. That rear is all Pontiac, the way the decklid is shaped, the placement of the lisence plate and the lines on the bumper scream Pontiac, and I don't know about you guys, but I am kinda tired of it. I think it's eye-catching, but once you familiarize yourself with it, it becomes all too familiar in a Pontiac-esque way.

The front end is better. But it lacks the concept's finess, and emulates a lot of the JApanese competition; I know I've seen older Accord's from a distance and mistaken them for a G6 (or maybe it's the other way around).


Drive.

Like I said, I really didn't have enough time with this car to declare it a failure or winner. It is a winner in many respects that I can outline, but I don't know about the most crucial areas: engine performance and handling. I wasn't able to wind it out, this was a test drive with a dealer after all.

This car is super quiet. Very refined and firm yet nicely damped ride. I felt like I was driving a large car with good suspension settings and great steering. The steering calibration was just right for me, it matched that of my car, which I happen to find near perfectly weighted and easy to direct. That's how I would describe the G6 steering. The handling, well I couldn't really drive it. Anyone who knows an LA afternoon, regardless of what day it is (in this case, the weekend) knows there are cars everywhere. The damping and ride were superb, and it felt like it might be pretty fun in the twisties.

Engine refinement was something I thought might be lacking. Now, I really didn't get to wind it out, so I can't comment much on power except to say it felt like it might need to be broken in more. The loudness of the engine was pronounced, but that could be because overall the interior was very quiet. I didn't feel snap my head back acceleration....IDK, I can't say for certain....the manumatic feature sure was fun though, but I own a stick shift car and love it for my control of the engine, and wish sometimes I didn't have to use my foot as much (in LA traffic)...


Sophistication and Quality


The G6 looks the quality part on the outside. I wish it were more aggressive, but it looks very high-quality, and GM have finally catched up in that department.

The interior is a little bit less world-class, but only slightly so. Meaningful improvements have been made to the interior this year, and they make a difference. The steering wheel still needs the handles like all Toyotas have in the ten and two position. The climate controls and center stack are severely lacking in the materials department. The door panels also could use some more parts to them, make 'em look less crayon-ish and like we put one big piece on thier. The leather on the doors was almost laughable. The windows moved so precisely and beautifully, it was a quality assurance for sure. The center stack is so lacking in design prowess, there's nothing exciting about it. It's just not cool in this otherwise cool Solara-competitor.


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Results

The G6 could have been a lot of things. If it had been more aggressive and less mature (demure) it could have been a real replacement for the Grand AM coupe and finally realize that car's dream (of being a cool, powerful, sporty, refined Accord coupe-beater). Alas, it is more of a Pontiac alternative to the Solara and Accord, which I consider both demure. ehh...it's easy and hard to please me ;)

Taken as what it is, however, the G6 is a fine car with a lot going for it. Preliminary rating is an 8.9 out of 10. Markdowns for somewhat cobbled exterior design and overall lack of design sophistication inside.

Still waiting to really drive this hound....
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I don't know what car you're looking at, but it surely isn't a G6 coupe. I find the rear to be lacking many of the Pontiac traits that I like. It's not more of the same... it's a departure from the Pontiac norm. I'm still not sure if I like it.

Otherwise, I'd say you're pretty spot on. Especially with the interior... Ugh, that center stack/console.

Wait... I found another thing I disagree with. Pontiac picking up new design cues. First off, I still don't see what you're seeing... They are the same front/rears? Well, I'd hate to hear what you have to say about Porshes... But, damn, they look different to me. Especailly across the lineup. Anyways, those design cues are why I love Pontiac... Remove them and you can kiss my ass good-bye. Also, you say it's unsuccessful because non-Pontiac fans won't be convinced. Uh... I'm probably the site's biggest Pontiac fan and I'm not all that convinced. Why? Because it isn't like what I'm used to seeing at Pontiac. It's a departure. If anything, it'll be more popular among non-Pontiac fans.
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Pontiacs as of late have lacked the rear headroom of their platform mates due to the more rakish sweep of the C-pillar and backlight. Grand Am vs. Malibu, G6 vs. new 'Bu, '97 GP vs. Regal/Intrigue, '04 GP vs. LaCrosse, even Bonneville vs. Park Avenue and LeSabre - though headroom is fairly ample, entry and exit is noticably different due to the roof's arc.
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This is a perfect example of how much the interior color can change the look of things too: the 2-tone light beige/black looks SO much better and classy than the all black, not to mention somehow looking higher quality, even though all the pieces are technically the same.

Here's some other real-world GTP pics:
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And here's a Fusion Orange GT coupe:
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And a good rear shot of a Stealth Gray GT coupe:
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The black mirrors on the G6 look oh-so-cheap. The decklid of the G6 Coupe is kind of like Pontiac's take on the Bangle trunk. I find the G6 to be an agreeable vehicle. Not terribly sporting, but a nice enough ride. The G6 interior, with the high beltline, has that cocoon (some would say closed in) feel that designers seem to be striving for these days.
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I must admit the two tone GTP interior looks good... But the wood is definitly out of place. There should never be wood trim in a Pontiac. Never. I think I'd rather have it spray painted. :puke:

Now the interior needs a new center stack and console that flows and available NAV. Some more metal accents too.

And as Bobo says... those mirrors look so cheap. I don't understand how hard it is to paint them. The Grand Am in GT form had body colored mirrors... and that was back in 02 (before they changed them to the ugly Alero mirrors; unpainted, for 03). Or was 01? Bleh.. I'm too tired to remember, but its retarded and makes any vehicle with them look like crap.
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I must admit the two tone GTP interior looks good... But the wood is definitly out of place. There should never be wood trim in a Pontiac. Never. I think I'd rather have it spray painted. :puke:

Now the interior needs a new center stack and console that flows and available NAV. Some more metal accents too.

And as Bobo says... those mirrors look so cheap. I don't understand how hard it is to paint them. The Grand Am in GT form had body colored mirrors... and that was back in 02 (before they changed them to the ugly Alero mirrors; unpainted, for 03). Or was 01? Bleh.. I'm too tired to remember, but its retarded and makes any vehicle with them look like crap.

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Agreed, and with the image Pontiac is trying for, whose idea was it to put plastic wood all over? Yeah, BMW does it, but their cars are both sport AND luxury. As is, it just looks like they were trying to use Buick/Caddy pieces in the car to save costs....and the same goes for the mirrors. The Equinox finally got painted ones for the second model year, and one would think the same would be true for the G6, but no....
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I think the exterior is beautiful. Unlike the others around here, I wish GM would have offered the 4-cyl. in the coupe as well. GM interiors have been lacking all the way around for a while now. Thankfully the Solstice, HHR, etc., show hope of an improvement coming.
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That black G6 GTP coupe looks sweet... the beige/black interior is tolerable, too. The black leather trim on the beige seats look terrible, though. It reminds me of the CTS's black door trim inserts on beige door panel... it should be the other way around. Same story with the 9-3... blech.
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That two-toned interior looks so upscale sporty. Very well done. My take on this car: The best looking one is the GTP coupe in black with two-toned interior. This car begs for big wheels. Smaller ones just bring it down. I have seen a sedan in electric blue color with large chromey aftermarket wheels...wow, sensational. Edited by HarleyEarl
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I don't know what car you're looking at, but it surely isn't a G6 coupe. I find the rear to be lacking many of the Pontiac traits that I like. It's not more of the same... it's a departure from the Pontiac norm. I'm still not sure if I like it.

Otherwise, I'd say you're pretty spot on. Especially with the interior... Ugh, that center stack/console.

Wait... I found another thing I disagree with. Pontiac picking up new design cues. First off, I still don't see what you're seeing... They are the same front/rears? Well, I'd hate to hear what you have to say about Porshes... But, damn, they look different to me. Especailly across the lineup. Anyways, those design cues are why I love Pontiac... Remove them and you can kiss my ass good-bye. Also, you say it's unsuccessful because non-Pontiac fans won't be convinced. Uh... I'm probably the site's biggest Pontiac fan and I'm not all that convinced. Why? Because it isn't like what I'm used to seeing at Pontiac. It's a departure. If anything, it'll be more popular among non-Pontiac fans.

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It is a departure from Pontiac norm, but in shape only, the styling is still similar to Pontiacs before it. The corporate grille and headlights are renditions of everything before it, and not that I don't like it, but I think we've seen the design evolution of those traits enough already.

My thinking is just with the face, I tend to focus on the face a lot. The face the rear is making is all Pontiac, tailights that scream traditional Pontiac, a rear bumper license plate that is in the traditional Pontiac space and shape, decklid shaped a lot like a lot of other Pontiacs; it's these things we've seen before.

We are seeing a very different shape, the G6 carries a lot from new Pontiac (some Solstice language). It comes inspired by Porsche, Audi TT, BMW, even the Toyota Celica all have had thier influences in the Pontiac's design.

Those rear shots posted above by caddy are tasty. I really like that angle of the rear. This is a great design, but I think a few of the details could have been better. And in my mind, Pontiac should be about design that is still more aggressive than what the G6 is, beautiful as it is already.

I think maybe the tone of my review came off a little abrupt and serious, I didn't mean for that, it just came out of me very quickly and i didn't have time to go back and edit it a bit. I really felt that I didn't have enough time with the G6 to form a solid opinion of it; for that I would want to sample the competition closely together, or spend more quality time in the competition at least.

It's a review like this I think that we should start seeing more of on this site. We want to hear what GM fans have to say about GMs newer cars [and the competition], while still thinking in the context of what's out there on the market.

The average American may have loyalty to the carmaker whose product they drive, but they're not diehards like us, and given good product they will choose from what's available. Keeping that in mind, we have to try and be considerate of everything that is out there, otherwises you're shooting yourself in the foot if you don't recognize what your audience could be capable of liking.

With good, original photography that's not taken from somewhere else and shows the car in a light perhaps you haven't seen before; I know I sure would like to see the DTS in different colors with the best wheels available and in real lighting, for example. I personally think it'd be cool to read reviews from people on the site, regular people with good opinions, but trying to stay away from bias and putting it all into perspective with what's out there.
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My biggest problem w/ the G6 coupe is the overal exterior blandness, the awful trunklid, and the bubble-top roofline. I prefer flatter, more formal rooflines myself. But I did sit in a G6 coupe at a dealer and realized I could learn to live w/ the blandness if the GTP drives as well as I hope it does. And I'm sure the aftermarket will come up w/ a rear spoiler that will cover the trunklid's awful shape, like the Monte Carlo's various rear spoilers do. Oh, and the taillights, yeesh, why do the taillights have to resemble the headlights?
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It is a departure from Pontiac norm, but in shape only, the styling is still similar to Pontiacs before it. The corporate grille and headlights are renditions of everything before it, and not that I don't like it, but I think we've seen the design evolution of those traits enough already.

My thinking is just with the face, I tend to focus on the face a lot. The face the rear is making is all Pontiac, tailights that scream traditional Pontiac, a rear bumper license plate that is in the traditional Pontiac space and shape, decklid shaped a lot like a lot of other Pontiacs; it's these things we've seen before.

Of course the front is...

But the rear... I just don't see it. Yeah there are few simularities... inner taillights, and license plate area... But those are minor. Look at the shapes... of the trunk lid, the taillights... It's all something I never would have expected to see all that on a Pontiac. The overall look as well. Maybe in person it looks different, but that's what I see from all the pics.

That black G6 GTP coupe looks sweet... the beige/black interior is tolerable, too. The black leather trim on the beige seats look terrible, though. It reminds me of the CTS's black door trim inserts on beige door panel... it should be the other way around. Same story with the 9-3... blech.

Huh... Well, I absolutely love those seats. I think they're awesome and much better than the silver on the black seats, IMO.
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When i was at the dealer yesterday, I definitely got to see where this coupe has its sexy profiles. But to clean up the back, it definitely could use a racier spoiler. It's too sedate in the back, as if they're trying to be the next secretaries' car.
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My biggest problem with the rear is its similarity to the Toyota Solara... ...which in turn is an offshoot of the Lexus SC430. But at least when Toyota ripped off Lexus, the influence came from within the design studio.
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But to clean up the back, it definitely could use a racier spoiler. It's too sedate in the back, as if they're trying to be the next secretaries' car.


I thought you were talking about the coupe... It doesn't have one. The sedan does, though... and I can't believe that someone agrees with me.
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Sorry some of the pics disappeared....they were off a dealer site, and the black/tan GTP's must have been the most eyecatching to people, because they just sold.
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Overall, I think this Pontiac is successful and it isn't. It is successful because it is a nice design, and it is unsuccessful because non-Pontiac fans won't be as convinced. As I said, the Pontiac cues need to be shelved. That rear is all Pontiac, the way the decklid is shaped, the placement of the lisence plate and the lines on the bumper scream Pontiac, and I don't know about you guys, but I am kinda tired of it. I think it's eye-catching, but once you familiarize yourself with it, it becomes all too familiar in a Pontiac-esque way.


Very, very well said!

I couldn't agree more. At first I hated the G6 (GM PR shots) then I loved it in person, but now it's already looking aged to me. It's still TOO 90's Pontiac to me in a lot of ways (Not that that's really a bad thing, it's just not going to attract many new buyers, especially jaded buyers.)

It's like a Really tight looking Grand Am, not a fully new Pontiac car.
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The mirrors on the G6 are the same as those on the Cobalt.
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The rear end treatment looks like a Japanese car in my opinion. Only the front looks Pontiac. I would only buy one of these with the 6 speed manual and leather seats as the old outdated 4 speed auto and hard cheap cloth seats made this car feel more like a rental. I agree the 2-tone interior is better than the all black but Pontiac needs to offer more interior colors and 2-tone combinations. Something along the lines of the GTO would be nice. Those slight little color accents in the seats on the GTP version isn't enough. Also for goodness sakes Pontiac; make the exterior mirrors body color on the top of the line GT and GTP models.
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Wood in a Pontiac is ugly and out of place. I've looked at dozens of G6s in the past year and never even saw one with the tan interior, they've all been ebony. But if you do get the two tone tan then you get stuck with the wood trim,dumb. I can't seem to like the coupe. It doesn't look like a pontiac. I don't think 2 door GA fans will like it because it looks too foreign and I don't think foreign owners will consider it cause its a Pontiac so I don't think the coupe will sell well but I could be wrong. Edited by I hope GMRULES again
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I just read a review about the G6. I came to the conclusion that GM still do not understand how to make a very good car. They lifted the car and realized that there was no antirust treatment underneath the car. What a shame, talk about a costcut. The interior is a big letdown. Just compare it side by side to a Honda Accord interior and you'll see that the G6 screams cheap. My guess is that Lutz is having a hard time to change people's mind about putting more money into the car, so it will look more quality. So people will pay more for the car, need less rebate, have a better resale value and improve the sales number and market share for the brand. I think we all know that. But GM don't, How many lost market share it's gonna take to see a real GM turnaround.
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