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gm4life

2005 Bonneville SLE Review! WITH PICS OF MY BONNE!

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Okay... First off I thought I was once registered but apperantly not... I have owned nothing but GM cars all my life. Why would I stop now... Anyways the story... After drooling over Bonnevilles since 2002 when I saw a sleek SLE at my local dealership, I have been hooked. So how come 3 long years later there finally one in the driveway? And what do I think of it... When I got my Impala my budget restricted me from my dream car a Bonneville (SE) at the time. But I decided on the cheaper and larger interior Chevy. Then harmlessly surfing yahoo autos I come across this mint 2005 Bonneville SLE in cranberry red metallice, drool runs down my check, a light blub goes on in my brain and my pocket book begins to feel lighter already. Well first off it was the redesigned SLE which I built on the before this event similar to this just for fun with cloth seats and chrome wheels. And I find this one with cloth seats and chrome wheels. Now I am so happy I can't control my excitment, I run to the wife. She says lets take a look at it... So I drive my dads beloved 92 Cad Deville down and drive a Bonnevile home... My son couldn't wait to drive it, and hammer on that bad boy... As soon as I drove it and with 3800 miles on it, I was like this thing is perfect for me. Like a new Bonneville but no new SLE price! I also noted the fact that it had the GXP styling cues which made it more appealing than any SE! 2005 Pontiac Bonneville SLE Review Pontiac says they “open the doors wide on performance”, is that claim true? Do they live up to it? Here today I am about to tell you about my driving impressions of the 2005 Bonneville SLE which has been freshened for this year with GXP body cues but still utilizes its one piece spoiler and stylish 17inch chrome ribbed wheels. Goodyear RS-A tires which are P235 55 series ones might I add are fitted to the stylish 17inch rims. So does this last year of the full size Bonneville live up to Pontiacs claim in there information as “the great American touring sedan”? Or does it fall short? We will find out if Pontiacs claim is true. Lets be clear this is an SLE there is no Northstar V8 under the hood but for most the 3800 Series II will be more than adequate grunt for around town maneuvers and freeway driving. After hopping into the Bonneville’s some what space aged interior, you notice something it’s not your average car, it’s a little different, space craft inspired air vents adore the car. Slide the key in the ignition and get ready for a truly different experience, the 3800 Series II V6 (L36) burbles up and the dual exhaust roar. The rumble is distinctly OHV V6. The V6 is more than willing to be driven hard, its 230lbft. of torque are welcome at low revs so you can launch the SLE with authority. The 205hp come around at fairly low revs at very reachable 5200rpms and the 3.05:1 axle ratio never left you behind after a stop light turned green. This car was clearly designed with intent to be driven, and driven hard. As soon as you hit the gas the 3800 explodes with authority and likes to make good time, while remaining relatively efficient. The 3800 and the Northstar couldn’t remain more apart two very different motors but give the same results Pontiac performance. I remained pleased while driving the Bonnie SLE because of its surprisingly good fuel economy I average low 30’s on the highway and low 20’s in town and urban environments. Even at high rpms the 3800 Series II remained refined and liquid smooth no trashy OHV motor sounds here. Transmission talk the Bonneville SLE has a transmission that GM has been putting in cars since 1997 its called the 4T65E Hydramatic it is basically a beefed up 4T60E that’s been beefed up to allow more power and torque. The 4T65E is obviously a traditional 4 speed automatic with no manumatic control. But none the less it has abrupt and robust down shifts keeping the L36 in its sweet spot 4000rpms or so for torque peak. Shifts even at the redline were done with precision, I never missed another gear or even too. Still with a fuel economy overdrive the car was happy returning me with wonderful gas mileage while retaining good peppy performance which one expects from a Hydramatic transmission. Every now and again the Bonneville SLE has to think its shifts through up or down for that matter but once it did they were buttery smooth. The 4T65E is no slouch, making this a good match for the 3800 Series II. Now some people claim torque-steer is the ultimate evil when driving a performance car, I tend to think otherwise. Many newer FWD cars with 200+hp have traction control and wide tires and good suspension geometry making the back roads just as much fun as the straight a ways. Is the SLE a corner craver? No doubt in my mind the cars RS-A P235 tires stay firmly planted thanks to this cars excellent independent strut front suspension, this allows for wonderful handling and easy to maintain control. One thing I noticed was the Bonneville SLE has firmer steering at high speeds and easier steering at low speeds. This made the Bonnie as much fun in the parking lots as it is on a back road in the country carving corners. After driving on curvy country roads I appreciated the suspension geometry even more and especially the 17inch wheels and Goodyear tires. Handling is really on par with its competitors like the Acura TL and Toyota Avalon. The SLE never let out any of those tire squeaks often associated with FWD drive cars it is a good handling car and sports sedan in conclusion. This is no RWD Corvette or GTO here but this has to be one of the most refined and best handling FWD car I have ever driven, even it gave good steering feedback unheard of on most front drivers. The rear load leveling suspension was a very nice Cadillac feature which is standard on the Bonneville SE and SLE which helps maintain a good ride height so the rear of the car dose not get weighed down. In short you said jump and the Bonnie said how high, this is definitely a touring sedan in the engine, transmission, and suspension part of it. First of let me praise the color of this car this vehicle was painted in the beautiful hue of Cranberry Red Metallic and with its taupe cloth interior this car looked really sharp everywhere you went. The exterior of the Bonneville SLE is delightful just like that of the GXP the upper trim level Bonnie. The SLE has very nice looking 17inch chrome wheels a must if you buy an SLE, not that the standard 17inch alloy wheels aren’t sharp but this is a Pontiac were talking about here. I am glad Pontiac fixed and added the traditional honey comb grill which looks so sleek and mod compared to SE’s poor excuse for a grill. The rear lights are also a pleasant surprise looking better to me each time I glance at them. The SLE exhaust tips have also been redesigned and rounded out this year into to ovals to better match the SLE and its upgraded under the door flares and new rear and front bumpers. The Bonneville SLE for 2005 also has the cleverly integrated GXP fog lamps this year which work well and look even better. Clearly the 2005 Bonneville SLE has the looks to roll with the big dawgs! Now will it have the interior and the comforts of the big boys? Read on… The interior can be described on all Bonneville models as different sort of a space age different but yet in a tasteful sporty manner which makes the Bonneville a winner. The interior might be overdone for some conservative folks out there but most will find it nice including the 10 different air vents placed through out a Bonneville cabin. All have thumb wheels so you can change the amount of air that goes out from all to none. The dual automatic climate control came as a $365.00 option from the factory but was worth every penny; the system cooled down the car quickly and effectively and was relatively easy to operate. The system felt like it could be used on an up level Cadillac with its nice red glowing display screen and a useful exterior temp reading only added to its up level design. The rear even gets two of there own rear vents and ducts to make sure the passengers in the rear have plenty of air to enjoy ever mile of travel like the front driver and passenger do. This tester also was equipped with side impact airbags and had heated and power front seats so the driver and passenger could find an easy comfy seating poison in the sporty cloth seats. The Bonneville rear seats on the other lacked in the legroom department when the front seats were all the way back, but simply adjust the front seats and the Bonneville felt like a large sedan no doubt. So did Pontiac, hit “the we open the doors wide on performance” on the head? Or was it another unfulfilled promise? Is the Bonneville “the great American touring sedan”? Actually I think both statements are very true but the only way they will be is with the rebates with an as tested sticker of $32,935.00 it is not the best value although its is doubtful anyone will actually pay that we still enjoyed the SLE none the less, and believe that Pontiac ended the Bonneville line on a high note. So is it worth it after the rebates? Yes! Is it worth is without? That may just have to be up to you. Edited by gm4life
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Expect... *Great mileage *A quality highway ride *Safety and chassis stiffness *Lots of looks - SLE/SSEi/GXP Bonnies are eye-catchers, especially with chromes. Congratulations on the car! May you have many happy miles with her and post more pics!
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I wouldn't exactly say that the 3800 explodes with authority. After all this is a portly sedan weighting in at close to 3700 lbs. My parents have a 2001 base SE model that I have driven numerous times. It has the lazier 2.86:1 gears. It gets a pretty decent jump off the line but can barely break loose those 16" tires with foot to the floor driving. Midrange punch seems to be this cars favorite spot like when your going 30 and nail the throttle, kicking down into first gear. Performance at higher speeds isn't as good as my 02 Intrigue will spank my folks Bonny in any highway passing maneuver I can find. Your 3.05:1 geared car probably has more off the line snap if anything.
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Here she is...
3678 pounds of Detriot Pontiac Passion, Power and Performance!
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There you guys go enjoy... I have a ton more posted on the Bonneville Club Forum! Here are the links it took me forever to find these so look at them and enjoy them!
The First Bonneville Pics ever posted... Oh yeah!
Grand Prix and Bonneville
Bonneville SLE Ad 1
Bonneville SLE Ad 2 Smell the Flowers
Bonneville SLE Ad 3 (4 Ads Colorado Style)
Bonneville SLE Random Cleaning Pics
Glory SLE shots from Rocky Mt. National Park in Colorado!
Hometown Whorage LOTS of Bonneville SLE Photos
The SLE gets mudflaps!
Sunset SLE Photos!
Parking Lot Bonneville Shots 1
Guys and gals enjoy these tell me what you think sorry about the links... I had no other idea for a few more pics visit Pontiac Power. Thanks for the comment enjoy! Edited by gm4life
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I've always really liked the '00-05 exterior styling of the Bonneville, but HATED the interior. Suffers from the typical awful plastics and crazy design typical of Pontiacs from a few years ago, but there's also another problem I never did understand--though very much the same as a LeSabre underneath and in length, why is the back seat in the Bonnie SO much more cramped and uncomfortable? After our 300M was rear-ended and we started looking at LeSabre's as a possible replacement, I also encouraged looking at a Bonneville since it looked better, but we just couldn't get past how tiny the rear seat ended up in the Pontiac, compared to the Buick. Regardless, the car looks GREAT and I wish you many good years with it!
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Yes the rear seat space wasn't maximized with an interior that big. GM had so many minor fixes to make it alot better car. My Impala's back seat is bigger and thats a W-Body... The G-Body Bonneville/LeSabres is smaller, and the Buick is bigger by a smidge. If a little more time was spent the interior could have came out alot better! Oh well its GM nothing will be perfect! Edited by gm4life
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I've always really liked the '00-05 exterior styling of the Bonneville, but HATED the interior.  Suffers from the typical awful plastics and crazy design typical of Pontiacs from a few years ago, but there's also another problem I never did understand--though very much the same as a LeSabre underneath and in length, why is the back seat in the Bonnie SO much more cramped and uncomfortable?

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Look at the shape of the roofline. While all the other G-bod mates (except Riviera) have more formal, arching C-pillars, Bonneville's is cut sharper. I could tell easily going from our SSEi to my Aurora how much airier the Olds felt though it was the same car, especially in the rear. However, it was never an issue, so we didn't care.

As far as the 'crazy design,' its actually very well laid-out and very intuitive. The HUD controls are somewhat tucked away since they're not used much...ditto with the headlamp switches (I never unstood why cars with autolamps have such massive dials). The only complaint I'd have would be the DIC is somewhat obscured when your hands are in driving position. However, I understand its a result of typical post-'87 wide-ass Bonneville instrument clusters.
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Flybrian has a good point they are laided out well, while they may not be the most attractive or have used the best materials they were well laided out.
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Yes the rear seat space wasn't maximized with an interior that big. GM had so many minor fixes to make it alot better car. My Impala's back seat is bigger and thats a W-Body... The G-Body Bonneville/LeSabres is smaller, and the Buick is bigger by a smidge. If a little more time was spent the interior could have came out alot better! Oh well its GM nothing will be perfect!

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Update, I lost my password but I now have 12,000 miles on her and loving every second of it!
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