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Edmunds Follow-Up Test: 2007 Pontiac G6 CTP Coupe

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Chick lit

By Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor Email | Blog

Date posted: 02-01-2007

Ever since its debutantelike entrance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005, the Pontiac G6 never had a chance to be anything but a chick car.

When Winfrey jumped up and down on the stage shouting, "Everybody gets a car! Everybody gets a car!" the prospect of ever marketing the Pontiac G6 to the American male went out the window. The Oprah seal of approval might have made the G6 world famous overnight, but it instantly lost any hope of street cred.

Not a lot has changed for the 2007 Pontiac G6.

Enter the GTP

Men dig performance cars, so Pontiac has beefed up the G6 with a new GTP model that features a DOHC 3.6-liter V6 engine capable of 252 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque, plus a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. The package is completed by a sport-tuned suspension with 18-inch wheels that carry 50-series tires.

But trying to compete with V6 versions of the Ford Mustang, the all-time leader in American cool, and the Honda Accord, a consistent American best seller, is a hard road to travel. Our GTP coupe tried both to be interesting enough to drive fast and civilized enough to just drive, but it hasn't been an easy trip.

Carmakers know that a good sound system is important to the American male, so the optional Sun and Sound Package adds a premium Delphi audio system with six-disc CD player along with a power sunroof. The premium options package includes leather-upholstered heated seats and remote vehicle start, and other options include OnStar and adjustable pedals.

Frameless windows in the long coupe doors help create a sleek exterior look with sexy lines. Our car's manliness is hindered by its metallic Blue-Gold Crystal paint, which looked very pretty but also very feminine in a kind of girly nail polish way. A little mani-pedi-Botox goes a long way.

All of this combines for a total price of $28,020, considerably more than a Mustang V6 and just about on the money with the Accord V6.

Straighten up and fly right

Despite the GTP coupe's feminine glamour, it drives with a swagger. Its 252-hp V6 has plenty of torque down low in the rpm range thanks to variable valve timing and it throttles quickly to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds during our performance tests. That's a full 1.5 seconds quicker than an Accord V6, although the engine feels like it has to work hard to maintain higher revs.

In skid-pad and slalom testing, the Pontiac G6 GTP puts in a surprisingly gripping performance. Despite squealing tires, the G6 GTP makes it through our 600-foot slalom course at 63.2 mph. Not bad for a 3,500-pound front-wheel-drive coupe.

On the street, the G6 GTP hugs curves like a Good Grips can opener. The relatively firm spring rates and stiff antiroll bars minimize body roll, and the 225/50R18 tires do the rest. We liked the fairly heavy steering effort, and there's plenty of straight-line stability built into this front-wheel-drive car's steering geometry.

All in all, the G6 GTP is a bit unrefined, but it feels much better than the original Oprah G6.

Mixed messages

The ability to stop on a dime is also important to those interested in sporty driving, and the GTP does the job pretty well on a daily basis. Once we put the car to the test, though, it took 137 feet to bring it to a halt from 60 mph.

The GTP's stopping performance didn't get any better with repeated efforts, as the brakes quickly heated up. Maybe they're not quite up to the promise that the GTP designation makes.

The six-speed automatic transmission shifts quickly, but it seems to think for itself a little too much in manual mode. We tried to get all the rpm the engine had to offer, but the transmission conspired to shift up a gear before we could get to the fun part.

When we maneuvered into tight parking spots, the transmission preferred to think for a moment or two while we shifted from Reverse to Drive and back again, and the noticeable thump as the gear finally dropped into place didn't heighten our appreciation of the G6's quality.

The obligatory "what's with all this plastic" section

Just as we were admiring the unobtrusive seat bolsters and the way the heating elements warmed not only the seat cushion but also the backrest, we kicked off a piece of plastic trim from within the footwell.

When you've got so much nice leather, any flaws in the plastic are all the more noticeable.

But let's talk about the comfort of the six-way power-adjustable driver seat, which is everything a sport seat should be, supportive yet not constrictive. The manually operated seatback didn't even make us feel like second-class citizens.

We liked the optional leather trim of the seats in two-tone Ebony black and Morocco brown, but it seemed like a bad clash with the exterior color, as if we'd made some disastrous eye-shadow choice.

We didn't notice much wind or road noise in the cabin, and the premium audio system featured speed-sensitive volume to block out intrusions from the outside anyway. The audio controls on the steering wheel were easy to use.

Let's be positive

It was easy to find a comfortable posture at the wheel. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes, so it's always a pleasure when a car will adjust to you, instead of the other way around.

The adjustable pedals were equally welcome for the same reason, plus you can set them differently when you're wearing heels or flats, a girly feature that guys are too dim to appreciate.

It was a nice surprise to discover that the backseat proves roomy enough to be practical when friends come to town, another feature guys just don't get.

Of course, it's a little tough to get back there despite the typical long doors that you find in a coupe, but there's plenty of legroom once you get in, and some 35.8 cubic feet of living space in all. That's four more cubes than the Accord V6 and five more than the Mustang V6.

The Pontiac G6's luggage capacity (hello, my sister is flying in from Philadelphia to visit this weekend) is pretty average for this class of coupes. Fortunately the access is pretty easy, and you can fold down the rear seatback to enlarge the space when it's time to visit Home Depot.

The sum of its parts

With a base price of only $24,200, the G6 GTP isn't overpriced in the market. And its under-the-hood parts have been sufficiently sported up to appeal to a wider audience.

The GTP coupe represents 2.3 percent of the G6's total volume, about 3,600 cars. Meanwhile, the GXP sedan accounts for 4.1 percent of G6 sales, some 6,500 cars. Maybe this is for the best, as the curse of Oprah still lives on in the way the coupe looks, GTP equipment or not.

Apparently we're not the only ones who think so. This is the last year for the GTP model, which is scheduled to be replaced by a GXP edition with a far tougher exterior look, though the blood and guts will remain the same.

We enjoyed our time with the 2007 Pontiac G6 GTP. It was a fun car to drive every day, compact and lively. But — let's be honest now — it's just an everyday driver. It's a sporty car, not a sports car.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

I never warmed up to the G6 coupe just because of its ugly Solara resemblance in the rear. Sedan has and still looks better in my eyes. Funny thing is this was written by a woman, I think she's fighting the good fight against Oprah :P

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What car in this class is not a sporty car? The Solara? Soft sporty. A V6 Mustang? Sporty. An Accord coupe? Sporty. Nothing is a real sports car here. "But — let's be honest now — it's just an everyday driver." What? That's not a good thing? Wasn't a car like the Firebird too unrefined, to bulky, too harsh to be an everyday driver, i.e. a great sports car, but unfortunately not liveable?

And its a chick car. So what? The Grand Am was a chick car. Likewise, all smaller midsize coupes are chick cars. Accord coupe? Chick car. Solara? Fat-middle-aged-chick car. V6 Mustang? Helllllllo Chickville.

So, basically, its the fastest, the roomiest, a very good handler, and a suprising value with its equipment level. Yet why is this review tainted now and then with ill-conceived 'buts.' But...its a chick car. But...its too civilized. But...its a damn fine car.

No, that last one was mine.

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What car in this class is not a sporty car? The Solara? Soft sporty. A V6 Mustang? Sporty. An Accord coupe? Sporty. Nothing is a real sports car here. "But — let's be honest now — it's just an everyday driver." What? That's not a good thing? Wasn't a car like the Firebird too unrefined, to bulky, too harsh to be an everyday driver, i.e. a great sports car, but unfortunately not liveable?

And its a chick car. So what? The Grand Am was a chick car. Likewise, all smaller midsize coupes are chick cars. Accord coupe? Chick car. Solara? Fat-middle-aged-chick car. V6 Mustang? Helllllllo Chickville.

So, basically, its the fastest, the roomiest, a very good handler, and a suprising value with its equipment level. Yet why is this review tainted now and then with ill-conceived 'buts.' But...its a chick car. But...its too civilized. But...its a damn fine car.

No, that last one was mine.

GREAT powertrain, attractive coupe exterior, but other than that, the car is adequate at best.

There's still the same interior concerns, the car is too heavy, and it's most certainly not a handler (even in GTP trim) and I can attest to that from a week in a GTP sedan rental.

Edited by The O.C.

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Did Pontiac eliminate granite metallic as a color choice on the G6? Was sort of thinking about buying a G6, but that's the color I'd have gotten - don't see it on the Pontiac website anymore...

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What car in this class is not a sporty car? The Solara? Soft sporty. A V6 Mustang? Sporty. An Accord coupe? Sporty. Nothing is a real sports car here. "But — let's be honest now — it's just an everyday driver." What? That's not a good thing? Wasn't a car like the Firebird too unrefined, to bulky, too harsh to be an everyday driver, i.e. a great sports car, but unfortunately not liveable?

And its a chick car. So what? The Grand Am was a chick car. Likewise, all smaller midsize coupes are chick cars. Accord coupe? Chick car. Solara? Fat-middle-aged-chick car. V6 Mustang? Helllllllo Chickville.

So, basically, its the fastest, the roomiest, a very good handler, and a suprising value with its equipment level. Yet why is this review tainted now and then with ill-conceived 'buts.' But...its a chick car. But...its too civilized. But...its a damn fine car.

No, that last one was mine.

It was written by a chick, or a very unfortunate guy, so being a chick car is not that bad.

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For myself, the G6 is one of the few cars in which I would rather have the sedan instead of the coupe due to its rear styling.

I find that it's interior is more appealing than that of the current Malibu's, but let's not get into that. I LOVE the red dash lighting of the G6. It's so unique in American cars that generally use green or an aqua tone (or, more recently, blue) and it this lighting does make it seem a bit Germanic to me.

Unfortunately, it is no longer available with a manual transmission, and that in itself would lead me to take something like the Accord over this.

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For myself, the G6 is one of the few cars in which I would rather have the sedan instead of the coupe due to its rear styling.

I find that it's interior is more appealing than that of the current Malibu's, but let's not get into that. I LOVE the red dash lighting of the G6. It's so unique in American cars that generally use green or an aqua tone (or, more recently, blue) and it this lighting does make it seem a bit Germanic to me.

Unfortunately, it is no longer available with a manual transmission, and that in itself would lead me to take something like the Accord over this.

The G6 is still available in manual in a GT Sport for 2007, essentially a 2006 GTP without the GTP badge.

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If one were secure enough in their sexuality, the fact that some asses in the media consider this a "chick car" (Sexism is great! Right?) wouldn't matter one bit when LOGICALLY purchasing a vehicle.

But no, we live in a shallow society with 2 dimensional people.

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